Many people are often surprised by the fact that in the restaurants and cafes the dishes prepared from meat, fish and other products come out so tender and juicy – the flavour cannot be compared with that of homemade dishes, even if they were cooked by a classic recipe.
The truth is that restaurateurs often test new technologies that provide each dish with a unique and unforgettable taste. One of these secrets is the sous vide cooking method that has now become available for use at home.
Sous-vide technology, like most other gastronomic delights, was brought from France. Literally, the term is translated as “in the vacuum” and accurately describes this cooking method.
This culinary vacuum is used in the following way: they wrap the product into a special plastic bag; in theory the air should be removed completely with the help of a vacuum sealer. Afterward, the “packed” meat, fish or vegetables should be placed into sous-vide machine. On the outside, it looks like a professional oven, but, in fact, it is a water oven: inside, the products are stewing in the water at low temperatures for a long time.
What’s the secret? The main advantages of the vacuum in gastronomy are:
- Low temperatures (according to sous-vide method, the meats and fish are usually cooked at temperatures of up to 70 °C) do not damage the cell membranes, which will turn any toughest meat into a masterpiece.
- Even pressure throughout the entire surface of the product ensures that the dish will not get burnt or dry out; it will cook throughout.
- All-purpose. The method is suitable for creation of culinary masterpieces from meat and fish, for preparation of desserts and vegetables.
- Healthy. In the process of preparation all harmful microorganisms get destroyed and the product itself does not undergo frying in a large amount of oil. Health benefits of this cooking method are comparable to those of steaming or boiling, while the flavour you get is many times richer.
Restaurant Kitchen at Your Home
Despite a seemingly complex process, sous-vide cooking at home is possible. Moreover, some housewives have been using a similar method for a few years: instead of special bags, they have been using plastic wraps or ordinary zip lock bags. However, this equipment is becoming more affordable every year. So, according to DiligentChef.com, a good vacuum sealer for sous-vide can be bought for the same price as a toaster.
You can create sous-vide cooking conditions at home without buying a special machine. You’ll need to use:
- Plastic bags, plastic wraps. It is not about vacuuming: the main goal is to avoid any contact with water; otherwise, it will be just boiling.
- Zip lock bags. They will make your dish closer to sous-vide at home. With the help of a zip lock bag, the excess air can be easily removed, and so, any contact with water will be avoided.
- A large pot or any other container. They are used instead of the standard vacuum. It works only if the ingredients are properly “packed”.
- Slow-cooker. Some housewives are trying to create sous-vide at home by using a slow-cooker. To do this, “packed” ingredients of the dish are placed into a bowl of a slow-cooker at a set temperature. But not all models support manual temperature setting down to one degree.
- Thermometer. Without professional equipment, it is necessary to regularly check the temperature in order to fully match the sous-vide technology in the home environment. In the beginning, you need to check the degrees every few minutes, and eventually, you can start checking it only once every ten to fifteen minutes.
What Can I Cook?
Provided that you succeed in cooking by sous-vide method without using professional kitchen appliances, you will be able to create unusual culinary masterpieces from usual ingredients – without any extra expenses. Just take a look at this ideas for sous vide from Purewow.
Experienced chefs definitely recommend trying sous-vide at home with the following dishes:
- Steaks. People are mistaken when they think that such a process is identical to boiling. Try such meat once – and you will never want to cook it any other way. For a golden crust, you can throw your steak for thirty seconds on the grill or use a frying-pan or place it into a red-hot oven for a couple of minutes.
- Fish. Fish that is rich in fat is ideal for cooking in vacuum bags. Even the capricious catfish does not lose its original shape; it becomes juicy and has a delicate taste.
- Dessert. Have you ever had your pudding or cheesecake burnt? This method will allow you to successfully make any exquisite mousse cake that requires an extremely delicate approach.
Remember that at home, sous-vide method will work only if you follow all the recommendations and aspects of this technology. Even if the smallest drop of water somehow gets in – your fish will no longer be an exquisite masterpiece and will come out as a regular boiled or steamed dish.
If you are fond of healthy, delicious gourmet food, it’s time to think about purchasing special equipment for sous-vide. It will expand the culinary horizons of home cooking, and every day you will be amazed by how much you can make at home using your usual products!