• by Eva Rodriguez
  • Blog
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To talk about a healthy diet, it is not only important the foods you decide to include but also the types of cooking you decide to use for your meals.

Today we do not pay enough attention to something as simple as it is cook correctly and this we directly influences our health. Poor cooking can significantly affect your meals, removing or adding nutritional properties, quality, calories, etc. For this reason, it is very important to know how to cook food to get the most out of it. We explain everything about the types of cooking, their advantages and disadvantages.

What is cooking and why is it so important?

Cooking food is raising the temperature to modify it so that it is more edible and digestible for the body. However, there are many other benefits such as: making it richer and more palatable by modifying the color, smell and taste, destroying substances that are harmful to health, etc.

Depending on the medium in which the cooking is carried out, we can differentiate between different methods, all with their advantages and disadvantages.

Dry cooking

In this type of cooking, the food is heated through its surface part that is in contact with a hot atmosphere. For this reason and due to the creation of a crust on the outside of the food, part of the water in the food evaporates and the nutrients are concentrated.

baking types of food cooking

Baking in the oven

This technique is based on preparing food in the oven, placing it on special trays or pans and subjecting it to heat transmitted by radiation and convection and at a high temperature.

The oven is one of the most versatile tools in the kitchen, is a cooking method of direct action by heat. The fundamental characteristic of this type of cooking is the preservation of the internal juices of the food, which guarantees better taste and nutritional value. Among other options, we find ways to make food such as salt, papillote, etc.

Advantages:

  • It is not necessary to use fat to cook food
  • Normally crunchy texture with a lot of flavor and aroma
  • Homogeneous cooking in a short time
  • Higher concentration of nutrients as they are retained inside
  • It is not necessary to be moving or beating the food
  • Facilitates the digestion of food

Disadvantages:

  • The crust that forms on the surface of food causes a loss of protein and vitamins.
  • Food can become very dry.
  • Toxic substances can be produced if we are not vigilant and over-roast food.

Best foods to use with this method: Vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, zucchini, onion, etc.), meat, fish, bread dough, etc.

Grilling

This cooking method consists of placing the food directly on the grill, previously greased and heated. Is one of the types of cooking that does not require incorporating a lot of fat or oil, so it is very suitable for preparing low-calorie and low-fat dishes.

Advantages:

  • Quick and easy cooking technique.
  • It allows to prepare low calorie dishes due to the low use of fat.
  • As it is a quick cooking process, the food retains its properties almost intact.
  • By using high temperatures, you will prevent the food from cooking, losing water or staying dry.

Disadvantages

  • You have to be aware of the food, turning it over so that it does not burn.
  • If the food is not seasoned well, it may be somewhat bland.
  • Vitamins and active ingredients of vegetables are destroyed by the high temperatures reached.
  • Normally, the price of the plates is quite expensive.
  • Toxic substances can be produced if we are not vigilant and over-roast food.

Best foods to use with this method:
Meats in general, hard meat fish (monkfish, salmon, cuttlefish, etc.) and fleshy and tender vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, artichokes, mushrooms, etc.).

Bain-marie cooking

It consists of heating the ingredients contained in a container that, in turn, is introduced into another larger container in which there is a hot liquid, usually water. The heat from the water is transferred to the small container and from there to the ingredients. In this way, we achieve a homogeneous heating, without sudden changes in temperature that it will allow us to cook the ingredients gently, uniform and constant.

Advantages:

  • By not receiving the heat directly, the ingredients are heated evenly, thus reducing the risk of burning.
  • There very little loss of nutrients since the food is not in contact with the environment that cooks it.
  • It is not necessary to add fat, for this reason you will get very healthy and low-calorie recipes.

Disadvantages:

  • It is a slow cooking technique, so you will need more time and electricity.
  • With the advent of microwaves, this technique has taken second place in most homes.

Best foods to use with this method: Pastry foods (melting chocolate, curdling a custard or pudding, making a sponge cake), canning since through the heating and cooling process it is possible to close the container hermetically, sauces and creams that need slow and controlled cooking , etc.

Cooking in liquid or wet medium

In this type of cooking, the food is heated through a liquid medium (water, broth, etc.). For this reason, food absorbs a large number of flavors and aromas at the same time that its own vitamins and minerals dissolve in the liquid medium.

boil cooking types of foodBoil food

This method consists of cooking a food by immersing it in a boiling liquid (water or broth generally) for the time necessary for each food.
If the food needs a long cooking time, it is usually started with the cold liquid and brought to a boil. In the case that the food has a short cooking time, start with the hot liquid to avoid overcooking and thus the loss of many nutrients, flavor, texture, etc.

Advantages:

  • It allows to prepare low calorie, light and digestive dishes because it is not necessary to use fat.

Disadvantages:

  • Loss of many nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals as they remain in the liquid in which they have been boiled.
  • Loss of flavor in food as it also remains in the liquid where we boil it.

