LEARN HOW TO COOK

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Monday, January 26, 2009

How To Fillet a Fish

Cooking basics...

How To Fillet a Fish

Here's How:

1. Hold the fish on the cutting board with the back of the fish toward you. Using a thin flexible knife, cut through the back of the head to the backbone and turn the blade so it's running along the backbone.
2. Hold the fish by placing your non cutting hand over the head. Push the knife along the backbone to the tail using a sawing motion.
3. Pull the fillet away from the body of the fish while making small careful cuts with the knife to retain as much flesh as possible.
4. Using small strokes of the knife, remove the fillet from the rib cage, feeling your way around the bones with the knife.
5. Turn the fish over and repeat steps 1 through 3 on the other side.
6. Using a flat bladed knife, slice a bit of the skin away from the flesh. Cut a hole in the loosened skin so you can fit your finger through it.
7. Hold the skin through the finger hole and pull the skin away from the fillet, using the knife to hold the fillet down. Hold the knife at a 45 degree angle.
8. With your fingers and a clean tweezer, feel for any pin bones and pull them out of the fillets.

Tips:

1. Make sure your knives are very sharp or you will rip and tear the flesh.
2. Go slowly at first. It takes practice to become an expert at filleting a fish.
3. Removing the fillet from the rib cage is the most difficult step. Be very careful and go slowly.

What You Need:

* whole fish
* sharp thin bladed knife
* sharp flat bladed knife
* cutting board
* tweezers
Cooking basics....
how-to-use-gelatin.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Drying

Cooking basics...

Drying
is a method of food preservation that works by removing water from the food, which prevents the growth of microorganisms and decay. Drying food using the sun and wind to prevent spoilage has been known since ancient times. Water is usually removed by evaporation (air drying, sun drying, smoking or wind drying) but, in the case of freeze-drying, food is first frozen and then water is removed by sublimation.

Bacteria and micro-organisms within the food and from the air need the water in the food to grow. Drying effectively prevents them from surviving in the food. It also creates a hard outer-layer, helping to stop micro-organisms from entering the food.

Food types

Many different foods are prepared by dehydration. Good examples are meat such as prosciutto (a.k.a. Parma ham), bresaola, and beef jerky. Fruits change character completely when dried: the plum becomes a prune, the grape a raisin; figs and dates are also transformed. Drying is rarely used for vegetables as it removes the vitamins within them, however bulbs, such as garlic and onion, are often dried. Also chilis are frequently dried.

For centuries, much of the European diet depended on dried cod, known as salt cod or bacalhau (with salt) or stockfish (without). It formed the main protein source for the slaves on the West Indian plantations and was a major economic force within the triangular trade.

Dried and salted reindeer meat is a traditional Sami food. First the meat is soaked / pickled in saltwater for a couple of days to guarantee the conservation of the meat. Then the meat is dried in the sun in spring when the air temperature is below zero. The dried meat can be further processed to make soup.
Dried shark known as Hákarl is a delicacy in Iceland.

Cooking Methods

There are many different methods for drying, each with their own advantages for particular applications; these include:

* Bed dryers
* Fluidized bed dryers
* Shelf dryers
* Spray drying
* Sunlight
* Commercial food dehydrators
* Household oven
Cooking basics....hot-salt-frying

English cuisine

Cooking basics....

English cuisine
is shaped by the country's temperate climate, its island geography and its history. The latter includes interactions with other European countries, and the importing of ingredients and ideas from places such as North America, China and India during the time of the British Empire and as a result of post-war immigration.

As a result, traditional foods have ancient origins, such as bread and cheese, roasted and stewed meats, meat and game pies, and freshwater and saltwater fish. Other customary dishes, such as fish and chips, which are eaten by tradition in newspaper with salt and malt vinegar, and bangers and mash, which are sausages with mashed potatoes, onions and gravy, are now matched in popularity by spices and curries from India and Bangladesh, and stir-fries based on Chinese and Thai cooking. French cuisine and Italian cuisine, once considered alien, are also now admired and copied. Britain was also quick to adopt the innovation of fast food from the United States, and continues to absorb culinary ideas from all over the world.

These trends are exemplified by dishes such as spaghetti bolognese which has been a common family meal in Britain since at least the 1960s. More recently there has been a huge growth in the popularity of dishes influenced by the Indian Sub-Continent (a throwback to the times of British influence in the region), though modified to suit British tastes. The British curry, essentially a holdover from the days of the British Raj (and subsequently embellished by
immigrants), may be hotter and spicier than the traditional North Indian variety.

