Have you ever thought why we use herbs in cooking? That origano mix that we spread on pizza or coriander leaves that we spread on top of biriyani are all herbs. But why we put it?
Herbs bring a dish to life with their fragrance. We perceive flavour mostly through smell, which herbs deliver via aromatic essential oils present in them. Actually these essential oils are meant to repel animals that would eat the plant and are toxic in large quantities, that is why we use herbs in small amounts.
Cooking with oil allows herb flavours to infuse a dish far better than without using them. There are hardy herbs as well as tender herbs. Rosemary, thyme, sage and bay leaves comes under hardy herbs. Mint, basil, parsley, coriander leaves, etc. comes under tender herbs. These hardy and tender herbs are used in different ways. Hardy herbs release flavour molecules more slowly than tender herbs.
Hardy herbs have robust leaves. Hardy herbs must be added early in cooking to allow the leaves to soften and release oils. Whereas tender herbs disperse flavour molecules as soon as they are picked or chopped. So, tender herbs are added at the end of cooking to garnish the dish and keep the flavours intact.
Hardy herbs tend to have more powerful flavours. The resilient structure of their leaves and the potential substances that make up their oils, means that are best added early in cooking to enhance the flavour of the preparing dish. The flavours of delicate herbs evaporate quickly, so they are added in the last stage of cooking or sprinkled as a garnish. If they are added early, the flavour will get destroyed by the heat of the pan.
Leaves to be added in the early stages of cooking are bay leaves, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. And leaves which needs to be added at the end of cooking are basil, coriander, mint, parsley, etc. I had discussed only a few herbs which are commonly used in our cooking nowadays. There are lots of herbs, which are used as fresh and dried for enhancing the flavour of our dish. It will be shared with you all as soon as possible in this page. Follow this page for more updates.