The world is a melting pot of cultures, reflected in the diverse cuisines and cooking techniques that exist across the globe. Traditional cooking methods are an important part of our culinary heritage, and many of them have been passed down through generations. There has been a resurgence of restaurants switching to conventional techniques in their establishment, such as the usage of wood-fired pizzas despite the availability of indoor ovens that are quicker and heat more evenly. This is done for the sole purpose of offering an authentic experience and taste, leaving an everlasting impression on diners.
Today, we’d like to talk about some of these techniques, in order to help you find a place for them in your kitchen with the help of our commercial kitchen planners at HPG.
Grilling: For those of us who have had delicious meat and vegetables with those signature long marks on them, this technique will be familiar. Grilling involves cooking food over a metal grill placed on an open flame or hot charcoal, usually the latter. While cooking meats over a fire is as old as human history itself, the method of grilling as we know it today was roughly introduced in the 1500s. Grilling is a common cooking method in many cultures, and it is used to cook a wide variety of preparations. Grilling can be done indoors with the right ventilation, although traditionally done outdoors, and can be done on a variety of grills, including gas grills, charcoal grills, and wood-fired grills.
Smoking: If you’ve ever had a piece of bacon or sausage, chances are that it’s been smoked. One of the oldest forms of cooking, stemming from the paleolithic era. Smoking, also known as smoke-curing, is a technique that involves cooking food, mainly meat, over a high-smoking, low flame area. The smoke imparts a rich, smoky flavor to the food, and the low heat ensures that the food is cooked slowly and evenly. This has always been a traditional method for preserving meat as well, since the smoke dries out the meat and also imparts flavor to it.
Roasting: Roasting is a cooking method that involves cooking food in an oven or over an open flame. Roasting is commonly used for meats, but honestly works great even with vegetables. Roast hard vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, bell peppers and more are sure to be a hit at your commercial kitchen. The high heat of the oven or flame results in a crispy exterior and tender, juicy interior.
Steaming: Steaming is something we all know of, but who among us knows that it was invented in 3000 BCE? It involves cooking food indirectly over boiling water, with no contact with the water itself. This method is commonly used for vegetables, seafood, and dumplings. Steaming preserves the nutrients, color and flavor of the food, and it is regarded as a healthy cooking method.
Braising: Braising is a cooking method that involves cooking food in a liquid, usually water or broth. The braise takes multiple hours, but results in truly tender food rich with flavor. This method is commonly used for meats such as pork and lamb, although vegetables can be braised as well.
Stir-frying: Stir-frying is a cooking method that involves cooking food in a wok or frying pan over ridiculously high heat: up to 450F in some cases, to get the best “wok hei” or flavors from the wok itself. This method is most commonly used in Asian cuisine and is used to cook any number of foods.
Traditional methods of cooking are an important part of culinary heritage and are used to prepare meals with a touch of the nostalgic. By using simple and natural techniques to prepare food, traditional cooking methods highlight the natural flavors and textures of food, resulting in meals that are both satisfying and memorable. Our commercial kitchen consultants at HPG can help you conceptualize these methods into your kitchen, so talk to us today to find out more.