The Sunday roast is perhaps the most common feature of English cooking. The Sunday dinner traditionally includes roast potatoes accompanying a roasted joint of meat such as roast beef, lamb, or a roast chicken and assorted vegetables, themselves generally roasted or boiled and served with a gravy. Yorkshire pudding and gravy is now often served as an accompaniment to the main course, although it was originally served first as a "filler". The practice of serving a roast dinner on a Sunday is related to the elaborate preparation required, and to the housewife's practice of performing the weekly wash on a Monday, when the cold remains of the roast made an easily-assembled meal. An elaborate version of roast dinner is eaten at Christmas, with almost every detail rigidly specified by tradition. Since its widespread availability after World War II the most popular Christmas roast is turkey, superseding the goose of Dickens's time[1]. Game meats such as venison which were traditionally the domain of higher classes are occasionally also eaten by those wishing to experiment with a wider choice of foods, due to their promotion by celebrity chefs, such as Antony Worrall Thompson, although it is not usually eaten regularly in the average household.

Fish and chips.

England is famous for its fish and chips and has a huge number of restaurants and take-away shops that cater to it. It is possibly the most popular and identifiable English dish, and is traditionally served with a side order of mushy peas with salt and vinegar as condiments. Foods such as scampi, a deep fried breaded prawn dish, are also on offered as well as fishcakes or a number of other combinations. The advent of take-away foods during the industrial revolution led to foods such as fish and chips, mushy peas, and steak and kidney pie with mashed potato (pie and mash). These were the staples of the UK take-away business, and indeed of English diets however, like many national dishes, quality can vary drastically from the commercial or mass produced product to an authentic or homemade variety using more discerning ingredients. However, through ethnic influences, particularly those of Indian and Chinese, have given rise to the establishment and availability of ethnic take-away foods.[2] From the 1980s onwards, a new variant on curry, the balti, began to become popular in the West Midlands, and by the mid 1990s was commonplace in Indian restaurants and restaurants over the country. Kebab houses, pizza restaurants and American-style fried chicken restaurants aiming at late night snacking have also become popular in urban areas.

The full English breakfast (also known as "cooked breakfast" or "fried breakfast") also remains a culinary classic. Its contents vary, but it normally consists of a combination of :
  • bacon,
  • grilled tomatoes,
  • fried bread,
  • black pudding,
  • baked beans,
  • fried mushrooms,
  • sausages,
  • eggs (fried, scrambled or boiled) and other variations on these ingredients and others.

Hash browns are sometimes added, though this is not considered traditional. In general, the domestic breakfast is less elaborate, and most "full English" breakfasts are bought in cafés since having being replaced by cereals. A young child's breakfast might include "soldiers", finger-shaped pieces of bread to be dipped in the yolk of a lightly boiled egg.

English sausages are distinctive in that they are usually made from fresh meats and rarely smoked, dried, or strongly flavoured. Following the post World War II period, sausages tended to contain low-quality meat, fat, and rusk. However, there has been a backlash in recent years, with most butchers and supermarkets now selling premium varieties. Pork and beef are by far the most common bases, although gourmet varieties may contain venison, wild boar, etc. There are particularly famous regional varieties, such as the herbal Lincolnshire, and the long, curled Cumberland with many butchers offering their own individual recipes and variations often handed down through generations, but are generally not made from cured meats such as Italian selections or available in such a variety as found in Germany. Most larger supermarkets in England will stock at least a dozen types of English sausage: not only Cumberland and Lincolnshire but often varieties such as :
  • Pork and Apple;
  • Pork and Herb;
  • Beef and Stilton;
  • Pork and Mozarella;
  • Sundried Tomatoes and so forth.

There are estimated to be around 400 sausage varieties in the United Kingdom Sausages form the basis of cooking dishes such as toad in the hole where they are combined with a batter similar to a yorkshire pudding and baked in the oven, this can be served with an onion gravy made by frying sliced onions for anywhere over an hour on a low heat then mixed with a stock, wine or ale then reduced to form a sauce or gravy used in bangers and mash. A variant of the sausage is the black pudding, strongly associated with Lancashire similar to the French boudin noir or the Spanish Morcilla. It is made from pig's blood, in line with the adage that "you can eat every part of a pig except its squeal". Pig's trotters, tripe and brawn are also traditional fare in the North.

