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According to science, fried food isn’t actually that bad for you

It’s no secret that we Southerners love our fried foods. We’ll fry just about anything — okra, hushpuppies, hand pies, steak and, of course, chicken. Much of the time, though, those platters of golden brown food come along not only with a side of only mac and cheese, but also guilt.
Fried foods are often thought of as some of the most unhealthy foods you can eat, and when we’re talking towers of fast food fried chicken and french fries, that assertion isn’t too off-base. However, fried foods aren’t actually all that bad for you — as long as you’re doing it right. Here’s why.

First, what is frying anyway?
Even if you’ve never heated up a pot of peanut oil and breaded a mess of chicken wings, anyone who’s watched a cooking show knows the basics: Food, which is sometimes breaded and sometimes not, gets submerged into a hot, but not smoking, pot of oil, where it bubbles away vigorously until it cooks through and turns brown. The food is removed, patted dry and, preferably, eaten when piping hot. That’s about it.
But what’s actually going on in that pot of oil? Unlike steaming or boiling, frying is a dry cooking process, like sautéeing or roasting. It occurs over moderate heat — most fried recipes will call for oil to be heated somewhere between 325 and 375 degrees — and, when done properly, results in food with a moist, just cooked center, and a crisp, well-browned exterior.
When a piece of food is dropped in hot oil, a few things happen: First, moisture from the inside of the food rapidly heats up and turns to steam, quickly migrating out from the food to the oil. This process causes the oil to bubble rapidly as it gives off all of that steam. Quick moisture loss on the outside of the food creates a dry surface, which will crisp in the hot oil. Because oils can heat up far past the boiling point of water, they allow for both the caramelization of starches and the browning of proteins, which is referred to as the Maillard reaction.

As moisture evaporates from the fried food, it leaves behind tiny little surface craters, into which small amounts of oil move. The more moisture that escapes the fried food, the more craters it leaves behind and, therefore, the more oil is absorbed. Foods fried at lower temperatures lose less moisture and therefore absorb less oil than foods fried at higher temperatures.

Yep, you read that right. In contrast to common belief, foods fried at higher temperatures actually contain more oil than those fried at a lower temperature. So why do foods fried in oil that’s too cool seem greasier?
It’s actually the excess moisture in those foods that makes them taste that way. Without that crisp golden crust from proper frying temperatures, there’s nothing to prevent moisture from seeping out and making your fries taste soggy. No one likes soggy foods, even if they contain slightly less oil than super crisp foods. The good news? Even properly fried foods don’t contain that much oil. In fact, several years ago, Cook’s Illustrated measured the amount of oil absorbed after frying chicken, and it was, surprisingly, minimal. Pretty much all of that oil is concentrated on the surface of the chicken (or fry, or whatever), inside of those little pockets created on its starchy surface.

How do you mitigate oil absorption? Paper towels … and lower gluten
One of the best ways to avoid serving (and eating!) greasy fried foods is to drain it properly. Newspaper may look cute, but it’s not an effective way to blot off any excess oil. Neither is a cooling rack. Instead, opt for a double- or triple-thick stack of paper towels. As soon as you pull your fried goodies out of the oil, transfer them to that stack of towels for a minute or two. Take this small window of waiting time to season the outside of your food and serve right away.
If you’re battering or breading your fried foods, you can also lower oil absorption by incorporating gluten-free flours and starches, such as rice flour and corn starch into your mix. There’s no need to go crazy and elimate all wheat flour (unless you need to, diet-wise, of course), but, according to Harold McGee, stronger gluten matrices absorb both moisture and fat at a higher rate than those with weaker gluten strands. If you’ve ever had a properly fried Korean chicken wing, which is almost always coated with a rice flour-heavy batter, you know that the exterior is very dry and crisp — the opposite of greasy.

What about the oil itself? Isn’t fat bad for you?
Short answer: Not really. As Samin Nosrat writes in her new book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: “Besides being one of the four basic elements of good cooking, fat is also one of the four elemental building blocks of all foods, along with water, protein, and carbohydrates. While it’s commonly believed that fat, much like sat, is universally unhealthy, both elements are essential to human survival. Fat serves as a crucial backup energy source, a way to store energy for future use, and plays a role in nutrient absorption and essential metabolic functions, such as brain growth.”
Of course, too much of anything can be bad for your health, and fat is no exception. But there’s no reason to shun fried food just because it contains more fat than steamed broccoli.
Another factor to consider is the type of oil itself. Typically, refined vegetable oils are used for frying, but there’s no reason why you can’t experiment with other oils — even olive oil. Most olive oils, in fact, start to smoke at temperatures close to 400 degrees — too hot for frying — so they’re totally safe. (Personally, I’d shy away from any truly fresh-pressed olio nuovo or any expensive bottle of olive oil for frying as most of those taste best when eaten raw or just lightly cooked.) Peanut oil is also more nutrient-rich than canola, and is quite an effective, and delicious, frying medium.
Finally, consider what it is you’re frying
Let’s face it — a beignet is always going to be less healthy than properly fried okra. And fried hushpuppies contain much fewer nutrients than tempura-fried shrimp. If you love fried food, but want to keep your heart health in mind, consider choosing vegetables over dessert and keep chicken-fried steaks to a minimum. Fried chicken, on the other hand, we’ll never say no to.
Photo (Fried Shrimp): Maura Friedman
Photo (Fried Fish): Ramona King
Photo (Fried Okra): Ramona King

All along my vegan journey, many of my food habits changed for the better. Instead of meat, dairy and eggs, my meals are filled with healthy vegetables and whole grains. However, I have one vice that remains – I love fried food. Ever since I was a kid, my favorite foods were fried. My family would go out for ice cream and I wanted fried chicken…with French fries. And while nothing makes me happier than biting into crispy fried tofu, I rarely deep-fry anything. It just isn’t necessary. Fried food is a staple of American dining but we all know that obesity, diabetes and heart disease are on the rise and fried food is filled with unhealthy fats. Even if we start out with a low-fat vegetable, it absorbs a lot of fat when fried. There are healthier ways to cook our food that involve less or no fat and not sacrifice any of the flavor. Here are 5 alternatives to frying food that taste great.

1. Sautéeing and Stir-Frying

Sautéeing is one of my favorite ways to cook food, mainly because it’s quick, easy and the food gets a ton of flavor. Veggies also keep a lot of their nutrients since it is such a fast method of cooking. Sautéing involves cooking veggies over high heat in a pan with a bit of oil or other liquid such as broth or water and some aromatics. This method works for almost any ingredient including tofu, seitan, greens, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, onions, and green beans. Use any of these 10 Simple and Awesome Homemade Saute Sauces to make your sauteed food delicious. Then try these Sauteed Avocados and this Early Summer Light Veggie Saute.

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Although the terms “saute” and “stir-fry” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Stir-frying happens at a much higher heat and at a much faster speed. The food also has to be constantly stirred and tossed so it doesn’t burn. Stir-frying is seen in Asian cuisine, and it is a fast way to make dinner for the whole family. For tips, check out the Secrets to Stir-Frying and Sautéeing Veggies Chinese-Style. Learn How to Make Stir-Fry – No Oil Necessary and 6 Ways to Make Awesome Meatless Stir-Fries. Then make the Ultimate Teriyaki Stir-Fry, Pineapple and Peanut Stir-Fry, and Shiitake Asparagus Stir Fry With Toasted Cashews and Wasabi Avocado Cream.

2. Steaming

Steaming gets a bad rap and is often associated with bland and boring food. That’s so untrue! Steaming cooks vegetables and makes them tender, bright, flavorful and keeps most of their nutrients. Steaming is a good method for delicate vegetables such as asparagus or greens, or those that need to get softened before sautéing like Brussels sprouts or carrots.

