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8 Basic Cooking Techniques You Should Master

8 Basic Cooking Techniques You Should Master


What are the basic cooking techniques you should master?

  1. Sautéing
  2. Roasting
  3. Braising
  4. Simmering
  5. Baking
  6. Steaming
  7. Searing
  8. Stir-frying
  For the praktikal na nanays out there, serving different dishes and meals to your family is probably one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. There is nothing greater than seeing your husband and kids enjoying the dish you have prepared. With all the cooking you do on a daily basis, you must be running out of recipes to cook. It can help to go back to the basics of cooking. Learn cooking techniques and work all the way up to creating new dishes. From stir-frying to baking, here are some of the basic cooking techniques you can practice at home.  


The word sauté means “to jump”, which explains why the food is tossed around a skillet. It is a form of dry-heat cooking that uses a hot pan and a small amount of fat or oil. There are plenty of Filipino dishes that can be cooked using this method such as Garlic Vegetable Sauté or Sauteéd Beef Tenderloin. No matter what the dish you are planning to cook is, the pan and the oil must be hot enough so that the meat or vegetable tossed into it would brown quickly. When sauteéing, the exterior of the food can sometimes be browned, caramelized, or slightly brown.  


A woman roasting a whole chicken Roasting is another dry-heating method that makes use of the oven. This method of cooking brings out the full flavor potential of both meat and vegetables. Preheat the oven at a high temperature of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place the food on a prepared dish. Lather a bit of fat like olive oil and butter on the meat or vegetables to prevent them from drying. Typically, trays are used to roast food and there is no need to cover the top. Some of the dishes you can roast include Beef Pot Roast as well as Roasted Vegetables made of squash, red peppers, leeks, and cabbage.  


A moist-heat technique for cooking meats and vegetables is called braising. The meat and root vegetables are slowly cooked at low temperature, which helps in tenderizing them. Usually, there is a type of liquid such as a stock that is partially covering the dish to keep it moist. The process of braising meat begins with searing both sides. Once the sides are completely seared, the meat is removed from the pan and liquid is added into it. Keep the heat at medium-low and make sure the stock or any liquid ingredient boils. Then, return the meat to the pan and cover. Braising food typically takes hours to achieve cooked and tender meat or vegetables.  


Close up of a pot of simmering chicken broth Another form of moist-cooking method is called simmering. Often confused with boiling because of its process, simmering is a gentle technique wherein the liquid is kept just below the boiling point. Common dishes made through simmering are vegetable dishes as well as soup and stew. On top of the list of common dishes is the Filipino Adobo. The dish is made by simmering chicken or pork in soy sauce. Then, water is added to prevent the liquid from evaporating. Temperatures usually range from 180 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. When you are simmering, gradually add water once you see water bubbles forming.  


For those who have already mastered cooking techniques in the kitchen and wish to broaden their knowledge, consider trying baking. If improvising and getting creative in the kitchen is enjoyable for you, learning how to bake should be part of your agenda. Baking is another form of dry heat cooking which is similar to roasting. Both cooking techniques are done in an enclosed space like an oven and should also not be over direct contact with the flame. Baking can be done with low and high heat temperatures. For a high-fat content recipe, cooking at a higher temperature will produce the best results. The most common range for everyday baking is between 325 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For optimal results, invest in an electric oven with a convection function and varied stages for switching heating and function selector.  


4 piece of Chinese siomai dumplings on a steamer Hot liquids are the main source of heat when it comes to the steaming method. This method allows the raw food to maintain its texture, shape, and color even after being cooked for a long duration. One of the famous Filipino dishes that make use of the steaming method is steamed shrimp and pork dumplings, also known as siomai. With the use of a food steamer or a multi-cooker, you can create plenty of dishes, especially those that have vegetable-based ingredients. Steaming is one of the healthiest cooking methods as it can retain the nutrients of leafy green vegetables. The steaming time depends on the raw produce that is being cooked. Typically, it is faster to cook vegetables compared to meat.  


If you wish to achieve a caramelized brown and crispy exterior with a tender interior for fish and meat, then searing is the best cooking technique to use. The results provide an appealing taste and texture that contrasts due to the crispiness on the outside and the softness inside. One of the easy dishes to make by searing is Pan-seared Chicken Breasts that only require butter, oil, and black pepper. When using the searing method, make sure to use thick cuts of meat. Thin cuts may be entirely cooked while searing and it is quite impossible to get a crusty exterior without fully cooking the inside.  


A stir-fry dish of different types of vegetables Stir-fried food is commonly called rice toppings. It is a Chinese cooking method that fries ingredients in a small amount of extremely hot oil. The high temperature sears food quickly, which means there is no need to subject the meat over the fire for a long period of time. This process preserves the natural juices of both meat and vegetable ingredients. Vegetables are the most common ingredient cooked using the stir-frying method. Usually, the vegetables emerge crisp and bright unless liquid like soy sauce is added that changes the color of the outcome.  

Key Takeaway

Getting familiarized with cooking techniques should help you think of dishes to prepare without having to repeat the same ones. As a mom, you would want to make every meal special for your family. With the right home kitchen equipment and knowledge in cooking, you will surely be able to produce the best-tasting dishes.

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