Best foods to use with this method:
Almost all foods are suitable for boiling, some necessarily have to go through this cooking method, as they need a moisturizing agent (cereals, rice, legumes, etc.)
In some cases, such as vegetables, in order to take full advantage of their nutritional properties and flavor, steaming may be more advisable.

Average cooking time of different foods:
- Meat: 1 hour to 1 hour and 45 minutes
- Vegetables: 10 to 25 minutes
- Fruits: 25 minutes
- Cereals: 10 to 25 minutes
- Legumes: 20 minutes

Steaming

In this method, the steam from hot water is responsible for cooking the food. To do this, the ingredients are placed in a container that is placed on another with boiling water. In this way, it is the vapors that come off when the liquid boils that cook the food slowly and evenly. It is one of the types of cooking that preserves the most nutrients of food.

Advantages:

  • Food does not dry out or burn.
  • It maintains the flavor, texture and nutrients of food.
  • It is not necessary to add oils or fats to food.
  • The fiber in the food does not soften and is more digestive.

Disadvantages:

  • This is a slower cooking method.
  • It is important to cut and arrange the food so that all of them require the same cooking time.

Best foods to use with this method: It is used mainly in vegetables but accepts almost any ingredient, meat and fish are juicy and very tasty.

Whiten

Whitening consists of a short cooking time in plenty of boiling water (between a few seconds to two minutes, depending on the ingredient). This technique requires rapid cooling in ice water to stop the food from cooking.
This process is used, above all, with foods that will later be finished cooking using another cooking method such as roasting, braising, sautéing, etc.

In the case of vegetables, whitening them prevents them from darkening, they lose texture, aromas and vitamins blocking the internal enzymes that are released when cutting or peeling them.

Usage:
Cook food just right, especially those that need little cooking.
Prepare a food for further processing.
Prepare a food so that it comes off more easily from your skin.

Advantages:

  • Quick and easy technique.
  • It allows modifying the conditions of the food (soften, clean, desalinate, etc.)
  • Reduces the strong flavor and maintains the color of many vegetables.

Disadvantages:

  • Loss of nutrients, especially vitamins lost in cooking and cooling water.
  • Usually this is a semi-cooking culinary technique, so you will have to finish the food using another cooking.

Best foods to use with this method: Vegetables with strong flavor (spinach, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) or that need little cooking (chopped pods, broccoli stems, carrot slices, etc.), root vegetables (potatoes, turnips, carrots, etc.) and fish and seafood that needs little cooking (prawns, prawns, barnacles, etc.).

Cooking in a medium fat

frying cooking types of food

Fry

It is a cooking method where the food is cooked in a fatty medium (oil) at an elevated temperature (160 ° C-200 ° C). This oil acts as a heat conducting medium and sucks the water out of the food, so a poorly done frying can result in a very dry and fatty food.

To get a good fryIt is important to immerse all of the food in hot oil and for a short period of time so that an external crust forms and prevents the inside of the food from being impregnated.

Es important not to reuse the oils many times since when reused, it degrades forming potentially carcinogenic substances and trans fats. Also, remember use the extractor hood to remove all pollutants of the air that are generated during frying and are highly harmful to health.

Advantages:

  • Very fast cooking method since high temperatures are used.
  • By evaporating the water from the food, the famous crispy effect characteristic of fried foods is produced.
  • It notably increases the intensity of the flavor.

Disadvantages:

  • Normally, it produces very caloric foods due to the amount of oil it needs.
  • Loss of nutrients, especially vitamins, mainly due to high temperatures.
  • It is a relatively inexpensive cooking method since you must spend a lot of oil to cook the food.

Best foods to use with this method: Virtually all foods can be fried. The most common are fish (cuts and thinner portions such as fillets, belly or thin slices), meats (medium-sized cuts to better preserve their juices and nutrients), vegetables, etc.

Fry

It consists of frying the food in a frying pan at a low temperature (less than 100ºC) with the right and necessary oil. Usually the sofrito is a step that is done prior to other types of cooking like stewing or boiling.

The cooking temperature is mild and the entire food is not covered with oil since it is intended that the food release its own juice and, in this way, integrate the flavors.

To do the cooking correctly, the ideal is to cut the ingredients evenly and add them proportionally to their cooking time. In this way, we will be able to cook all the food equally.

Advantages:

  • Quick and easy technique that enhances the flavor of food.
  • It allows cooking so that it can be reserved for another day, even to take away in a lunch box.
  • It is not necessary to use large amounts of oils and fats to cook food.
  • By using relatively low temperatures, food will hardly be burned.

Disadvantages:

  • Usually this is a semi-cooking culinary technique, so you will have to finish the food using another cooking.
  • It is necessary a previous preparation in most of the ingredients (cut, laminate, etc.)

Best foods to use with this method: It is usually used for cut vegetables but also in meat, fish and vegetable proteins such as tofu, seitan and tempeh.

Saute

Sautéing is a method used to cooking foods with a small amount of fat, just enough and necessary to lubricate the ingredients, and a relatively high heat source (175-225º C), so it is very important to keep them in constant motion and thus prevent the surface from drying out. To perform this technique, a wide pan is usually used since all the ingredients have space in a single layer without overlapping.