Try steaming and make these Tempeh and Kale Steamed Gyoza, Steamed Vegetables with Garlic Sauce, and Steamed Sweet Potatoes with Wild Rice, Basil, and Tomato Chili Sauce. You can even steam desserts like these Healthy Steamed Chocolate Molten Cakes.

3. Grilling

Grilling is easy and you end up with food that has a rich, deep, smoky flavor. Veggies caramelize so they get sweet and crisp. Tofu, seitan and tempeh get those beautiful grill marks and taste so good. Before grilling, let your food sit in a tasty marinade for at least 30 minutes. See The Ultimate Guide to Making Flavor-Packed Marinades for Plant-Based Dishes for lots of delicious recipes. Not sure how to grill? Get specific grilling times and other grilling instructions in my article, How to Grill Tasty Veggies Indoors and Out. Follow my 5 Tips for Amazing Summer Skewered Food and make these Pineapple Vegan Kebabs. Feel good about eating this Grilled Buffalo Tofu Po’ Boy with Apple Slaw, Grilled Artichoke and Quinoa Lettuce Wraps, and Grilled Avocados with Roasted Tomatoes. You can even grill dessert like these Grilled Fruit Kebabs and this Grilled Apple Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream.

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4. Roasting and Baking

Roasting is one of the easiest ways to cook food. It’s also the way I suggest preparing a vegetable if you are worried you won’t like it. Roasting vegetables involves caramelizing them in a hot oven. The natural sugars of the veggies come out leading to a sweet, savory intense flavor that is like no other. Roasting is also a great method because you don’t need to be there for the cooking. Simply preheat the oven to 400 degrees or so, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and chop your veggies into whatever shape you want. Toss them in a bit of oil and season them with your favorite herbs and spices. Let them roast until they are tender on the inside with a crisp crust. You can roast any vegetable including onions, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes, and squash. For detailed cooking times and temperatures, check out The Ultimate Guide to Roasting Vegetables. Then make this Cheesy Whole Roasted Cauliflower, Miso Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini, Creamy Lemon Ziti with Roasted Asparagus and Coconut and Turmeric Roasted Potatoes.

We may use the term “oven-fried” but the method being used is actually baking. We can bake all the foods we usually fry and still have them come out crispy and delicious. Crispy tofu? You bet, make this Crispy Baked Tofu with Shredded Veggie Quinoa. French fries? They taste even better when made in the oven like these Cinnamon-Spiced Baked Sweet Potatoes. Baking is similar to roasting, except the food doesn’t get caramelized. Try Baked Onion Rings, Baked “Fish” Cakes with Lemon-Herb Mayo, Healthy Baked Vegan Pakoras, Homemade Baked Potato Chips, and Baked Broccoli Burgers. Learn How to Make Perfect Baked Tofu and How to Make the Perfect Baked Potato.

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5. Braising and Stewing

Braising and stewing involve cooking ingredients slowly in flavorful liquid. It is done over low heat and can take from 15 minutes to up to several hours. Vegetables and other foods that are cooked in these methods become soft, tender and full of flavor. These are also methods that allow you to walk away from the stove and do something else while the food cooks. Since the food cooks in liquid for a long time, braising and stewing are best done with heartier veggies like root vegetables, potatoes, beans, squash and celery as well as tofu, tempeh and seitan. You can braise food in water, broth, wine or any flavorful liquid. For the most flavor, saute the ingredients in a little oil with aromatics until they are browned and then add the liquids for them to cook in. You can also braise food in a slow cooker like this Slow Cooker Braised Tempeh with Figs and Port Wine. Learn How to Braise Your Food for Maximum Flavor and then make this Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Beer, White Wine and Miso Braised Baby Bok Choy, and Braised Seitan Short Ribs in Spicy Chile Sauce. For stewing, indulge in this South Indian Lentil Stew and this African Groundnut Stew.

With all these healthier ways to cook, there’s no reason to fry food except once in a while as a treat. When you do choose to fry, it’s important to do it correctly so Learn How To Fry Food The Right Way by Following These Tips. But for most of your day-to-day cooking, try these alternative methods to frying.

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The Science of Frying

By David Joachim and Andrew Schloss
from Fine Cooking #121, pp. 38-39

From chips and doughnuts to chicken, french fries, and onion rings, fried food is hard to resist. And it’s no wonder: No other cooking method delivers such crisp, delicious browning while keeping food moist and tender on the inside. But frying can be tricky, and doing it well requires not only good technique but also an understanding of the science behind it. Here’s what you need to know to fry right.

How does frying work?
Any food cooked in hot fat is fried. The method of heat transference is the same whether there’s just a little fat in the pan (sautéing), the fat comes partway up the sides of the food (shallow-frying), or the fat completely envelops the food (deep-frying). When food is added to hot oil (usually 350°F to 375°F), its surface dehydrates. Meanwhile, through a series of Maillard reactions (named after the chemist Louis Camille Maillard), its sugars and proteins break down to create complex flavor and golden-brown color.

Browning is quick and thorough because the hot liquid fat delivers heat to even the smallest crevices on a food’s surface. In the initial moments of frying, as the surface dehydrates, it forms a crust that inhibits further oil absorption, while continuing to conduct heat to the interior of the food, where the heat causes starches to gelatinize (as in french fries), proteins to denature (in fried chicken), and fibers to soften (in fried zucchini).

Maintaining the correct oil temperature is key to frying. If the temperature drops too low, the crust forms slowly, allowing the food to absorb more fat and become greasy. If the oil gets too hot, the food burns on the surface before it cooks through.

Put the science to work

Classic Fried Chicken Fish and Chips with Tartar Sauce Fried Chocolate-Hazelnut Wontons with Orange Dipping Sauce
Yuca Fries with Garlic Mojo Bite-Size Latkes Buttermilk-Battered Onion Rings

What is the best fat for frying?
It depends whether you care most about flavor or health or using a long-lasting frying oil. Different fats deliver better results in each instance.

A fat’s level of hydrogen saturation is the most important variable. Highly saturated fats, such as lard and shortening, are solid at room temperature, while polyunsaturated fats, like vegetable and canola oils, remain liquid at room temperature. Food fried in highly saturated fat has a more pleasant, less-oily-tasting surface than food fried in unsaturated fat, because the saturated fat re-solidifies as it cools. Plus, many saturated fats, like duck and beef fat, are more flavorful than refined liquid oils. So from a flavor and texture standpoint, solid fats make a great choice for frying.

However, saturated fats are considered less healthful than liquid polyunsaturated fats because they may be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, saturation causes these fats to degrade sooner during frying. They begin to break down at typical frying temperatures (350°F to 375°F), releasing free fatty acids that burn and create visible smoke. Once the fat has reached this smoke point, it will create off-flavors and noxious aromas.

For a longer-lasting fat that’s more healthful, choose a refined polyunsaturated oil with a high smoke point. Almost all vegetable oils make good choices for frying, since their smoke points are higher than common frying temperatures, ranging from 410°F (corn oil and olive oil) to 435°F (canola oil) to 445°F (grapeseed oil) to 450°F (peanut, soybean, and safflower oils).

Top Ten Tips for Frying

  1. Cut food into similar-size pieces so they fry at the same rate.
  2. To help breadcrumb coatings dry and adhere, let raw breaded food sit on a rack for up to 30 minutes before frying.
  3. Always deep-fry in a deep pot and fill it only a third or half full with oil. Tall, narrow pots help extend the oil’s frying life, since less of the oil’s surface is exposed to oxygen.
  4. Use a deep-fry thermometer and adjust the heat while frying to maintain a steady temperature.
  5. Fry in small batches to prevent the oil temperature from dropping too low, which can lead to greasy food.
  6. Briefly drain fried food on a rack or absorbent paper.
  7. Season food immediately after frying so the seasoning adheres to the hot food.
  8. If not eating right away, transfer each batch of fried food to a 200°F oven to keep it crisp.
  9. Let the oil come back up to frying temperature between batches.
  10. Never leave oil unattended on the stove-it can overheat and become a fire risk.

