What’s Cooking: Preparation Ingredients – Stabroek News

What is Cooking is a series where I answer questions and share advice about food and cooking that you may have but might be too shy to ask.

A recipe may require you to bruise, baste, cut, crack, grind, grind, pound or chop ingredients while cooking. And as violent as it sounds, these are necessary treatments that we have to use at different times, to extract the ideal ingredient of an ingredient to taste and improve a dish. Simply put, it is important how ingredients are prepared for certain dishes.

I know at times it can seem boring or fussy when a recipe suggests you grind rather than cut, or puree instead of a pound. In the larger scheme of things it may not seem important but if you are looking for a specific result in taste, texture, taste and appearance then it is important. Specific treatments relate to the release of essential oils and surface exposure; both of these elements are suitable for flavor and dish spices – intense or subtle. There are times when things are left intact or broken into large pieces; this decision affects the texture as well as the cooking times, temperature and overall taste of a finished dish.

Bouquet Garni – fresh herbs bundled for a delicate flavor (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

When it is recommended that ginger is sliced ​​thinly on the slice it means that the upper surface area of ​​this type of cut will facilitate the release of much of the ginger flavor. When it is recommended that whole spices are roasted dry just before being ground, it is to bring the spice oils to the surface thereby creating an intensity of taste and aroma. When added to the dish in their ground state, they easily dissolve with the ingredients. Dried nuts and fruits such as raisins or cranberries when added whole to granola bars to add a chewy and crunchy texture. The same ingredients when added to biscuits, buns or sweet breads would be cut small enough to be incorporated into the mix so that they become one with the other ingredients providing a subtle flavor.

Hot peppers thrown into a boiling pot of soup, rice and peas or Cooked Rice will not give any heat, but if punctuated with a couple of small cracks before being added to the pot, pepper releasing a gentle heat to it all. pot. If the same peppers are finely ground or ground with their seeds and membranes, the intensity of the heat would be greater.

A particular cut is sometimes recommended to decompose an ingredient to release its flavor such as onions, tomatoes and herbs. Finely chopped herbs / herbs offer a more pronounced flavor than those added as a whole. On the other hand, some ingredients are to be reduced to such a condition – puree, puree, paste – that they are integrated in such a way that they become an integral part of the dish when cooked with other ingredients. Curry is a good example of this. The mixture of spices when crushed and mixed with ground turmeric, onions, garlic, peppers and herbs form a paste that becomes the base and base of the dish. All of these ingredients taste curry / curry sauce.

Many of the same spices are not garam masala when cooked as whole. For this reason, I always recommend a dish of Fish Molee (Kerala style fish curry) to introduce people to curry. The curry is light with the spices cooked whole in coconut milk. The dish is fragrant and light.

Here are some other examples to highlight how ingredient infusion is important and how cooking techniques contribute to their flavor profiles.

If you make dhal / dal and decide to add the jeera / cumin seeds at the beginning of the cooking process, the taste is curbed, however, toast the jeera in hot oil then pour it over the dhal and immediately seasoning and flavor the catch changes.

The definite taste of garlic is not for everyone, for just a hint of garlic in a dish, crushed after peeling and added to the pot / pan. For a firmer flavor, finely chop the garlic or make a paste.

Cracked nutmeg in a drink gives a lighter flavor than grated nutmeg; the same is true of many other spices. Add a whole piece of cinnamon to a rice pilaf and it perfumes the rice in an exotic way, adds it to earth and soaks up the dish.

Adding a bouquet garnish (fresh herbs tied together in a bundle) to a pot of soup, stock, stew or casserole will add a round but delicate herb flavor to the dish.

Eggs are a perfect example of how important ingredient variation is when cooking. To make meatballs and other fried foods that need eggs, the eggs are completely cracked and added and mixed. Those same eggs change function when lightly beaten to work as a laundry for baked goods or as a cover for battered foods. When eggs are added to cakes, they are often beaten until they are icy. And then there’s the separation of whites and yolks in making soufflés, meringues, angel cakes and the like.

I invite and encourage you to try different ways and methods of flavoring ingredients, you will be amazed by what some ingredients reveal in terms of layers of flavor and texture.


[email protected]