You should eat foods that provide nutrition to your body. Some foods can be eaten raw but certain foods are cooked to remove bacteria which can cause food-borne illnesses. In India, different regions and religions have different methods of cooking food. However, in today’s time, in order to make food more tempting and tasty, the nutritional value is compromised. 

Before you learn about the best way to cook your food in order to preserve it's nutritional value, you should understand the wrong ways and methods of cooking used today. 

Overheating cooking oils, frying your food, using the wrong cookware, cooking vegetables for too long, peeling off the thick layer of vegetables, etc., are some of the examples of wrong cooking methods and practices. It is important to cook food the right way and with the right techniques. 

Best Cooking Methods to Preserve Nutrients

1. Dry Heat Cooking: Here, the heat is provided to the food by above and below (especially in an oven). The temperature during this process is much higher than normal and this adds flavor to the food. 

The different techniques under this include:
  1. Broiling: Broiling is cooking by exposing the food to direct radiant heat, either on a grill or below a gas burner or an electric coil.  

  2. Grilling: Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above, below, or from the side. Grilling is generally used for cooking meat and vegetables quickly.

  3. Roasting: In this method, dry heat is used to cook food evenly on all sides, with temperatures of at least 150 °C (300 °F) from an open flame. Roasting works best for cooking a whole chicken, turkey, and leaner cuts of lamb, pork, and beef. 

  4. Baking: Baking is a method of preparing food that uses dry heat, typically in an oven. Different types of food such as meat, sausages, bread, cheese, etc., can be baked.

  5. Sauteing: Sauteing is a method of cooking that uses only a small amount of oil or fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat.

2. Moist Heat Cooking: Here, the food is cooked by using liquid or steam. Steaming, poaching, simmering, and boiling are common methods under this type of cooking.

  1. Steaming: Steaming is a method of cooking using steam. This is often done with a food steamer. Steaming is a delicate process and so it is ideal for baby carrots, green beans, cubed zucchini, and delicate greens. 

  2. Poaching: Poaching is a moist heat method of cooking by submerging food in some kind of a liquid and heating at a low temperature. It is best used to cook delicate proteins such as fish, chicken, and eggs, as well as some fruits and vegetables.

  3. Simmering: In this technique, foods are cooked (simmered) in hot liquids. The temperature is kept just below the boiling point of water and above the poaching temperature. This method is gentler than boiling. Tough meat, soups, and stew are cooked by simmering.

  4. Boiling: Boiling is cooking food at a relatively high temperature, 100 °C, in water or some other water-based liquid. This is the most common method of cooking and is also the simplest. This method is used to cook hard and tough foods like beans, pasta, and some vegetables.

3. Combination of Dry and Moist Heat: The two types of techniques under this method are:

  1. Braising: A combination-cooking method that uses both wet and dry heat. The food is first sautéed or seared at a high temperature and then cooked in a covered pot at a lower temperature.

  2. Stewing: Stewing is a combination cooking method that uses small, uniform pieces of meat that are totally immersed in a liquid and slowly simmered.

Cooking Some Foods

  • To cook rice, use simmering as the primary cooking method or you can also cook them in a microwave. 

  • When it comes to cooking legumes or pulses, it is always a good idea to boil them without soaking.

  •  To cook vegetables, use stewing, sautéing, or steaming methods. 

In addition to the above cooking methods, it is also necessary to use the right cookware while preparing and eating your food, to make sure it is healthy, nutritious, and tasty.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.