What creates a crisp crust on fried food?
When food is plunged into hot oil, the water in the food starts to boil and percolate toward the surface. In order for a crisp, dry crust to develop, there must be a barrier between the hot oil and the migrating water. This barrier is typically something starchy. As the starch fries in the hot oil, it dries into a pleasantly crisp shell and protects the moisture beneath. The food inside steams while the coating browns and crisps.

After frying, the food will continue to steam, but as long as you can see steam rising from the surface of your fried chicken or tempura, the moisture is escaping and the coating will stay crisp. As soon as the food cools and the steam stops, any remaining moisture in the interior is absorbed into the coating, making it soggy; this is why fried foods are best eaten soon after frying.

Starch is naturally present in certain foods, like potatoes and fritters, but for frying some things, especially meats and fish, a starchy coating like batter or breadcrumbs needs to be added. Both create crisp crusts during frying, and there are pros and cons to each.

Batters form a more solid surface than breadcrumbs do. This makes them better for frying delicate ingredients like fish fillets, which tend to fall apart during cooking. The downside to batter coatings is that they don’t allow as much evaporation as breadcrumbs do, so battered foods tend to get soggy faster. For a crisp batter crust, use low-protein wheat flour such as cake flour, which doesn’t develop as much gluten as higher-protein flours, and therefore doesn’t become as chewy. For an even crisper crust, use corn flour (finely ground cornmeal) or gluten-free rice flour.

Breadcrumb coatings stay crisp longer than batter coatings, but the process of breading can be more involved: Typically, the food needs to be dusted with flour to dry its surface, and then dipped in egg to help the crumbs adhere and form a crust. For the crispest breaded crust, use panko breadcrumbs. Shaped in long slivers rather than rounded bits, these crumbs have more surface area exposed to the hot oil, so they crisp more thoroughly. Panko crumbs also don’t compact the way regular breadcrumbs do, which allows steam to evaporate faster and helps prevent the crust from getting soggy.

What to do with used frying oil

Reuse it Do this only if the oil still appears clear and light in color. To extend its life, keep it clean by regularly straining out crumbs.

Discard it Don’t pour used frying oil down the drain. Instead, let it cool, pour it into a biodegradable container, such as a paper milk carton, and throw it out with your regular trash. Some cities also have collection centers for recycling used cooking oil.

What you need: The standard steaming setup consists of a collapsible metal basket in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. For a makeshift version, place a small heatproof bowl upside down in a deep pot, add ½ inch of water, and balance a small heatproof plate on top. Place the food on the plate, then cover the pot with its lid. If you steam often and in large amounts, consider a bamboo steamer; its large, stackable trays allow you to steam fish on one layer, vegetables on another.

Tip: Drizzling a few drops of olive oil over steamed food just before serving will impart far more flavor than sautéing the ingredients in an entire tablespoon of fat.

3. Poaching
Why do it: When you poach, the liquid gives food an exceptionally tender texture, which in turn infuses the liquid with its own flavor. To poach, place chicken or fish in a large, shallow pan, add just enough water or broth to cover it, simmer gently so that only a stray bubble breaks the surface. (If you’re making chicken, remove the skin before you poach it: “You immediately cut the fat grams by more than half,” says Bazilian)

What you need: A saucepan that’s deep enough to submerge the ingredients and a watchful eye, so that only an occasional bubble breaks the surface (otherwise, the meat may become tough).

Tip: Instead of pouring the cooking liquid down the drain, turn it into soup by adding vegetables and perhaps some pasta for substance. Recent research indicates that when people eat soup, they tend to fill up quickly due to the volume of liquid. As a result, they consume fewer calories overall without feeling deprived. “That psychological satisfaction,” Bazilian says, “is very, very important.”

4. Wrapping
Why do it: A combination of steaming and baking, this cooking method works splendidly with fish and chicken, which dry out easily, because the paper pouch traps the moisture and the juices. Just place food on a piece of paper, wrap it up, and put it in the oven. When it’s ready, as you pull away the crinkly, slightly burnished edges of the parcels, you’ll feel almost as if you’re unwrapping a healthy gift.

What you need: Waterproof and oven-safe, parchment paper is the perfect packaging for this cooking method (look for it near the plastic wrap). Don’t substitute wax paper, which shouldn’t be directly exposed to heat. If the seams start to unfold as soon as you let go, use a lemon half or a carrot as a paperweight.

Tip: The ingredients for a parchment package are limited only by your imagination. Use a different fish. Add some olives. Try asparagus instead of fennel, potatoes in place of beans. Whatever your creation, include a variety of colors as well as some fresh herbs, finely chopped garlic, or thinly sliced fresh ginger.

5. Pureeing
Why do it: When you puree vegetables, they go from ordinary to velvety with the touch of a button. Pureeing involves two basic steps: simmering the vegetables (say, squash or broccoli, sweet potatoes or cauliflower) until they’re tender, and blending them with broth until they’re smooth. Adjusting the amount of broth determines whether you end up with a soup or a side dish. If you want to put a little olive oil in your puree, fine. Bazilian explains that eating low-fat isn’t just about avoiding fat. “It’s about choosing fats intelligently,” she says.

What you need: Food processors are terrific for chopping, but for a really smooth puree you’ll need to pull out the blender. If you’re using a traditional countertop model, whir hot vegetables in batches, filling the jar only halfway―unless you want to spend the night cleaning the ceiling. A time-saving alternative is an immersion blender. Basically a blender on a stick, it can be placed directly into a pot of hot liquid.

Tip: Add a garnish―choose something with a contrasting texture and color, like pumpkin seeds or fresh herbs. Chopping the seeds distributes the crunch and makes a small sprinkle seem like an abundance; heating the seeds brings out their flavor and aroma.

Ask a Dietitian

As seen on BCTV June 19/01

LOW FAT COOKING
It is common knowledge that a diet high in fat (especially animal fat) may lead to health problems. However, old habits are hard to break, and you may find it difficult to transform your cooking methods to make foods lower in fat. High fat cooking includes pan frying, deep-frying, sautéing, drowning foods in cream sauces or topping lower fat foods with high fat ingredients. The good news is that there are endless options that make food taste even more delicious. Not only do your taste buds get a treat, but your body will thank you for it too! Listed are a few healthy cooking methods to get you on your way:

