- Master Chef's Cooking Class:
What do you think is the most important factor in turning out a delicious dish?
The two most important aspects are the amount of ingredients used and time. Obviously, if the calculations are off, the results will not be favorable. For instance, if you've added too much salt, the dish will be too salty; if not enough, it'll be too bland. As for time, it's important to know how long an item needs to be cooked to feature the right texture.
If a rock-solid radish is simmered in the same water with onions, the radish will more than likely still be hard inside. Since the dawn of time, the order of cooking has always been to put the slowest items to cook first and the fastest ones last.
But if possible, cooking all the ingredients at once will mix in all the flavors and perhaps give you the most delicious dish of all!
Now, let's talk about one of the very basics of cooking: simmering.
In particular, there are two types of styles: simmering and parsimmering.
Parsimmering involves slight dipping of the food in hot, simmering water. This preserves the taste and the ingredients of the vegetables and meat, and since it also preserves their color, presents a more appealing look as well. This method can be employed for vegetables used in salads and others.
As for simmering, the ingredients are placed in water that is just below the boiling point. The remaining soup can either be thrown away or recycled as part of a dish. This is a perfect method for noodles, potato, sausage, and other similar dishes.
To make a dish by this method, you'll have to be cognizant of a couple things:
1) Time is everything.
If any ingredient is being simmered too long, your dish won't taste good; and if it isn't simmered enough, then it would be undercooked. In turn, this will ruin the dish, so it's not enough for your instinct to take over. You MUST time it.
Obviously, temperature is an important factor for all methods of cooking. But temperature serves as an especially important factor for simmering. How you manage the temperature while simmering determines how chewable you want the food to be. If you desire your food to be softer, then simply let it cook all the way through. However, if you would like it tougher, you'll have to follow a few more steps. When you're at about 80 percent of the way through the simmering process, you'll have to add some cold water to cool down the pot. Before long, you'll have to re-simmer it.
Remember, simmering itself doesn't create a dish. It is merely a method. It is still up to you to grasp the right tools such as ingredients, spices, and flavors, and know how to use them. Please master this basic cooking skill to create the perfect dish you've always wanted!