Slow it down

Slow it down

Slow cooking has become the latest fad

Slow cooking is a technique that dates back decades and is now becoming a revolution in India. Although a conventional style of cooking, it has now become the latest trend for the food connoisseurs across the country.

To compliment slow cooking, one of the best vessels to cook in are those made of cast iron, which not only keeps the nutritional value of the food intact but also looks beautiful as they come in the vibrant colours. Moreover, this method also decreases the possibility of burning the food or letting it stick to the bottom of the pan. Slow cooking helps the ingredients blend well intensifying their flavours. For instance, if you are cooking meat, the gelatin is well extracted from the meat and the bones, giving us a thick concentrated sauce. This process also keeps the distinct flavours of spices like clove, cinnamon, and star anise intact.

It is important to choose the right equipment for slow cooking. The enamelled cast iron casseroles are ideal. Good conductors of heat, these casseroles are thick walled, flameproof and hold the heat extremely well. Keeping the food moist and tender, the material is ideal for a stylish presentation and keeps additional portions warm until ready to serve.

The best part about slow cooking is that it requires the minimum amount of attention. Once the food is on the stove, it can be left to cook in its own juices. You don’t have to keep stirring it to make sure that it does not stick to the bottom. Here are a few tricks to keep in mind while slow cooking:

  • Ensure that you sauté the meat and the vegetables before you let them cook to maximise the flavour.
  • Add less salt to the dish in the beginning, as salty flavours get concentrated while slow cooking.
  • Don’t forget to crush or break hard spices before adding them to the cooking pot as they release their flavours slowly.
  • Ingredients like fish and seafood that get cooked comparatively faster should always be added towards the end of the cooking time.
  • It is important to add hot water for cooking to prevent the cooking temperature from going down.

(The author is country head, Le Creuset, Indian and SAARC)