  • Steaming or Poaching: This is a great way to cook fresh vegetables, rice, and foods that require delicate cooking methods such as fish and seafood. Steaming foods is a delicious way to lock in taste with a minimal loss of nutrients.
  • Grilling: Foods simply taste better grilled. Vegetables and lean cuts of meat require little preparation, as the grill imparts a taste of its own. You may choose to use a barbeque, stovetop grill, or one that works similar to a sandwich maker that plugs in. For a fun change, try making vegetable and meat or poultry kabobs.
  • Baking: Foods require very little extra fat when baked. Baking meat and poultry allows the food to brown on the outside and stay moist on the inside. If you are not using a non-stick baking dish, use a vegetable oil spray to prevent the food from sticking.
  • Roasting: Similar to baking, roasting is done at a lower temperature for longer periods. Traditionally reserved for meat and poultry, roasting has become a trendy and delicious way to prepare vegetables. This cooking process slowly draws out the moisture of the vegetable and leaves it bursting with flavor. For best results, lightly brush the vegetables in olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite herb if you wish. Be sure not to crowd the vegetables: lay them out on a cookie sheet. Add to pasta tossed with olive oil and parmesan, puree to make a soup, or eat them on their own.
  • Broiling: A high temperature heat method used to lock in moisture and leave a golden crust on foods. This is especially good for dishes that require little cooking time such as fish and seafood.
  • Pan Cooking: Not all fry pans are created equal. Non-stick skillets give you the advantage of frying without all the fat. If necessary, spray the pan with a vegetable oil spray to give a little flavor and further prevent sticking. Choose one with a heavy bottom for best results.
  • Cast Iron Pans: Cooking food in a cast iron pan will actually boost the iron content of the food! This is because some of the iron is leached from the pan into the food during cooking. Because many foods stick to these pans, you may need to use a cooking spray or a brush of vegetable oil when cooking.
  • Stir frying: Because foods are cooked quickly at a high heat during stir frying, most nutrients are kept in the food. Little or no oil needs to be added to a stir fry while cooking: use water or chicken stock to cook the foods. This is a great way to get your quota of vegetables.
  • Microwaving: You may be surprised to hear that microwaving food is a good way to keep the nutrients locked in the food. This is because very little water is required to microwave foods; therefore, few nutrients are lost. A bonus is that foods are prepared in a flash!Do not forget to choose lower fat foods when cooking. For example, even if you grill sausages, they are still a high fat food. Pay attention to labels and visible fat, and choose high-quality fats like liquid vegetable oils more often.Watch for the Eating for Energy segment every Tuesday on BCTV’s Noon News Hour!

3 Types of Cooking Methods and the Foods That Love Them

  • One of the most important aspects of cooking delicious food is understanding the strategies for matching specific types of meats, seafood, and vegetables with the correct cooking methods. So let’s get down to it!

    Cooking methods can be grouped into three categories:

    1. Dry-heat methods, with or without fat

    Dry-heat cooking methods like stir-frying, pan-frying, deep-frying, and sautéing rely on fats and oil to act as the cooking medium.

    In dry-heat methods that don’t use fat—like grilling and roasting—food is cooked either by direct or indirect application of radiant heat. No liquid is used, and any fat that is added during the cooking process is intended to add flavor and not to act as a cooking medium. The end result is a highly flavored exterior and moist interior.

    2. Moist-heat methods

    Moist-heat techniques—such as steaming, shallow poaching, deep poaching, and simmering—have traditionally served as simple and economical ways to prepare foods. Many of the classic dishes of the world are prepared using moist-heat methods because water-soluble nutrients are not drawn out of the food as readily. The result is tender, delicately flavored, and healthful dishes.

    3. Methods using a combination of dry and moist heat

    These methods, which apply both dry and moist heat, are appropriate for foods that are too tough to be successfully prepared by any other method. Tender foods such as fish and vegetables can also be braised or stewed successfully; however, they will require less cooking liquid, a lower temperature, and a shorter cooking time.

    The first step for most combination methods is to sear the main item. Next, braising is considered appropriate for foods that are portion-size or larger, as well as for cuts from more-exercised areas of large animals, mature whole birds, or large fish. Stewing can use the same meat cuts, but the main item is cut into bite-size pieces and the amount of liquid used in relation to the amount of ingredients varies from one style of preparation to another.

    Shopping for the Perfect Match

    Identifying specific visual traits in the proteins that we buy is the first step in choosing the proper cooking method:

    Tender, low-activity meats

    Meats in this category include true steaks, such as porterhouse, prime rib, filet, sirloin, or T-bone. High-heat methods such as grilling, broiling, and sautéing sear these steaks quickly without the need for tenderization.

    Tougher, high-activity meats

    Think chuck, shoulder, and flank. These cuts require mechanical tenderization, braising, or long and slow cooking.

    Active, fatty fish

    Tuna, who swim at top speeds of more than 40 mph, are best approached with a light hand, or even raw. High-heat cooking methods such as grilling, broiling, and sautéing work together with sweet, sour, or spicy elements to contrast the tuna’s rich flavor.

    Lean fish

    In contrast, lean fish such as flounder and cod are often deep-fried with tartar sauce or served with rich lemon butter sauce to contrast the lean mild flavor.

    Poultry and pork

    Poultry and pork are similar to beef in that cuts that have limited exercise such as the breast or loin require quick cooking methods, whereas pork shoulder and leg are braised or cooked long and slow.

    Vegetables

    Vegetables can also be cooked based on their density, structure, and moisture content. Tender vegetables that contain a lot of water, such as peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms, can be sautéed or grilled, whereas drier broccoli or green beans need to be cooked in boiling salted water to tenderize. Braising is used to tenderize leafy greens such as collards, kale, and cabbage.

    Mark Ainsworth is a professor of culinary arts at the New York campus. He is the author of the Kitchen Pro Series: Guide to Fish and Seafood Identification, Fabrication, and Utilization and his newest, The Young Chef: Recipes and Techniques for Kids Who Love to Cook.

      • 5 of the Healthiest Ways to Cook Fresh Fish

        Making the most of your Topsail Island vacation rental is easy when you’re given everything you need to make a fabulous meal right in the comfort of your home-away-from-home. Take a few nights to stay in and enjoy the local bounty of fresh fish, whether you catch it yourself of stop by the local seafood market and bring it home with you. Not only are you supporting the local economy by buying fresh and local, but you’re also staying healthy by choosing a lean, nutritious and totally delicious protein that’s sure to be the star of your meal.
        Here are five of the very best ways to cook fresh fish and to keep it healthy all at the same time. Try one or try them all!

        1. Grill Your Fish

        How to Grill Fish

        • When you’re grilling fish, keep a close watch. (Fish only takes a few minutes per side to cook.)
        • If the fillets are an even thickness, sometimes they don’t even require flipping–they can be cooked through by grilling on one side only.
        • Brush the fish lightly with oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
        • Place fish near the edge of the grill, away from the hottest part of the fire. (Don’t try to lift up the fish right away; it will be stuck to the grill).
        • Start checking for color and doneness after a few minutes, once the fish starts to release some of its juices.
        • Flip the fish over when you see light grill marks forming.
        • Grilling is a quick, easy and healthy way to impart big flavor without too many added ingredients.

        Best Types of Fish for Grilling
        When choosing a fish for grilling it’s important to consider how firm or sturdy it is. Delicate fish like sole, tilapia, or flounder don’t fare so well on the open flame. They’re more likely to become flakey, break apart or fall through the grates. It’s best to choose a firm, hearty fish.
        Here are some of the best types of fish fillets to throw on the grill.

        • Mahi Mahi
        • Salmon
        • Snapper
        • Swordfish
        • Tuna

        Recommended Grilled Fish Recipe
        Looking for a versatile recipe that you can use to grill up your favorite fresh fish? Try these Lemony Grilled Fish Fillets with Dill Sauce. This particular recipe uses salmon, but you can substitute with any firm fish filet of your choosing.

        2. Broil Your Fish

        How to Broil Fish

        • When the weather’s not right for grilling, try broiling instead.
        • Broiling is great when you want a fast, simple, hassle-free preparation with delicious results.
        • It gives fish a nicely browned exterior with the convenience of a temperature-controlled heat source.
        • Just follow the basic grilling instructions given for #1, substituting your oven broiler for the grill.
        • For easy cleanup, line the broiler pan with a piece of foil.

        Best Types of Fish for Broiling
        Not every kind of fish is suitable for broiling. The best are fish with high levels of natural oils. Their natural fat provides a degree of protection against overcooking under the intense heat of the broiler, and the fish will brown beautifully. Moderately lean fish can be broiled successfully if you brush the surface with a protective glaze or a thin layer of a high-temperature cooking oil. Very lean, thin and delicate fillets go from uncooked to overcooked in a heartbeat, and are very difficult to broil successfully.
        Here are some of the top contenders for best fish to broil.

