Have you ever heard of sautéing a cake or grilling french fries? How about steaming a leg of lamb or simmering cookies? We sure haven't -- and we know we're not alone. If these techniques sound a little odd to you, too, it's because there are certain cooking methods that coordinate with specific foods. In order to get the desired outcome for whatever you're making, you first have to choose the right way to cook it -- and we'll show you how. (Photo Credit: Emily Jacobs)
Choosing the correct cooking method not only impacts the final product, but also affects the texture, appearance and flavor of the dish. It's the slow-cooking of ribs that makes them fall-off-the-bone tender, and the hot deep-frying oil that gives donuts a crispy, golden brown exterior and soft, doughy middle. The Cook editors at The Daily Meal want to make sure that you get the most delicious final product out of your cooking, so we've designed a cheat sheet of the most common cooking methods and how to perfect them.
Cooking methods can be broken down into three sub-categories: dry heat, moist heat, and a combination of the two. The dry-heat method, which is a relatively quick process, adds crispness and flavor, but doesn't tenderize. Ingredients cooked this way are small, thin, and already tender -- think sautéing ground meat and roasting vegetables. The moist-heat cooking method involves cooking with water or stock , like poaching fish and steaming broccoli. The third category is a combination of the two and often uses long, slow-cooking periods to tenderize and break down tough cuts of meat, like braising pork shoulder.
Whether you're preparing a feast far in advance or whipping up a quick dinner, once you've mastered these basic cooking methods, it will be easy to pair ingredients with their appropriate cooking techniques. Take a look at our how-to guide to learn about the cooking methods you need to know to prepare for your next meal.
-Emily Jacobs, The Daily Meal
More Content from The Daily Meal:
To poach food, it should be completely submerged in liquid that is between 160 and 180 degrees. The food item remains in the liquid until fully cooked through and tender. Click Here to see The Complete List of Cooking Methods You Need to Know Photo Credit: Thinkstock-iStockphoto
When simmering food, it is usually cooked with a liquid in a pot on the stovetop. It is done over low heat and tiny bubbles should appear on the surface. Photo Credit: Thinkstock-iStockphoto
Broiling is similar to grilling, except the heat source comes from the top. It is usually done in an oven by adjusting the setting to broil. Broiling happens very quickly and it’s best to watch the food carefully when broiling so it does not burn. Getting the cheese on top of lasagna golden brown and crispy is an example of broiling. Photo Credit: Thinkstock-iStockphoto
To cook an ingredient with steam, food is usually placed in a separate steamer over hot liquid. The food is cooked by the steam from the liquid and does not come in contact with the liquid. Photo Credit: Thinkstock-iStockphoto
Blanching is similar to boiling, except the food is par-cooked and then submerged immediately in an ice-bath to stop the cooking process. Photo Credit: Thinkstock-iStockphoto Click Here to see The Complete List of Cooking Methods You Need to Know
Braising is a combination cooking method that first involves sautéing or searing an item, then simmering it in liquid for a long cooking period until tender. Foods that are braised are often larger proteins like pot roasts and poultry legs. Photo Credit: Thinkstock-Hemera
Stewing is similar to braising because the ingredient is first seared and then cooked in liquid, but it uses smaller ingredients like diced meats and vegetables. Click Here to see More Cooking Methods You Should Know Photo Credit: Thinkstock-iStockphoto
Follow The Daily Meal on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thedailymeal