You are here

Methods of Cooking

andhrachef's picture

Cooking Methods

There are two classifications of cooking methods, moist heat and dry heat. There is also a third classification which is a combination of moist and dry heat methods. Moist Heat Cooking Methods

Moist heat cooking methods include boiling, simmering, poaching and steaming.  

BoilingBoiling is cooking in liquid at 212 degrees at sea level. The liquid may be water, a seasoned liquid, wine, stock, or a combination. Boiling is usually reserved for certain vegetables and starches such as potatoes and pasta. Meats, fish and eggs outside the shell are never boiled. The higher temperature and agitation toughens protein and breaks up delicate foods.

 SimmeringSimmering is cooking in a liquid just below the boiling point. Bubbles usually rise and break just below or at the surface. The temperature of the liquid is 185 degrees to 205 degrees.

 PoachingPoaching is to cook in a liquid that is not actually bubbling at 165 to 180 degrees. It is usually used to cook delicate foods such as fish and eggs.  

SteamingSteaming is cooking foods by exposing them directly to steam. It can be accomplished in a number of ways; on a rack above boiling liquid, by wrapping foods tightly, or in a covered pan allowing the food item to cook in its own steam. Steaming is a preferred method of cooking for vegetables since it minimizes the loss of nutrients and the vegetables can be cooked rapidly without agitation.  

BlanchingTo cook food items briefly in boiling water is known as blanching. Foods are placed in cold water and brought to a boil or placed directly into boiling water. After a brief cooking time they are removed and plunged in icewater to stop the cooking process and to set color. Meats are blanched briefly to leach out impurities or salt, while vegetables are blanched to set color, remove harmful enzymes or to loosen skin for easier peeling.

Dry Heat Cooking Methods

Dry heat cooking methods include roasting, broiling, grilling, sauteing, frying, and baking.

 RoastingRoasting is to cook foods by surrounding them in dry heat usually in an oven. It can also be accomplished by spit roasting over an open fire or on an outdoor grill. There are two schools of thought about roasting. One is that meats should be roasted first at a high temperature, usually 400 to 425 degrees, to brown the meat and seal in natural juices. After the meat is browned the temperature is reduced to 325 degrees to allow the meat to cook slowly. The other method is to cook meats by roasting at 325 degrees for the entire cooking period. The thought for each method is that it reduces shrinkage and gives a more moist finished product. You will find recipes that use both methods of roasting on our site. Baking is essentially the same as roasting however it is normally associated with baking bread or cakes.

BroilingBroiling is to cook foods at a high temperature with an overhead heat source. Sometimes the temperature may be as high as 1500 to 2000 degrees in some commercial broilers. The food usually rests on a grate four to six inches below the heat source and is usually only turned once during the cooking process  

GrillingGrilling is done an on open grid or grate over a heat source. The heat source may be an electrical element, charcoal, or a gas flame. Pan broiling is done in a skillet or saute pan. It is done without the use of fat or the process is known as pan frying. NOTE: It should be noted that barbecuing is defined as cooking over charcoal or ashes and may be confused with some of the above-mentioned cooking methods.

SauteingSauteing is to cook quickly in a small amount of fat. The pan should be preheated. This will allow the food to be seared quickly. Small pieces of foods such as diced onions must be stirred or otherwise kept in motion during sauteing. Larger cuts of vegetables or slices of meat are usually only turned once.

FryingThere are two types of frying that we will discuss briefly. The first is pan frying. Pan frying is done in a moderate amount of fat over moderate heat. This method is used for larger pieces of food and usually takes longer than sauteing. Varying amounts of fats are used and the food may be turned more than once during cooking. Deep fat frying is to fry foods completely submerged in fat. Although it seems fairly simple, deep fat frying is not as easy as one would think. Foods must be fried at the correct temperature, 350 to 360 degrees to minimize fat absorption. Only small amounts of food should be fried at any one time. Larger amounts of food cause the temperature to drop drastically.

A NOTE: Blanching can also be done in fat. French fries may be partially cooked in deep fat and allowed to drain and cool before cooking completely done. If you follow these cooking methods, your results will always be great.

