10 #ways to #cook your #food the right way

As much as it is essential to shop for the right foods to stay healthy, it is also important that you cook them the right way for the same reason. However, you can ruin all your efforts even after choosing the healthiest foods present in the market if you lose their nutrients or allow them to perish with your cooking style. This is the reason you need to pay much attention to your cooking – selecting the right temperatures for specific foods, choosing a healthy way of cooking, storing and reusing them the right way.

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Like flavours and condiments that you add to enhance the taste of your food, the temperature at which you cook is crucial too. ‘Indian cooking is mostly done on the flame rather than the oven. Hence, cooking on a slow or medium flame is important for nutrient retention,’ points out Bhavi Mody, Vrudhi Homeopathy and Wellness Centre, Mumbai. The ideal way to cook right and be healthy is to use less oil, cook slow, grill or bake your food to retain all its nutrients and goodness. Here are few ways to cook the right way

1. Cook on sim: If you aren’t using an oven, make sure that your food is in a deep pan or kadhai and is on sim or medium flame. ‘Cooking at high temperatures or on high flame robs the nutrients out of the food and can also be harmful to your health in many ways,’ says Dr Bhavi.

2. Ensure food is cooked thoroughly: More than the temperature, you should be careful about the rawness in your food. Remember, bacteria that could cause food poisoning can be killed only when the food is cooked thoroughly. However, that doesn’t mean simply turning the flame high. ‘Instead at a slow flame, allow your food to cook with a lid over the pan or kadhai. Do not forget to stir the food often to ensure that the food is cooked completely and isn’t raw,’ says Dr Bhavi.

3. Use a pressure cooker: ‘Using a pressure cooker to cook pulses and lentils is a good idea, as it would be fast and preserve the nutrients too. Alternatively, you can also prepare your vegetables in the pressure cooker, but remember not to keep it over the flame for too long. Probably one or two whistles would be enough for your vegetables,’ says Dr Bhavi. The bonus is – you might need less oil to sauté it later, which is a great way to aid weight loss and healthy eating.

4. Don’t overheat the oil: Most Indian dishes would need a tadka or seasoning for taste. While preparing for the seasoning, make sure you don’t heat the oil till it reaches its smoke point. ‘Heat the oil for few minutes and then add the spices for seasoning like cumin, mustard, fennel, fenugreek, etc. Remember, to put the flame off once the seeds crackle. Don’t keep them for too long. With vegetable preparation, start adding them once the seeds stop fluttering. Keeping them long enough over the flame would make them lose their flavour and essence,’ says Dr Bhavi.

5. Be careful with frozen foods: With frozen foods, always make it a point to bring them down to room temperature before you start cooking them. Sudden changes in temperature could lead to bacterial contamination.

6. Be generous with spices and condiments: ‘Indian spices and condiments have immense health benefits and are part of the dishes for a reason. However, ‘when you use them, follow the same method of cooking, that is, on a low flame with the lid covered,’ advices Bhavi.

7. Cook non-vegetarian food thoroughly: While cooking meat, poultry or fish, make sure that your food is well cooked and not raw. One way to know if your non-vegetarian food is cooked to the core is to check its texture — which should be soft and its colour – the meat or fish should not look pink in any way. When it comes to eggs, cook both, the white and the yellow thoroughly.

8. Use the right temperature in the oven: Most ovens or microwaves come with instructions for proper temperatures for specific dishes. It is better to stick to the guidelines. ‘For Indian dishes like the baked samosa or pakoras, a temperature of 300 to 350 degrees works good,’ informs Dr Bhavi.

9. Limit microwave cooking: While many people would swear on microwave cooking, remember it also exposes your food to a lot of radiations that can be harmful to your health. So limit your cooking in a microwave as much as you can.

10. Reheat your food the correct way: Once your food is cooked and cooled, refrigerate it if you have to reuse it to avoid bacterial contamination. Reheat the food to a temperature so that you make it smoking hot to ensure that any remnant bacterial build up is eliminated.

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