To do so, you also have to take into account that cooking time is short, so the ingredients must be small or chopped. For optimal cooking, it is necessary to start with those that need more cooking time and gradually incorporate the rest.

Advantages:

  • Very fast, tasty cooking method without the need to use a lot of fat.
  • This method preserves the texture, color and nutrients of food very well.

Disadvantages:

  • It is important to be aware of cooking since we must keep food in constant motion.
  • It is necessary a previous preparation in most of the ingredients (cut, laminate, etc.)
  • If we are not attentive to cooking, we can burn food and produce toxic substances.

Best foods to use with this method: We can sauté almost any type of food, they simply need a previous preparation (cut, laminated, etc.). Among the most used are vegetables, cereals, meat, etc.

Mixed or combined cooking

In this type of cooking, dry and wet cooking methods are combined. Cooking takes place in two stages, firstly the food is cooked by dry heat And in second place, the cooking of the food is finished by moist heat where you get a sauce or juice.

Stew

It consists of cooking all the ingredients in an open pot, over low heat, in some liquid. The usual thing is from a sauce with tomato or sautéing the ingredients in oil or butter. It is also necessary to add water or broth to the cooking and no lid is needed.

It consists of cooking various ingredients over low heat, in the same container and with its own juice. Typically, water, broth or sautéed tomato is added to enhance the flavor and as a liquid method of cooking. When cooking over low heat for a long period of time, all the flavors are maintained and a dish with a homogeneous flavor will remain.

Advantages:

  • Dishes with traditional flavors are obtained.
  • It allows cooking in advance, in this way we will always have an emergency tupperware prepared.
  • It is a cooking method that is practically compatible with all foods.

Disadvantages:

  • It is necessary to monitor it constantly, stirring from time to time and checking that the liquid level does not drop too soon.
  • This is a slow and long cooking method.

Best foods to use with this method: Stews of all kinds can be prepared, with meat, vegetables, fish or legumes.

Stew

This cooking technique often used with ingredients that need a slow and long cooking, so that they are tender. Generally they are submerged in cooking broths that add flavor and with the container covered, avoiding evaporation and consequently, preserving the juices of the food and the incorporated ingredients.

It is usually made with added ingredients such as vegetables and / or greens, water or broth, wine, spices, etc. The result is a dish full of nutrients and concentration of flavors. Cooking can take several hours since the temperature should always be below the boiling point. In this way, the collagen in some meats dissolves and gelatin is formed, offering a tender and juicy result.

Advantages:

  • It allows to prepare very tasty, complete and nutritious dishes.
  • By keeping the heat low, there is no danger of the food burning as it will hardly be dry and without liquid.
  • After cooking, the liquids in the food are reduced to a light sauce full of flavor.

Disadvantages:

  • It is a slow and prolonged cooking. For this reason, among others, there are nutrient losses.
  • If fatty foods are used, concentrating the food results in caloric dishes.

Best foods to use with this method: It is normally used to soften cut up meats or whole pieces that need to cook for a long time to be digestible. Vegetables and other ingredients such as wine, spices, flour, etc. are usually added. To accompany the cooking and make the sauces come out thick. Fish stews can also be prepared.

grilled types of food cookingBraying

The braised consists of two steps, using dry and wet heat. First, the food is cooked in a fat or oil to brown the surface and create the concentration of the juices. Secondly, the cooking is finished using a wet medium with the incorporation of liquid, broth, water or wine in a small quantity to provide aromas and flavors. This last cooking is done over low heat and for a long time.

Advantages:

  • You get very tasty and complete dishes.
  • It allows you to cook a wide variety of pieces, both large and small.

Disadvantages:

  • There are losses of nutrients, usually vitamins.
  • This is a slow and long cooking method.

Best foods to use with this method: Normally it is a technique used in tough and lower-category meats since they become more tender and juicy, supporting a long cooking time. It is also used in fish such as monkfish, salmon, carp, etc.

Other types of cooking

 

Microwave oven

The microwave is a household appliance that has found its way into most homes, due to its practical use and how much it facilitates kitchen tasks.

The heating process that this appliance uses occurs because the water molecules absorb the waves that it emits and by electronic agitation they transform their energy into heat, it is then when there is an increase in temperature in these molecules.

The most recommended containers to use for heating in the microwave are glass and ceramic as they withstand heat better.

Advantages:

  • In general, it allows faster heating and with less energy consumption.
  • It allows to maintain a better nutritional and organoleptic quality and that the components of the food are not lost.
  • It has different uses such as defrosting or reheating.

Disadvantages:

  • It is not produced in a homogeneous way since it depends on the distribution of water in the food.
  • If you overdo the cooking time, you can overly dry the food.
  • If the size of the piece is too large, it will probably not cook well.

Best foods to use with this method: You can cook a wide variety of foods such as vegetable creams, sauces, pasta, rice, etc. Also sweet recipes such as custards, creams, puddings, even cakes.

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