        • Salmon
        • Mackerel
        • Swordfish
        • Cod (brush with oil)
        • Haddock (brush with oil)

        Recommended Broiled Fish Recipe
        This recipe recommends 4 fillets weighing about 6 ounces each. Suggested fish for this recipe are orange roughy, red snapper, catfish or trout fillets, but you can use whatever you like. Just keep in mind that thin, delicate fillets are not a good option for broiling. Take a look at how to make this Perfectly Broiled Fish recipe with everyday ingredients like olive oil, lemon, worchestershire sauce and parsley that elevate the broiled fish and add complexity to the flavor profile.

        3. Bake Your Fish

        How to Bake Fish

        • Baking fish allows you to get the satisfying crunch of fried fish without all the fat.
        • Just because it’s baked, though, doesn’t mean it’s healthy: watch the amount of butter, oil, mayonnaise, or cheese called for in the recipe.
        • Baking is a more relaxed affair, because of the lower temperatures used.
        • Whole fish, large fillets, or especially lean and fragile fish can be baked at temperatures between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit, to preserve their moisture and delicate texture.
        • Fish that might otherwise be broiled can be baked at higher temperatures, ranging from 400 F to 450 F.
        • The broiler incinerates fresh herbs and many other garnishes, but oven-baked fish can take full advantage of these light, low-fat flavoring options.
        • Many recipes call for fish to be dry-baked, sitting on a sheet pan.
        • Baking fish in a sauce or flavored liquid is an attractive alternative. Simple cooking liquids, such as fish broth or spiced white wine, impart a gentle flavor to the fish with few or no added calories.
        • More elaborate sauces based on tomatoes or tropical fruits are just as effective at keeping the fish moist, and also simplify your mealtime preparation process.
        • As soon as the fish begins to flake, it is done.
        • If you’re using white fish, check it more often, and remove it from the oven as soon as it’s fully firm.
        • If you don’t intend to serve it immediately (as in it’s going to be 10 minutes before you actually eat it), you can even remove it a bit before it’s fully cooked and let the residual heat finish the cooking in the center.

        Best Types of Fish for Baking The baking technique is more important than the type of fish. With the right technique, most fish can be baked without being tough and dry. That said, there are fish that are less well-suited. You’ll have to be especially careful with whitefish (as opposed to oily fish) such as cod or haddock since they have less fat and will dry out quicker. In addition, smaller fish with thinner fillets can be less forgiving.

        • The good news is that you can bake pretty much any type of fish.
        • The recipe you choose often dictates which type of fish would be best for this method.
        • A general rule is that white, flaky fish tend to dry out quicker than oily fish like salmon or mackerel.
        • Smaller fish or thinner fillets will cook more quickly, so you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

        Recommended Baked Fish Recipe
        We’ve chosen this Easy Baked Fish Fillet recipe because it works well with any firm white fish (cod, haddock or grouper are excellent choices) and gives a nice crunch from the light breading that provides the satisfaction of texture you’d get from fried fish without the extra calories. Simply delicious!

        4. Poach Your Fish

        How to Poach Fish

        • This gentle cooking method is perfect for seafood.
        • Poaching keeps fish moist and won’t mask the delicate flavor of the fish.
        • To poach fish, use vegetable or chicken stock, or make a court-bouillon, a homemade broth of aromatic herbs and spices.
        • Use a pan big enough to lay each piece of fish down flat.
        • Pour in enough liquid to just barely cover the fish.
        • Bring the liquid to a simmer, and keep it there.
        • If you see any bubbles coming up from the bottom of the pan, it’s too hot–the liquid should “shimmer” rather than bubble. The ideal poaching temperature is between 165 and 180 degrees F.

        Best Types of Fish for Poaching

        Poaching is a good technique for cooking lean fish, as well as fatty fish, and is usually best served with a sauce. Poaching preserves moisture and adds flavor without adding fat.

        Fish that take well to poaching:

        • Tilapia
        • Cod
        • Sole
        • Haddock
        • Snapper
        • Halibut
        • Salmon
        • Trout

        Recommended Recipe for Poached Fish
        Thai-Style Poached Fish with Coconut Milk, Lime & Lemongrass is a quick and easy dish of cod poached in coconut milk and features bold, Thai-inspired flavors including lemongrass, ginger, fresh chilies and fish sauce. It’s beautiful to look at and scrumptious to eat with the mild fish balancing the bold flavors of the dish for the perfect balance of taste and texture.

        5. Steam Your Fish

        How to Steam Fish

        • Steaming is another gentle cooking method.
        • It produces a mild-tasting fish that is often paired with a flavorful sauce.
        • Rub the fish with spices, chopped herbs, ginger, garlic, and chile peppers to infuse flavor while it cooks.
        • Use a bamboo steamer or a folding steamer basket with enough room for each piece of fish to lie flat.
        • Pour about 1½ inches of water into the pan.
        • Place the steamer over the water, cover the pot, and bring the water to a boil.
        • Begin checking the fish for doneness after 10 minutes.

        Best Types of Fish for Steaming

        We like steaming any type of white fish. But you can also steam salmon this way too with great success.
        Great fish for steaming:

        • Bass
        • Red Snapper
        • Yellowtail Snapper
        • Rock Fish
        • Tilapia
        • Trout
        • Halibut
        • Cod

        Recommended Recipe for Steamed Fish

        We love the minimal simplicity with the focus on the pure elements of this Simplest Steamed Fish recipe from the New York Times. If you have forgotten how delicious a great fillet of fresh fish can be, try this one. All you do is steam the fish with nothing on it. Drizzle it with olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle it with coarse salt. Eat!

        What’s your favorite healthy way to prepare fish? Share with us!

        RELATED READING:

        What You Need To Know About Fresh Seafood

        Everything You Need To Know About Fishing on Topsail Island

        Which of these fabulous fresh fish dishes are you going to try next?

        Share this…

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        This Easy Lemon Butter Fish only takes 20 minutes and a handful of ingredients. It’s a delicious and nutritious white fish recipe. Pair with rice and vegetables for a healthy weeknight dinner.

        Easy Lemon Butter Fish Recipe

        Lemon Butter Fish may be more frequently ordered at restaurants than made at home. It’s not your typical Tuesday night, in-between carpool fare.

        But it can be. And it is. This Easy Lemon Butter Fish goes from stovetop to table top in just 20 minutes.

        Grab ‘n go DIY Lara Bars and Fruity Chia Puddings are fantastic for breakfast or lunch…but we shoot for one real-food meal a day, which typically happens at dinner time.

        Not that Chicago style deep dish pizza isn’t all fab at 6pm, but Lemon Butter Fish is a nice and light fish recip that makes you feel pretty good about what you had for dinner.

        You guys may know we’re wild about seafood here (some of our faves are rounded up at the bottom of this post for you.) But often, those dishes get reserved for the weekends. I don’t even know why, since they’re just as easy as Quick Lemon-Basil Chicken.

        So. I’m improving our Tuesday night dinner game with this 20-minute Lemon Butter Fish recipe…

        Use tender, flaky, mild flavored white fish fillets

        This Easy Lemon Butter Fish is fabulous with any tender, flaky, mild flavored white fish. A firmer white fish works better than soft textured fish. A nice fresh cod, halibut, or mahi mahi would work beautifully. You’ll want 4 good-sized, firm white fish fillets that are about 6 inches long and 1 inch thickness. Definitely look for that 1-inch thickness, as thinner fish fillets don’t cook up as nicely.