Pies, originally a way to preserve food, have long been a mainstay of English cooking. Meat pies are generally enclosed with fillings such as chicken and mushroom or steak and kidney (originally steak and oyster). Pork pies are almost always eaten cold, with the Melton Mowbray pork pie being the archetype. Open pies or flans are generally served for dessert with fillings of seasonal fruit. Quiches and savoury flans are eaten, but not considered indigenous. The Cornish pasty is a much-loved regional dish, constructed from pastry is folded into a semi-circular purse, like a calzone. Another kind of pie is topped with mashed potato—for instance, shepherd's pie, with lamb, cottage pie, with beef, or fisherman's pie. As usual, there is a vast difference in quality between mass produced and hand-made versions. Good quality pies are obtainable from some pubs, traditional pie and mash shops, or specialist bakeries.

England can claim to have given the world the word "sandwich", although the eponymous Earl was not the first to add a filling to bread. Fillings such as pickled relishes and Gentleman's Relish could also be considered distinctively British.

Northern European countries generally have a tradition of salting, smoking, pickling and otherwise preserving foods. Britons make kippers, ham, bacon and a wide variety of pickled vegetables. Scottish smoked fish—salmon and Arbroath smokies—are particularly prized. Smoked cheese is uncommon. Meats other than pork are generally not cured. The "three breakfasts a day" principle can be implemented by eating bacon sandwiches, often referred to as "bacon sarnies" or "bacon butties", at any time of the day or night. Pickles and preserves are given a twist by the influence of the British Empire. Thus, the repertoire includes chutney as well as Branston or "brown" pickle, piccalilli, pickled onions and gherkins. The Asian influence is also present in condiments such as tomato sauce (originally ketjap), Worcestershire sauce and "brown" sauce (such as HP). Because Britain is a beer-drinking nation, malt vinegar is commonly used. English mustard, associated with Colman's of Norwich, is strongly-flavoured and bright yellow.

Pickles often accompany a selection of sliced, cold cooked meats, or "cold collation". This dish can claim to have some international influence, since it is known in French as an "assiette Anglaise".

It is believed by some that the English "drop everything" for a teatime meal in the mid-afternoon. This is no longer the case in the workplace, and is rarer in the home. A formal teatime meal is now often an accompaniment to tourism, particularly in Devon and neighbouring counties, where comestibles may include scones with jam and butter or clotted cream. There are also butterfly cakes, simple small sponge cakes which can be iced or eaten plain. Nationwide, assorted biscuits and sandwiches are eaten. Generally, however, the teatime meal has been replaced by snacking, or simply ignored.

Tea itself, usually served with milk, is consumed throughout the day and is sometimes drunk with meals. In recent years herbal teas and speciality teas have also become popular. Coffee is perhaps a little less common than in continental Europe, but is still drunk by many in both its instant and percolated forms, often with milk (but rarely with cream). Italian coffee preparations such as espresso and cappuccino and modern American variants such as the frappuccino are increasingly popular, but generally purchased in restaurants or from specialist coffee shops rather than made in the home. Sugar is often added to individual cups of tea or coffee, though never to the pot.

For much of the 20th century Britain had a system whereby milk was delivered to the doorstep in reusable glass bottles in the mornings, usually by special vehicles called "milk floats". This service continues in some areas, though it has increasingly been replaced by supermarket shopping. Many Britons consider their milk superior to the heat-treated variety found in some other countries.

Cheese is generally hard, and made from cows' milk. Cheddar cheese, originally made in the town of Cheddar, is by far the most common type, with many variations. Tangy Cheshire, salty Caerphilly, Sage Derby, Red Leicester, creamy Double Gloucester and sweet Wensleydale are some traditional regional varieties. Cheddar and the rich, blue-veined Stilton have both been called the king of English cheeses. Cornish Yarg is a successful modern variety. The name 'Cheddar cheese' has become widely used internationally, and does not currently have a protected designation of origin (PDO). However, the European Union recognises West Country Farmhouse Cheddar as a PDO. To meet this standard the cheese must be made in the traditional manner using local ingredients in one of the four designated counties of South West England: Somerset, Devon, Dorset, or Cornwall. Sheep and goat cheeses are made chiefly by craft producers. Continental cheeses such as French Brie are sometimes also manufactured.

Wine can be served with meals, though for semi-formal and informal meals beer, lager or cider may also be drunk. Kedgeree, a popular breakfast dish in the Victorian era.

In the Victorian era, during the British Raj, Britain first started borrowing Indian dishes, creating Anglo-Indian cuisine, some of which is still eaten today although many once-popular Anglo-Indian dishes such as kedgeree have largely faded from the scene[citation needed].

