Cooking Techniques- Moist Heat Cooking Methods

March 30, 2017 - General Articles

Heya! Long time, no see. Well, I am sorry for that. Had been keeping busy with some this and that stuffs. But, But, But! Let bygones be bygones and begin with the wishes of Gudi Padwa.

So we were talking about the cooking techniques and we have already discussed the Dry Heat Cooking methods. In case you have missed it, you can read here now.

Proceeding with the Moist Heat Cooking methods, the most popular techniques that fall under this category are Boiling, Poaching/Simmering, Frying and Stewing.



Boiling- Well, this is the simplest method of cooking ever-known. Food item is submerged in water and set in heat. The heat boils up the water which in turns cooks the food in it. The water is discarded after cooking and the food is consumed. Now, it’s the cruelty of the world that every easy things will have terrible cons, and this is no exception. Boiling is suitable only for water-absorbing items like food grains and things that are made out of food grains and shelled items like eggs. Boiling tender vegetables or even poultry, forces their internal juices and nutrients out from their body into the water which gets discarded at the end. Therefore, practically we get the only the fibre devoid of any nutrients. Now to make it a little more healthy, these days we cook in exact amount of water such that it gets absorbed into the food and need not be discarded. Even then, water gets evaporated taking away some nutrients and poultries mainly turns out hard and too fibrous.



Poaching and simmering- Though these are two different techniques but with the slightest difference, therefore, I clubbed them together in a single pointer. Again, this technique has a lot of similarity with boiling. Here again the food item is submerged in water and cooked via water medium. In poaching, an acidic agent is added to the water, be it vinegar or lemon juice, and may or may not with other flavoring agents like garlic, ginger, carrot, fresh herbs and whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, etc. Water is then set to heat and the temperature is risen just a point below the boiling point. Food item is then added to the liquid and heat is lowered such that the water doesn’t boil but just transfer its heat to the food item cooking it in the process. This procedure is best suited to prepare poultries as they comes out really soft and juice unlike boiling.

Simmering on other hand is allowing the water to boil just enough to form bubbles at the bottom. Food items is then submerged and cooked in the same way as that of poaching. The main difference in poaching and simmering is in the temperature of the water used as the medium. Simmering is suitable for fibrous veggies.



Frying- By far, this is the most favorite cooking technique in Indian kitchens and it is believed to deliver the tastiest dishes ever. Frying can be sub-divided into three formats- Stir-fry, Shallow-fry and Deep-fry.

Stir-fry is the healthiest in the lot. It involves smearing the pan with very little oil and then adding the veggies or meat and fry them by constantly stirring them in high heat. Fresh herbs, spices and acidic agents are thrown in between to add flavor to the dish. Exotic vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, peppers, baby corn, mushroom and also chicken and poultry are cooked using this technique.

Shallow fry involves a little more oil but something that doesn’t fully cover the food item to be cooked. In this technique the food item is allowed to get cooked one side at a time by flipping over and over. Paranthas and polis are mostly cooked using this technique.

Deep fry is the most unhealthy yet the most tastiest format (if this is not the cruelty of the world, I don’t know what). Here oil is taken in deep-bottom pan and heated till the time when something added to it sizzles at once (this is checked using a jeera or tiny dough balls). Once heated, food item is directly put in which sizzles at once locking the outer layer which in turn prevent any flavor and juices of the food to come out. This gives crispy fries full of juices inside. It does destroy some of the nutrients due to the high heat but mostly it is unhealthy as it leads to higher absorption of oil by the food items. Poories, marinated veggies and fish and poultry, coated eggs, practically anything comes out tastiest in this technique.



Stewing- This technique is once again very close to poaching and simmering, the only difference is that here an assortment of veggies and even meat are cooked together and the liquid is not discarded but thickened and served along with. Veggies and meat are taken in a deep-bottom pan, water, herbs and flavoring agents are added and then set to heat, low heat rather. Once the meat and veggies are tender, the remaining liquid is thickened using thickener like cornflour or corn starch and served all together. The only con in this process that some veggies gets overcooked as everything is cooked all together.

Cooking is less of following hard set techniques and more of fun. Mixing and matching techniques give rise to new techniques and adds different flavor to the food. Therefore never limit yourself from experimenting until and unless you are going vastly unhealthy. In our next post, I will share some more techniques that are born out of such mixing and matching.

Till then do stick with Fooddialer and share your views with us in the comment box below!