        Just be sure your fillets are about 1-inch thick, to ensure that nice thick texture. Go for pieces that are about 6″ x 3″ in length and width. We want nice-sized pieces. Besides that, a heavy, large and even-cooking skillet is your kitchen essential. For flipping delicate food like fish, I use an extra wide stainless steel turner with a smooth/narrow edge to get underneath the food and flip it easily.

        You likely have the remaining ingredients in your kitchen already:

        • 3 TB melted butter (I use salted, but unsalted is fine) — real butter makes a huge difference in flavor
        • Juice and zest from 1 medium lemon — avoid bottled lemon juice. If your lemon is on the larger size, use less of it.
        • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste (here’s why we always use kosher salt in our cooking)
        • 1 tsp paprika, for a bit of smoky flavor and natural color
        • 1 tsp garlic powder; it serves as your weeknight time-saving aromatic
        • 1 tsp onion powder, same as above.
        • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper; always use fresh peppercorns and grind your black pepper fresh. It makes a huge flavor difference.
        • 3 TB olive oil; we use olive oil for most of our cooking, which feels healthier to me, as well as works really well with most recipes. We even use it in chocolate cake — ridiculously moist.
        • freshly chopped basil or parsley leaves, for garnish and flavor
        • extra lemon slices for serving – kind of a vanity thing, but fish always looks prettier with freshly sliced lemon slivers on top 🙂

        This isn’t the typical white-wine reduction situation. We’ve designed it for managing the midweek meal crisis, in order to provide the family a dish that’s super easy, quick, and we feel great about.

        This Easy Lemon butter Fish is tender, lemony, buttery, and delish for the whole family.

        We’re saving pizza night for Friday. 😉

        Watch us make this easy Lemon Butter Fish:

        Description

        This Easy Lemon Butter Fish only takes 15 minutes and a handful of ingredients. It’s a delicious and nutritious. Pair with rice and vegetables for a healthy weeknight dinner.

        Scale 1x2x3x

        Ingredients

        • 4 good-sized firm white fish fillets, about 6 inches long, 1-inch thickness (cod, halibut, or mahi would work well.)
        • 3 TB melted butter (I use salted, but unsalted is fine)
        • Juice and zest from 1 medium lemon
        • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste
        • 1 tsp paprika
        • 1 tsp garlic powder
        • 1 tsp onion powder
        • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
        • 3 TB olive oil
        • freshly chopped basil or parsley leaves, for garnish and flavor
        • extra lemon slices for serving

        Instructions

        1. Use paper towels to thoroughly pat-dry excess moisture from fish fillets – this step is crucial for fish to brown nicely in pan. Set aside.
        2. In a bowl, combine melted butter, lemon juice and zest, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Stir to combine well. Taste and add a bit more kosher salt, if desired.
        3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 tsp kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Evenly press spice mixture onto all sides of fish fillets.
        4. In a large, heavy pan over medium high heat, heat up the olive oil until hot. Once your oil is sizzling, Cook 2 fish fillets at a time to avoid overcrowding (allows for even browning.) Cook each side just until fish becomes opaque, feels somewhat firm in the center, and is browned – lightly drizzle some of the lemon butter sauce as you cook, reserving the rest for serving. Take care not to over-cook, as that will result in a tougher texture. Season with extra kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
        5. Serve fish with with remaining lemon butter sauce, basil or parsley, and lemon wedges.

        Notes

        ** Be sure to use coarse kosher salt, not fine table salt. Kosher salt is much milder and less salty. ** The actual cook time varies, depending on type, cut, and starting temp of fish. I typically cook about 3-4 minutes per side. I check for doneness by lightly pressing fillet centers for firmness. Once it feels somewhat firm, it’s usually done. ** Serve with Perfect Instant Pot Brown Rice or Best Easy Roasted Vegetables Recipe for a healthy meal that happens to be gluten-free.

        If you enjoyed this recipe, we’d love for you to come back and give it a rating 🙂

        Keywords: lemon butter fish recipe

        Splendid Seafood:

        1. 15-Minute Ginger Soy Steamed Fish
        1. Grilled Teriyaki Salmon
        1. Cioppino Seafood Stew
        1. Skillet Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Lemon and Basil
        1. 10-Minute Garlic Shrimp

        Our nutritionists, doctors, and elders always tell us to follow a healthy lifestyle. We also know it well that we should eat nutritious food and give up junk food if we want to stay healthy and fit. Processed foods contain preservatives, sugars, and unhealthy calories, and eating home-cooked food is the best bet if we want to stay healthy, but eating steamed food can be healthier. Steaming food is the simplest way to cook food. There are several other benefits of eating steamed food which we have discussed in this article.



        How is Steamed Food Beneficial for Your Health?

        Steamed food has many health benefits which are listed below:



        1. It Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels

        Steaming foods like lamb and pork can remove their fat content. It is difficult to separate the fat from the meat by other methods of cooking like grilling, frying, or roasting. Eating steamed food, which is devoid of fats, means less calorie intake, which in turn can control your cholesterol levels. Also, since steaming does not require the use of oil, you have a healthier and lighter meal on the table. It is a wonderful idea to include steamed foods in your weight loss diet.

        2. It Helps Preserve the Colour, Flavour, and Fibre

        Steaming is a method of cooking which helps retain the original flavour, colour, and texture of the vegetable as closely as possible. What you get is the entire nutritive value of the vegetable along with its rich colour and texture. Adding spices to the water could lend some additional flavours too.




        3. It Helps Retain Micronutrients

        Conventional cooking methods tend to drain a vegetable of its vitamin and mineral content. Steaming ensures that biotin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, Vitamin C, B12, niacin, thiamine, and vitamin B are retained in the vegetable. Also, minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc remain intact when you steam the vegetables.

        4. It is a Simple Way of Cooking

        Steaming food by stacking layers over each other can help you save precious time in the kitchen. It is also much simpler because there isn’t a lot of preparation involved and you can get most of it done with a single heat source.





        Tips and Tricks to Steam Your Food

        Don’t think that steamed food is boring and bland. You can add a little punch to your steamed food with a few handy tips:

        1. Try the Classic Taste

        Add a dash of olive oil, salt, and peppercorns in a pan and toss the veggies in it. Then steam in a steamer. Be sure to use extra virgin oil for a good flavour.




        2. Use Herbs

        You can add whole parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil, or lavender to the food before steaming. Remove them before serving the dish. Steaming chicken this way can make it absolutely flavoursome.

        3. Sweet Tooth Cooking

        To enhance the flavour of naturally sweet vegetables, you can add a bit of balsamic vinegar or red wine to the food before steaming. You could do this for steaming fish and meats too.





        4. Make it Citrusy

        Add a dash of lemon juice to your steamed food to get a unique flavour. You could use lemon slices while steaming vegetables to get the same effect too.

        5. Make it Exotic

        Mix in a little soy sauce, sesame seeds, and some white pepper to your steamed food to give it an exotic flavour.




        Healthy and Tasty Steamed Food Recipes that You Can Try at Home

        Here are some dishes with the recipes that you can try at home. Steamed food too can taste yummy so try them on your own:

        1. Steamed Fish

        This is a simple yet classic recipe for you to start with your steamed food diet.





        Ingredients

        • Medium-sized Fish – 1
        • Ginger strips
        • Soaked black mushrooms
        • Light Soy sauce – 2 tablespoons
        • Sesame oil – 1 teaspoon
        • Oyster Sauce – 1 teaspoon
        • Salt and pepper as per taste
        • Sliced stalk of spring onion

        Time




        • Preparation time: 20 minutes
        • Cooking Time: 10 Minutes

        Servings

        • This recipe serves 2 portions.

