When you are tired from work, school or other activities, you probably don't have enough time or energy to work in the kitchen and cook complicated dishes!
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Because of this, you should consider learning basic cooking techniques that could help you prepare and cook your meals faster than before.
Unfortunately, not all techniques can speed up food preparation, especially braising, steaming, and reverse searing. Unlike other basic cooking techniques, these take longer and are more difficult to work with. For example, braising meat in red wine can require reduction and thorough cooking in the oven, making it extremely time-consuming.
However, the key to preparing and cooking meals faster is not only in the techniques, but also in how the heat is transferred into the food, e.g how meat is heated in a pan. When the heat is delivered evenly, it can cook your food much faster and cut your cooking time in half.
Without further ado, here are the most efficient cooking techniques you need to know to speed up your meal prep for stress-free mealtime.
Sautéing is one of the most popular cooking methods used in many cultures around the world. It's usually made with just two kitchen utensils: a frying pan and some oil. It can be used to quickly and easily cook most ingredients such as seafood, meat, vegetables and poultry.
Also, sautéing uses direct heat to perfectly brown and sear various ingredients. This browning reaction (caramelization) is an indication that complex flavors and aromas are being released in the food. Not only will your meals be prepared faster, but you'll also get a more enjoyable dining experience.
Sautéing can also be a first step in braising or steaming meat. In this process, the mirepoix (a mixture of three different vegetables, usually onions, carrots, and celery) is sautéed before the other ingredients. But for the most part, it's a great way to cut down on cooking time, especially when you're preparing meals for family and guests.
Don't know what to fry? You could start with ingredients that are quick to cook, like seafood and vegetables. You can also use this technique to prepare your favorite steaks in just a few minutes.
If you prefer crispy and partially cooked vegetables, try blanching them. Blanching is a cooking technique in which an ingredient (usually a vegetable) is immersed in boiling water for a few minutes and then shocked in ice water to stop the cooking process. However, if you want to eat the veggies right after blanching, you can skip the shocking process.
If you're looking for foods to blanch, you can opt for green beans, asparagus, and broccoli, all of which are flavorful and delicious even when partially cooked. For extra flavor, you can season them with salt and pepper after blanching, or season the water with salt beforehand.
Grilling is one of the easiest and quickest ways to prepare food. It uses both direct and indirect heat to thoroughly cook all types of meat and vegetables in minutes.
However, preparing a grill can be time-consuming, especially if it's a charcoal grill. Luckily there is easy ways to do this without too much effort. You can do this with a grill pan on your stove, a gas grill, or an electric grill.
Also, most barbecue ingredients don't require a lot of spices or other ingredients to enhance their flavor. Usually salt, pepper and good quality olive oil are enough to improve the texture, juiciness and properties of the food.
For even faster meal preparation when grilling, choose ingredients that can be prepared in minutes. A good choice would be chicken, seafood, or vegetables. Red meat can also cook faster on a grill, but be careful not to cut too thick so you can thoroughly cook the inside.
Frying and searing are similar in many cases, but the former is much faster when it comes to cooking food. Unlike sautéing, stir-fry uses intense heat and constant agitation (stirring and turning) to cook food as quickly as possible. Usually, stir frying uses a rounded wok to gently shake the food directly on high heat.
It is also worth noting that butter is not applicable in frying. Unlike other oils, butter burns easily due to the rapidly caramelizing milk solids. But if you want to add the richness and creaminess of butter to your dishes, you can use clarified butter instead. Clarified butter has no milk solids and can withstand higher temperatures without burning like other oils.
Frying seems to take longer than other cooking techniques, but it's worth mentioning because it's fairly simple. Roasting is usually done in an oven under controlled temperature conditions. It uses heat circulation to cook food evenly without the need for constant stirring of food.
When frying, you only have to do two things: prepare the main ingredients (meat or vegetables) and season with salt and pepper or a good quality oil. Depending on the recipe, you can then place it in a preheated oven and let it cook.
Roasting usually takes 15 minutes or more depending on the type and size of the meat or vegetables you are preparing. However, it allows you to put in minimal effort and do what you need to do while the food cooks in the oven.
Need an idea what to fry? You can opt for asparagus seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. Or you could chop up a quarter of a chicken leg and make the same preparations you made for your vegetables.
Quick and easy meal prep is essential for busy people who may not have the time to prepare many dishes for a group or for themselves. If that's the case for you, consider the five cooking techniques discussed above. With it you can prepare your meals in just a few minutes. However, you should also consider other factors that can affect and prolong the cooking process, such as: B. the amount of ingredients and the size of the dish you want to prepare.