Cooking Techniques

There are eight basic cooking techniques: sautéing, grilling, frying, boiling, steaming, simmering, poaching, and braising. Once you understand the steps of these techniques and what foods are best cooked using each method, you can cook just about anything. you’ll learn
much more about the techniques, and soon you’ll be able to start cooking without a recipe.

Dry-heat cooking and moist-heat cooking are the two main categories of cooking styles. Dry-heat cooking is most often used when you want to brown the food to develop a deep, rich flavor. Dry-heat cooking techniques include sautéing, frying, and grilling. Moist heat cooking is most often used to retain bright flavors and to tenderize what’s being cooked; these techniques include boiling, simmering, poaching,  steaming, and braising.

Dry-Heat Cooking Methods

  1. Sautéing

The sautéing method uses high-heat cooking in a pan. Thin, tender cuts of meat such as chicken breasts and hamburgers are good for sautéing. This method is also used for heating vegetables and browning them a bit on the outside, which still leaves them firm on the inside. Searing and stir-frying are methods of sautéing.

The basic steps of sautéing are :
• Season the food being cooked.
• Put the food in a very hot pan lightly coated with oil.
• Cook on high heat until browning occurs.
• Turn the food and repeat the cooking process on the other side.

2. Grilling

Grilling is the process of cooking directly over a flame or other heat  source. It’s best to grill items that are less than 1  ⁄ 2 inch (1.25cm) thick and tender, such as sliced summer squash, salmon, or beef steaks. The technique of broiling is a form of grilling but with the flame above the food rather than below.

The basic steps of grilling are:

• Season and oil the food.
• Place the food on the hot grill and cook halfway.
• Turn the food and cook the rest of the way

3. Frying

Frying uses hot oil to cook food. The process of deep-frying is often  confused as a moist-heat cooking technique, but moist cooking  uses water to penetrate the item being cooked in order to heat the  food. Frying is a dry heat method because water doesn’t exist in the  oil. If the technique is used correctly, the oil doesn’t penetrate into  the food—it’s only a conduit for the heat. This process is best used  for delicate, quick-cooking items such as shrimp, onion rings, or
chicken. In pan-frying, the oil only goes halfway up the sides of the  food. In deep-frying the food is fully submerged in the oil.

frying cook technique
The basic steps of pan-frying are:

• Season the food.
• Coat it with flour and bread crumbs.
• Place it in preheated oil and cook halfway.
• Turn the food and finish cooking.


Moist-Heat Cooking Methods

4. Boiling

The technique of boiling is cooking food submerged in a liquid  that’s 212°F (100°C). This process is often used with starches to  hydrate and soften them. Examples are cooking potatoes for  mashing and cooking pasta.


The basic steps of boiling are:

• Season the cooking liquid and bring it to a boil.
• Place the food to be cooked in the boiling liquid.

5. Simmering

Cooking food in a liquid at 180° to 210°F (82° to 99°C) is called simmering. Simmering is most often used for tough cuts of meat, or for  delicate vegetables and starches. Examples of foods that are simmered are beef and vegetable soup, stocks, and corned beef.

The basic steps of simmering are:

• Heat the liquid to a boil.
• Season the food.
• Submerge the food in the liquid. Adjust the heat to keep
within the 180° to 210°F (82° to 99°C) range.

6. Poaching

Poaching cooks food in a flavorful acidic liquid at 160° to 180°F  (71° to 82°C). This technique can be used on tender, thin-cut foods.  Cooking at this low temperature preserves more nutrients and the  natural flavors of the food. This technique is often used for chicken  or fish. Shallow poaching is a variation in which the liquid covers  the food halfway


and the pan is covered.

The basic steps of poaching are:

• Heat the liquid to a simmer.

• Season the food.

• Submerge the food in the liquid. Adjust the heat to keep in
the 160° to 180°F (71° to 82°C) range.


7. Steaming

Steaming is cooking food in hot vapors, most often the steam  from boiling water. Steaming is considered a nutritious method of  cooking because fewer vitamins and minerals are leached out into  the cooking medium compared with poaching or simmering. This method is most often used on vegetables, such as broccoli and  asparagus.


The basic steps of steaming are:

• Heat liquid to the steaming point.
• Place the food in the steam above the liquid. Cover the pot to
trap the steam in.
• After cooking through, vegetables should be chilled or
served right away to retain nutrients.


8. Braising

Braising combines sautéing, steaming, and simmering. The best  example of braising might be cooking a pot roast, where the meat  is sautéed to brown on all sides and then put into a pot with liquid  that comes one half to two thirds of the way up the sides of the  meat. The liquid is brought up to a simmer and the pot is covered  to hold in the steam. This technique is ideal for tough cuts of meat.  Stewing is a form of braising in which the meat is cut into smaller  pieces, sautéed, and completely submerged in the simmering liquid.


The basic steps of braising are:

• Season the food and cover it in oil.
• Add the food to a hot pan and brown on all sides.
• Add a flavorful liquid to the pan and bring up to 180° to 210°F
(82° to 99°C)
• Maintain the temperature until the food is tender.