        Method




        • Wash and clean the fish and put it on a steaming tray.
        • Add seasonings like salt and pepper.
        • Mix the oyster sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce together.
        • Heat a pan and lightly stir fry the mushrooms.
        • Add the sauce mix and stir.
        • Pour this mix over the fish and add ginger slices.
        • Steam the fish for 10 minutes and remove when cooked.
        • Garnish with spring onions and serve.

        2. Steamed Prawns in Garlic Sauce

        This lip-smacking recipe is a healthy way to eat seafood.

        Ingredients




        • Tiger prawns – 4
        • Garlic – 1 cup
        • Vegetable oil – 1 teaspoon
        • Spring onions – chopped

        Cooking Time

        • Preparation time: 10 minutes
        • Cooking time: 15 minutes

        Servings


        • This recipe serves 4 portions.

        Method

        • Slice the prawns.
        • Finely chop garlic and sauté in oil.
        • Coat the prawns well with the garlic sauce.
        • Place in a steamer and cook for 10 minutes.
        • Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve warm.

        3. Steamed Lemon Garlic Chicken

        You can steam chicken breasts and serve it in dinner.

        Ingredients

        • Single breasts of chicken – 1
        • Cloves of garlic – 2
        • Lemon – 1
        • Springs of fresh thyme
        • Rock salt to taste
        • Black pepper
        • Chilli flakes

        Total Cook Time


        • Preparation time: 10 minutes
        • Cooking time: 10 minutes

        Servings

        • This recipe serves 2 portions.

        Method

        • Prepare the steamer.
        • Mince the garlic and mix it with salt, pepper, and chilli flakes.
        • Season both portions of the chicken breast.
        • Add lemon zest over both chicken breasts and sprinkle with thyme.
        • Spray a bit of oil over the chicken and steam for 10 minutes or until cooked.
        • Serve with baby potatoes or kale.

        4. Patra

        This is one of the classic steamed food recipes of Indian origin. It is healthy and yummy!

        Ingredients


        • Colocasia leaves – 4

        Batter

        • Gram flour- 1 cup
        • Tamarind paste – 1/2 teaspoon
        • Chili powder – 2 teaspoons
        • Asafoetida – A pinch
        • Roasted cumin – A teaspoon
        • Sugar – ½ teaspoon

        Tempering

        • Oil – 20 ml
        • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
        • Sesame Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

        Cooking Time

        • Preparation time: 10 minutes
        • Cooking Time: 40 minutes

        Servings


        • You will get 5 portions from this recipe.

        Method

        • Wash the leaves thoroughly and keep aside.
        • Mix all the other ingredients required to make the batter.
        • Place the leaf on the table and smooth it out. Spread a layer of batter on the leaf and cover it with another leaf.
        • Now spread another thin layer on the second leaf and cover. Repeat till you have used all the leaves up.
        • Fold in the sides of the leaves, and roll it in lengthwise. Make a tight roll.
        • Steam the rolls for 30 mins.
        • Cool and cut into slices.
        • Temper the seeds and pour it over the slices of patra.

        5. Bhapaa Aloo

        Steamed food recipes are vegetarian in nature are not that hard to find. Indian food has a host of steamed foods like bhapaa aloo which you can serve with roti or rice.

        Ingredients

        • Small potatoes – 200 grams
        • Mustard oil -2 teaspoon
        • 5 spice mix- ½ teaspoon
        • Dry red chilis – 2
        • Mustard paste – ½ teaspoon
        • Hung curd-1 teaspoon
        • Desiccated coconut paste – ½ teaspoon spoon
        • Green chilli paste
        • A pinch of turmeric powder
        • Lime juice – 2 teaspoons
        • Banana leaves – 2

        Cooking Time

        • Preparation time: 10 minutes
        • Cooking time: 40 minutes

        Servings

        • The recipe serves 4.

        Method

        • Peel and wash the potatoes and boil them partially.
        • Heat oil and add the 5-spice mix with red chilis to it. Pour the mix over the potatoes and let it rest.
        • Prepare a marinade with mustard paste, green chilli paste, coconut paste, curd, and turmeric powder.
        • Add the potatoes to the marinade.
        • Add salt, lemon juice, and mix once more.
        • Place the potatoes on a steel plate, place a banana leaf and steam for 6-10 minutes.

        6. Steamed Vegetables

        You can have steamed vegetables for breakfast or any time you want.

        Ingredients

        • Carrot sliced thinly -1
        • Broccoli florets – 1 cup
        • Cauliflower florets – 1 cup
        • Mushrooms – 1 cup
        • Lemon juice – 2 teaspoons
        • Butter – 1 tablespoon
        • Salt and pepper

        Cooking Time

        • Preparation time: 20 minutes
        • Cooking time: 10 minutes

        Servings

        • This recipe serves 2 portions.

        Method

        • Cut all the vegetables and wash them.
        • Steam all the vegetables with salt for 10 minutes.
        • Remove and set aside.
        • In a pan, heat the butter.
        • Toss the vegetables in the butter and sprinkle pepper on it.
        • Add lime juice and mix well before serving.

        FAQs

        Some questions about steamed food are discussed below:

        1. Is Steamed Food Healthier Than Boiled Food?

        Steamed food retains flavour, fibre, nutrition, and texture up to 81% while boiled food retains only 34% of flavonoids and nutrients. Hence, it is better to consume steam food.

        2. What Are Some Common Foods That Can Be Steamed?

        Common foods that can be steamed are:

        • Green leafy vegetables, momos, fruits.
        • Idlis, Dhokla, Patra, and pulses.
        • Eggs, chicken, salmon, and other meat.

        3. How Long Should You Steam Vegetables?

        All vegetables will have different cooking times depending on their thickness and size. Below we have mentioned some of the common vegetables and the time they take to get steamed:

        • Asparagus – 8 to10 minutes
        • Beans – 5 to7 minutes
        • Beetroot – 40 to 60 minutes
        • Bok choy stalks – 6 minutes
        • Bok choy leaves – 2 minutes
        • Broccoli florets – 5 minutes
        • Cauliflower florets – 5 minutes
        • Sliced Carrots – 4 to 5 minutes
        • Peas – 5 minutes
        • Spinach- 5 minutes

        4. Which Kinds of Steamers Can You Use for Steaming Food?

        The most popular types of steamers available are:

        • Metal collapsible steamers
        • Metal insert steamers
        • Bamboo steamers

        Complicated cooking recipes deter people from making efforts and trying out new recipes. Steamed food comes to the rescue as it can be cooked easily and tastes delicious. So start on those steamed food recipes and eat your way to health.

        Also Read:

        How to Make Sugar Free Kaju Katli
        Homemade Sugar Free Ice Cream Recipes
        Healthy and Tasty Dry Fruit Recipes

        10 Foods You Never Knew You Could Steam (and How the Heck to Do It)

        Cathy Vogt July 24, 2017 Recipes Email Print Twitter Pinterest Facebook

        This post was most recently updated on July 25th, 2017

        Steaming—it’s not just for broccoli and carrots anymore! This time-saving cooking technique, which uses one pot to prep food, is the more energy-efficient choice when it comes to cooking as it reduces the overall cook time. And while steamed veggies are nice, there are tons of other things you can fog to perfection as well!

        If you’re not familiar with steaming, the food is placed above water or other cooking liquid in a covered pan that’s hot enough to produce steam to gently cook the food.

        “Steam cooking is not something new but has been around for centuries. It is one of the most popular cooking methods in the East, especially China, India and some parts of North Africa,” a HubPages article explains.

