A revolutionary way to cook food has been broiling around in high-end restaurants since the late 1970s but due to refinements in the technique and along with advances in home electronics, this method is now within the reach of your own home kitchen. Perfected in 1974 by Chef George Pralus for the Michelin 3 star Restaurant Troisgros, I’m talking about the sous-vide method of cooking. Sous-vide, which not surprisingly in the world of culinary excellence, is French and literally means “under vacuum” has been hailed as a healthy way to cook food while preserving its flavors and nutrients.
I know the method may sound daunting but, just like learning to pronounce it, once you’ve perfected it, the rest is easy. By the way, the right way to pronounce it is “su-veed.” You’re welcome. Now back to the cooking technique! If you’re a home cook and don’t feel anywhere close to having the talent of a master chef or miraculously having a tiny culinary genius pull your hair to cooking perfection, then don’t worry because there’s home equipment now that can help you cook healthy and extremely flavorful appetizers, entrees and sauces in no time at all.
Just like the literal name suggests, one of the key elements to sous-vide cooking lies in the capability to vacuum seal your food of choice, then immerse it in a hot water bath for an extended period of time. While this technique may not seem new or revolutionary since humans have been using immersion techniques to cook food since the dawn of time, the breakthrough lies in 2 key elements that utilize our advancements as a human race. First of all, the use of food-friendly plastics that are vacuum-sealed ensures that the flavors are packed in and stay with the food instead of mixing with the water. This also ensures that the only outside influence on your food is heat and nothing else. There’s no worry that the water would wash away the flavor or dilute the food. This is what differentiates the technique from normal conventional boiling.
The second factor, which really utilizes the modernity of today’s innovations in electronics, is the temperature of the water bath. In order to get the masterful flavor of sous-vide cooking, it is extremely critical that the temperature remains maniacally constant. Gadgets that electronically control the water temperature and circulate it evenly in any cooking vessel are for sale with reasonable prices when you factor in the health benefits you get out of sous-vide cooking. These cooking gadgets can provide information straight to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Lazy cooks of the world, unite!
Sous-vide cooking has several health benefits attributed to it. Here are a few of them.
Nutrients Stay with Your Food
Unlike conventional boiling or steaming, sous-vide cooking utilizes the innovations in vacuum sealing to make sure what you’re cooking isn’t washed down by the water. Aside from preserving the flavor, this also ensures that the nutrients in the food you’re cooking are kept inside. This is especially important when you’re pursuing a nutritional plan that is extremely dependent on what you ingest. With sous-vide cooking you don’t need to factor in a percentage of loss on the nutrients as you purchase them when you’re counting calories and intake.
Cooking is Healthier With Less Oil
The sous-vide method is much healthier than frying your food because less oil is used. If you opt not to place any oil in the vacuum-sealed bag, your food will cook naturally in its own oils. Sous-vide cooking possesses similar benefits as boiling and steaming but we can’t help but emphasize on the much better result that this cooking technique delivers.
Undercooking food especially poultry has been scientifically proven to cause harmful effects on our bodies. Salmonella and avian flu are just among some of the dangers we deal with at least 3 times a day every single time we eat. One of the wonderful effects of cooking sous-vide is food is cooked at a constant temperature for a longer amount of time. This means that the danger of undercooking food is no longer a factor and because of the vacuum seal and the constant water temperature, overcooking and ruining your food isn’t bound to happen as well.
Lesser Kitchen Accidents
I just had to include this one because of how clumsy I sometimes am. In my rush to get things done perfectly and on time especially when it comes to grilling or sautéing or frying, I have oftentimes cut myself or burned myself on a hot surface. In my opinion, that kind of situation is pretty unhealthy. Sous-vide cooking requires less interaction while the food is actually cooking. After it has been cut right and seasoned in the vacuum bag, the rest of the steps are to sit back and wait for the timer to finish, especially if you have that Bluetooth gadget.
Overall, sous-vide has some downsides to it like expensive elements when starting out, but the convenience, flavor, tenderness and health benefits far outweigh the downsides though and adopters to this method will surely find it extremely rewarding.