Do you prefer slow cooking?

Cooking at low temperature over a long time will change a tough cut of meat into a tender soft meat.

Slow cooked meat curry

Slow cooking was trending since the beginning of time. Ancient people prepared their food using plants, herbs, etc. Recent studies reveals that cooking of food increases the bio availability of some nutrients. So, this will become a contradiction to the mindsets of “eating fresh and raw is the best”.

In this method of cooking, the heat is kept low. Muscle fibres cooks from 60°C. As the temperature rises more, moisture is lost. Food is generally cooked for a long period of time, immersed in liquid. Slow cooking is mostly used in tough cuts of meat, root vegetables and pulses.

Long and low temperature cooking converts the chewy collagen in tough meat to velvety gelatine. This reaction takes place between 65°C and 70°C. In the cooking liquid, gelatine breaks down and creates a rich and flavourful gravy. After the meat gets completely cooled in its liquid, you can see that it has become extra soft.

White, chewy connective tissue is made of collagen and elastira proteins. Collagen begins to denature at 52°C (126°F), then
contracts and shrinks at 58°C (136°F), squeezing moisture out. At around 68°C (154°F), the collagen breaks apart and reforms into soft gelatine, giving succulence to the dehydrating meat. However, elastin does not break down at normal cooking temperatures, so remains as inedible gristle.

Slow cookers are heated from the bottom, so can burn if the pot is dry. Add enough liquid just to cover the food, but not too much as the sauce will be too thin and lack flavour. Also, put the lid on to stop the heat and steam escaping. Thus the inside temperature becomes steady and prevents the liquid evaporating away. Heat spreads across the bottom and sides of the inner pot. Heat then passes into the cooking liquid and directly into food resting on the base. Do not open the lid in between, as it may cause steam and heat to escape.

Cooking meat in a liquid at lower heat, reduces the number of cell-damaging compounds known as AGEs ( Advanced glycation end products) that are produced in the meats. That is why slow cooking has become the safest means of cooking.

So, next time when you go for cooking a meat, turn up the flame and slow cook your dish.

Is it better to choose Organic Meat ?

Organic meat is sold as a tastier, healthier,
and more ethical alternative, but what are the facts ?

Science shows us that animals that have had enough exercise, have been well fed, and spared undue stress produce meat that has lots of well-textured muscle and
flavoursome fat. Organic-status meat should help guarantee all of these things, however, several other factors come into play that mean it’s important to check the provenance of your meat (mentioned below).

What we know about organic meat

Buying organic status means you can be happy that a key set of standards has been met in the rearing of an animal.

• Organically reared animals have been well looked after, with outdoor access and a stress-free existence, so tend to be healthier overall and should have good-quality meat.
• Animals eat organic feed with no artificial additives, however, this has little bearing on the quality of meat.
• Animals reared organically aren’t given antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones, although this is already the case for all cattle in many countries.

• Organic farmers are encouraged to look after the environment the animals are reared in.
• Organic stock are more likely to have been slaughtered humanely, which produces better-quality meat. If an animal is stressed pre-slaughter, adrenaline levels surge,
burning energy and producing dry, firm, dark meat.

Factors beyond organic :

There are some factors beyond whether or not an animal has been raised organically that can affect meat quality. Being fed grass or grain has more impact on flavour. Grain-fed muscle has more flavourful fat, is less acidic, and contains pleasant-tasting substances called lactones, while grass-fed cows’ meat can have a bitter, grassy flavour.
If meat isn’t stored or transported with care, this affects quality, High demand for organic means it can travel far and be stored for a long time. A non-organic farm rearing humanely treated animals slaughtered and sold locally is likely to be superior.

Cooking tips

Hi all ! Here I am sharing with you some of the tips you can definitely try in your kitchen while cooking.

For all preparations of pork, mix pork pieces well with salt and keep aside for 20 minutes. Then wash and make any dish required. The fatty skin of the pork will be soft like butter when cooked! Try!

While frying fish add little lime juice or vinegar with the chilly paste used for frying; It will taste better. Serve with fried onions.

When preparing sambar use asafoetida without roasting. Sambar tastes better without tamarind and with more tomatoes.

While preparing pickles, keep them in the sun for a day or two and mix them well intermittently. This helps the pickle to last longer.

Plum cake tastes better if a table spoon full of milk powder (for 6 eggs) is mixed with the flour.

To make palappam soft, and more tasty, use roasted rice flour and little flour also. The correct proportion is 3 is to 1. (For 3 cups of rice flour add 1 cup of flour )

More tips are on the way. Happy cooking.