        Not only is steaming great for busy households, but it’s one of the best cooking techniques for overall health. Gently steaming vegetables retains up to 50 percent more nutrients, especially water soluble vitamin C and vitamin B, which are damaged or lost with high heat. Foods that are steamed are lighter in calories and highlight the food’s natural flavors.

        While many people use a steamer for cooking the perfect pot of light and fluffy rice, there are a wide range of foods which can be cooked in a steamer. We promise that you’ll be hooked on this valuable piece of kitchen equipment before you know it!

        1. Dark leafy greens

        When steamed, these nutritious leaves cook in just a few minutes. Go for local, in-season leafy greens (visit a farmer’s market) such as collard greens, bok choy, mustard greens, Swiss chard, kale and spinach (or any other green you’re in to). Steam for 1-2 minutes, drain, chill and freeze in small containers to use in your green smoothies.

        For a simple side dish, add a few drops of toasted sesame seed oil and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

        2. Winter squash, gourds & pumpkin

        Steam ‘em whole and scoop it out! Stuff your steamed veggie of choice with meat or vegetable chili, soup or other flavorful combinations for an impressive main course at your next dinner party. You could also chill the cooked squash and use it as a bowl for a mixed salad.

        3. Fish and shellfish

        Delicate fish and shellfish retain moisture when steamed. Place seasoned salmon or other white fish on a bed of fresh herbs or citrus slices and steam until flaky.

        Do you love a traditional New England style clam bake? It’s made by steaming clams, lobster, fish, corn on the cob and potatoes over layers of seaweed.

        4. Fresh tomatoes

        Do you have an abundance of farm-fresh tomatoes? A steamer is perfect for processing tomatoes to remove skins, getting them ready for making tomato sauce or salsa for canning or freezing.

        5. Defrost and reheat

        Short on time? Use your steamer to gently defrost or reheat food so it retains moisture and flavor without overcooking or drying out.

        6. Desserts

        Love a warm and sweet dessert that’s low in sugar? Scoop out the seeds and core from a baking apple or pear and stuff it with chopped nuts, dates, cinnamon and a splash of vanilla and steam until soft. Use apple or other fruit juice as the steaming liquid instead of water. Reduce the liquid after cooking and thicken lightly with arrowroot for a light sauce. Top with a dollop of yogurt or whipped coconut cream.

        7. Cruciferous vegetables

        These veggies LOVE steam. In fact, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and radishes become sweeter when steamed. Keep it simple by steaming broccoli until tender crisp; add a pinch of salt and splash of fruity olive oil to season. Use cabbage leaves to wrap traditional-style stuffed cabbage or try something new; tempeh and wild rice filling, or mushrooms and farro with garlic and pesto.

        8. Frozen vegetables

        Frozen veggies often turn into mush when you cook them—but not when they’re steamed! Keep kids busy while you’re making dinner by serving steamed edamame pods with a sprinkle of salt or sea vegetable seasoning as a nutritious snack or appetizer.

        9. Poultry

        Lean, whole chickens, chicken breasts or pieces wrapped in parchment paper packages are delicate and tender. Season chicken with herbs, salt, garlic or your favorite seasoning combinations. Steam chicken until cooked through; use an internal thermometer to check temperature. Steam a whole chicken or several chicken breasts, cool and shred meat. Use shredded chicken for a quick salad or toss with barbecue

        10. Eggs

        Make the perfect hard-boiled eggs. Steam in shell for six minutes for a soft boiled egg and 12 minutes for a hard-boiled egg.

        Cathy Vogt

        Cathy Vogt is a Health & Culinary Coach, focused on educating clients on how to adopt healthier eating & lifestyle habits. She is a professionally trained chef, Integrative Nutrition Coach and Eating Psychology Coach. Cathy’s first book; Cultivating Joy in the Kitchen, offers plant-forward recipes along with nourishment practices, empowering reader to change their thoughts regarding health and get cooking! Learn more about her work, recipes and resources at www.anaturalchef.com.

        Cathy Vogt is a Health & Culinary Coach, focused on educating clients on how to adopt healthier eating & lifestyle habits. She is a professionally trained chef, Integrative Nutrition Coach and Eating Psychology Coach. Cathy’s first book; Cultivating Joy in the Kitchen, offers plant-forward recipes along with nourishment practices, empowering reader to change their thoughts regarding health and get cooking! Learn more about her work, recipes and resources at www.anaturalchef.com.

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        Methods of Cooking

        Here are the most basic cooking techniques to help you survive your first culinary year as a university student.

        #1 Baking

        This involves applying a dry convection heat to your food in an enclosed environment.

        The dry heat involved in the baking process makes the outside of the food go brown, and keeps the moisture locked in.

        Baking is regularly used for cooking pastries, bread and desserts.

        #2 Frying

        This means cooking your food in fat – there are several variations of frying:

        • Deep-frying, where the food is completely immersed in hot oil
        • Stir-frying, where you fry the food very quickly on a high heat in a oiled pan
        • Pan-frying, where food is cooked in a frying pan with oil; and
        • Sauteing, where the food is browned on one side and then the other with a small quantity of fat or oil.

        Frying is one of the quickest ways to cook food, with temperatures typically reaching between 175 – 225ºC.

        #3 Roasting

        Roasting is basically a high heat form of baking, where your food gets drier and browner on the outside by initial exposure to a temperature of over 500F.

        This prevents most of the moisture being cooked out of the food.

        The temperature is then lowered to between 425 and 450F to cook through the meat or vegetables.

        #4 Grilling

        This is a fast, dry and very hot way of cooking, where the food is placed under an intense radiant heat.

        You can use various sources of heat for grilling: wood burning, coals, gas flame, or electric heating.

        Before grilling, food can be marinaded or seasoned.

        A similar method to grilling is broiling, where the heat source originates from the top instead of the bottom.

        #5 Steaming

        This means cooking your food in water vapour over boiling water.

        For this, it’s handy to have a steamer, which consists of a vessel with a perforated bottom placed on top of another containing water.

        Steam rises as the water boils, cooking the food in the perforated vessel above.

        #6 Poaching

        This involves a small amount of hot liquid, ideally at a temperature between 160 and 180F.

        The cooking liquid is normally water, but you can also use broth, stock, milk or juice.

        Common foods cooked by poaching include fish, eggs and fruit.

        #7 Simmering

        This involves cooking liquid on top of a stove in a pot or pan. It should be carried out on a low heat, and you will see bubbles appearing on the surface of the liquid as your dish cooks.

        #8 Broiling

        Similar to grilling, the heat source comes directly from the top.

        You should be able to adjust your oven setting to broiling, but be careful, as this cooking methods works quickly and your meal could easily become burned.

        Favourite dishes for broiling include chicken, beef and fish.

        #9 Blanching

        Here the food is part-cooked, and then immediately submerged in ice cold water to stop the cooking process.

        All sorts of vegetables can be blanched, including green beans, asparagus and potatoes.

        #10 Braising

        First the food is sauted or seared, and then simmered in liquid for a long period of time until tender.

        Pot roasts, stews and casseroles can be cooked in this way if they contain larger food items such as poultry legs.

        #11 Stewing

        Again, the food is sauted or seared first, and then cooked in liquid, but normally uses smaller ingredients such as chopped meats or vegetables.

        Need some inspiration for using these techniques? Take a look at our Student Recipes, filled with tasty dishes for you to try at breakfast, lunch, dinner or any other time of day!

        We also have lots of information and advice on the different herbs and spices you can use in your cooking, how to keep your kitchen clean, budgeting for food, healthy eating, and a checklist of handy utensils you might need.

        Further information

        For more tips and advice on student cooking, please see:

        • Student budgeting
        • Kitchen hygiene
        • Healthy eating
        • Herbs and spices
        • Student recipes
        • Utensils

        The way to cook

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