Choosing nutritious food and cooking methods are equally important for eating healthy. Apart from differences in the handling of ingredients, including the technique, time and process involved, using different cooking methods could also affect the taste and nutrition of the food.
There are many ways to cook, and there are different ways of cooking and unique tastes of food in different places. A brief introduction of the daily cooking methods of Hong Kong families is listed below.
• Low-fat cooking method.
• Place a dish holder inside the pot, fill the pot with water at a level slightly above the holder. When water is boiling, place the dish on the holder and cover the pot to start steaming until food is cooked. You can also put a dish of food inside the rice cooker when cooking rice. Freshness and nutrition will be preserved as long as the steam is not too strong.
• For steam cooking, add fragrant ingredients such as ginger, green onion, garlic, onion, dry mushroom or celery which can bring out the food’s original flavor. Avoid using salty ingredients.
Place the whole fish on a dish, put it in the pot when water is boiling and cover the pot. The timing required depends on the size of the fish, a fish weighing 10 – 12 tael takes 7 to 8 minutes for steaming. Do not remove the cover right after cooking time is up, wait for 1 to 2 minutes before removing the cover and taking the fish out from the pot.
Remove air bubbles on top of the egg custard before steam cooking. Cover it with a tinfoil before putting into the pot.
Mix 1 tablespoon of oatmeal and 1 tablespoon of water with the minced pork to make the pork texture more smooth and less solid.
• Low-fat cooking method.
• Put ingredients into a pot of boiling water until food is cooked.
• This method is suitable for cooking vegetables or easy cooked food such as fish, shrimp and thin slices of meat. Fast and healthy.
• Vegetables should not be put in boiling water for too long in order to preserve the nutrition.
• Baking will take the fat away from the ingredients so the food itself is not so oily. Simply put the prepared ingredients inside the oven for baking.
• Baked food can be crispy and tasty even when less oil is used. Timing is important to avoid food being overcooked, roasted or turned hard from drying.
Pinch the tinfoil gently before putting on the tray so that it will not easily stick to the food, then put the food on the tray.
• Use of less cooking oil as compared with Pan-Fry or Deep-Fry.
• Put in the food after the oil is hot, stir and flip the ingredients with spatula until the food is cooked. This usually applies to cooking of vegetable or sliced/chopped meat.
• Using less oil and fast stirring will keep the food fresh and nutritious. Take note of the oil temperature because strong flame will make the oil very heated and result in chemical reaction.
• Use of less cooking oil as compared with Deep-Fry.
• Put in the food when oil is hot, fry one side first then flip to the other side repeatedly until it is cooked.
• Using easy-clean wok for cooking can use
• less oil, be healthier and food also can be crispy.
To fry a whole fish:
Stew Cooking in Slightly Weak Flame
(Method 1) The fish should be dry and not wet, fry one side until it shows golden brown colour than fry the other side.
(Method 2) Message the fish surface with salt and rub the wok surface with ginger, then put in cooking oil. Start to fry the fish when oil is hot.
• Stir-Fry the ingredients before adding water for stew cooking, turn the flame to low level. This method is suitable for food requiring long cooking time to make it soft and tasteful, and thick-cut or dried ingredients such as beef sirloin and dry mushroom.
• High-fat cooking method.
• After seasoning the ingredients, add batter or bread crumbs to the ingredients before putting into boiling oil to deep-fry. The ingredients should be dry and not wet, otherwise hot oil will splash out.
• Deep-Fry can make food crispy but it is oily and carries high calorie. Suggest using kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil before eating.
• When cooking oil heated to a high temperature, it will have chemical reaction. Do not use deep-fried oil repeatedly.
Stew Cooking in Weak Flame
• Put the ingredients in a small steam pot, then fill with water according to need. Place the small pot into a larger pot, with water level filled up to half way of the small pot so that the boiling water of the large pot would not overflow into the small pot. With water boiling for a long period, the water level in the large pot has to be checked from time to time and refilled if required. The choice of flame level is subject to the kind of ingredients being used.
• This cooking method, dissolves the nutrition and tastes from the ingredients into the water to become a juicy soup with original flavor, without the need for adding seasoning. If the ingredients contain more meat, or if ready made soup is used instead of water, then it would become oily and salty. The nutrition from vegetables will be vaporized if cooked for a long time.