Rate This

Your rating: None
Average: 4.1 (7 votes)


kpratishnair's picture
nice to read. it would be good if you can include the method of cooking called - poeling.
shantihhh's picture
A butter-roasting technique often associated with white meats and whole game birds is called "poeling." It is a variation of a procedure used centuries ago that consisted of browning a meat item on all sides, wrapping it in thin slices of salt pork, covering it with a thick layer of mixed vegetables and herbs and then with a sheet of buttered paper. The meat was roasted in the oven or on a spit and basted frequently in melted butter. Poeling today involves meats or poultry being slowly roasted in butter and their own juices, in a covered pot on a bed of aromatic vegetables known as a matignon. This roasting technique helps tender meats retain moisture and nutrients, and saves any juices rendered from the meat or poultry to add flavor to the finished dish. The matignon is served as part of a sauce made from those juices and other ingredients. Poeling is done in a closed container (many other roasting techniques are performed in a shallow, uncovered pan) and it's unique in that the roasting is done almost entirely with butter. Follow these techniques to obtain delicious roasted meats or poultry: —The pan must be deep, heavy, with a fitted cover, and large enough to fit the meat or poultry being cooked. —Place a generous layer of matignon (mixed vegetables and aromatics) inside the pan. Season the meat or poultry heavily inside the cavity and across the entire exterior, then place on top of the matignon. —Coat the item with melted butter, cover with a lid and roast slowly at a low temperature, basting frequently with melted butter and juices from the meat. —When the meat or poultry has nearly finished roasting, remove the lid and brown the item. —When the item is fully cooked, remove it from the pan and allow it to rest while the sauce finishes. Resting the meat or poultry allows any juices that have moved to the surface of the tissue under the skin to drain back into the meat, making it tender. —Add additional stock or broth to the mixture of vegetables, melted butter and rendered juices. Place the mixture on the stovetop and simmer for about 10 minutes before the sauce reduces to the consistency you want. Mark Ainsworth, associate professor in culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America, suggests the following guidelines: —Do not add liquid to the item while it roasts. The melted butter and rendered juices provide the proper amount of liquid. —Poeling should be done with butter only. Butter and rendered juices used to baste the meat are critical to the final flavor. —When making the sauce, do not remove fat from the vegetables before adding the stock or broth. The butter absorbs a significant amount of flavor from the rendered juices that is then infused into the sauce while the stock, fats, juices and vegetables simmer. The following recipe for capon with tomatoes and artichokes is among the 200 recipes in the new "Cooking at Home With The Culinary Institute of America" (Wiley, 2003, $40). The capon is a full-breasted young rooster with tender white flesh, usually weighing between 4 and 10 pounds. Its juicy flavorful meat is specially suited to roasting. CAPON WITH TOMATOES AND ARTICHOKES 1 capon (about 7 pounds) Salt and freshly ground pepper 3 fresh whole chives 3 fresh parsley stems 3 fresh tarragon stems 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus softened butter as needed for coating 2 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced 3/4 cup diced yellow onion 1/2 cup diced celery 1/2 cup diced carrot 4 fresh artichoke hearts, or 1/2 pound rinsed canned artichoke hearts 2 cups chicken broth 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon Preheat the oven to 300 F. Season the capon with salt and pepper and stuff the cavity with the whole fresh herbs, stems tied in a bundle. Set aside. Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until some of the fat renders and the bacon is crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrots, onions and celery, and cook until light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Place the capon on top of the vegetables and rub with softened butter. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Baste the capon every 30 minutes with pan drippings or additional butter. Remove the lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking time to allow capon to brown, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 F, about 4 to 41/2 hours. If using fresh artichoke hearts, add them to the pot after 3 hours. Remove the capon and let rest while finishing the sauce. Place the pot over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce slightly. Skim away any excess fat that rises to the surface. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Degrease the sauce again thoroughly. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until reduced and thickened to a saucelike consistency, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts (if using canned) and chopped herbs. Simmer just until the tomatoes are heated through. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Carve the capon and serve it with the sauce. Makes 8 servings. Nutrition information per serving: 480 cal., 50 g pro., 9 g carbo., 26 g fat, 350 mg sodium. Recipe from "Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America" (Wiley, 2003, $40). The book is available at bookstores or through:
Methods Of Cooking