Are you cooking your meats right? Photo: India Food Network
Meat plays an intrinsic role in almost every cuisine worldwide. Be it Indian or international food, we sure do love our meats. But, when it comes to cooking them at home, we are left in a tizzy.
There are a lot of things to consider while cooking meat, which impact the overall flavour and texture of the final dish. Here are a few of them.
Know Your Meat
The first step to making sure your meat turns out perfect is to know it well. Different kinds of meat require different cooking techniques. For instance, prime meats like a fillet needs to be grilled and not stewed as it is tender whereas lamb being a lot tougher needs to be stewed.
A mistake often made by many is overmarinating the meat. It is important to make sure that the natural flavours of the particular meat are enhanced and not overpowered by the marinade. If you are making steak, season it lightly with a few herbs, garlic and a drizzle of olive oil instead of lathering it with too muchmasala.
Balance The Temperatures
Prime meats like fillet or chicken breasts can be cooked on a higher temperature whereas for large cuts of meat like pork ribs or lamb, slow cooking on a lower temperature is advised as it helps to cook the meat all the way to the centre. This ensures the meat is not raw and also makes it tender and juicy. Dense meats can also be seared first on a high temperature to seal in all the flavours and then cooked at a low temperature.
Timing Is Important
The time that you take to cook meat is crucial. If you are cooking chicken breasts, make sure to not overcook it by keeping it on the heat for too long. This is quite opposite with red or denser meats as they need to be cooked for a longer period of time to make sure they are well done.
Choose The Right Vessels
Make sure to cook the right meat in the right vessel. A girdle is a good choice to grill a steak as it can retain more heat, hence cooking the meat well, but a much more delicate meat might not be apt. A light non-stick pan would be a better option for that.
Thaw It Well
If you directly put the meat from the freezer to the pan thinking it will thaw while it cooks, you're in for a disaster. No matter what meat you plan to cook, thaw it well before cooking. If the meat is even half frozen while adding it to the pan, the end result will be watery and the flavours might not be as intense.