Sweets consist of many original home-made desserts such as rhubarb crumble, bread and butter pudding, trifle and spotted dick. The traditional accompaniment is custard, sometimes known as crème anglaise (English sauce or English cream made with eggs and milk) to the French however in Victorian times Alfred Bird, a Birmingham Chemist, operating from premises in New Street found that his wife much enjoyed custard but was allergic to eggs and so he invented a substitute made from cornflour and vanilla . The dishes are simple and traditional, with recipes passed on from generation to generation. There is also a dried fruit based Christmas pudding, and the almond flavoured Bakewell tart.

Another formal British culinary tradition rarely observed today is the consumption of a savoury course, such as Welsh rabbit, toward the conclusion of a meal. This now though may be eaten as a snack or a light lunch or supper. Most main meals today end with a sweet dessert, although cheese and biscuits may be consumed as an alternative or as an addition. In Yorkshire, fruit cake is often served with Wensleydale cheese. Coffee can sometimes be a culminatory drink.
Cooking basics....

Mediterranean cuisine

Cooking Basics....

Mediterranean cuisine
is the food of the areas around the Mediterranean Sea.

Given the geography, these nation-states have influenced each other over time and the cooking evolved into sharing common principles. Mediterranean cuisine is characterized by its flexibility, its range of ingredients and its many regional variations. The terrain has tended to favour the raising of goats and sheep.

Mediterranian Cuisine in Dalmatia, Croatia.

Fish dishes are also common, although today much of the fish is imported since the fisheries of the Mediterranean Sea are weak.[citation needed] Seafood is still prominent in many of the
standard recipes.

Olive oil, produced from the olive trees prominent throughout Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Italy, Spain and other Mediterranean nations, adds to the distinctive taste of the food.

Garlic is also used throughout Mediterranean cuisine. It is widely believed that ingredients in this kind of cooking, especially olive oil, are particularly healthy; see Mediterranean diet.

Barbecue or grilled meats, pita bread, hummus, and falafel are very popular forms of the eastern type of the cuisine. (Cooking basics)

HOW TO COOK PASTA

HOW TO COOK PASTA

1. Fill a large stockpot with water. The more the better - pasta only sticks when cooked in too little water.
2. Add salt. Salt makes pasta taste better, and won't increase the sodium level of your recipes. Use 1 teaspoon per gallon of water.
3. Bring the water to a rolling boil. This means a boil you can't stop by stirring.
4. Measure the pasta you need. Pasta generally doubles in size when cooked, so 1 cup uncooked = 2 cups cooked. Refer to the recipe if necessary.
5. Slowly add the pasta to the boiling water. Ideally, the water shouldn't stop boiling, but if that happens, it's ok.
6. Stir and stir some more! Pasta will stick together if it isn't stirred during the crucial first moments of cooking.
7. Start timing when the water returns to a boil. Most pastas cook in 8-12 minutes. Check the package directions!
8. You can regulate the heat so the pasta/water mixture doesn't foam up and over the pot sides. Lower it the tiniest bit, and everything should be under control.
9. Really the only way to tell if the pasta is correctly cooked is to taste it. It should be 'al dente' - firm, yet tender, with a tiny core in the middle.
10. You can also cut into a piece you've fished out of the pot. There shouldn't be any solid white in the center of the pasta - just a shading to more opaque cream.
11. Now drain the pasta into a colander placed into your kitchen sink. Lift the colander and shake off excess water.
12. Don't rinse if you're serving a hot dish. That removes the starch that helps hold the sauce. If you are making a cold salad, rinse so the salad isn't sticky.

Tips:

1. By covering the pot when you bring water to a boil, you are lowering the air pressure directly over the water, making it easier to boil.
2. Never mix pasta types in one pot.
3. Watch the cooking process carefully. Pasta can overcook very quickly.
4. If the pasta is to be used in a casserole, undercook it slightly. It will finish cooking to perfection while in the oven or skillet.

What You Need:

* stock pot
* pasta
* salt
* long handled spoon
* kitchen timer

How To Cook Beef

How To Cook Beef

If you're like me, you are probably intimidated by a big chunk of beef. Did you purchase the right cut? How should you cook it? What happens inside the piece of meat while it cooks? And how can you best bring out the flavor and juiciness?

Most people serve large cuts of beef only on special occasions. A standing rib roast, a beef tenderloin, or pot roast is expensive and merits a formal occasion like a holiday or birthday. Your beef entree will be a huge success once you understand a bit about meat structure and how it cooks.

3L'S : Location, Location, Location

Meat is a muscle. Whether it has a lot of fat or a little, needs wet or dry heat to cook it, and is light or dark colored depends on its location on the animal. Fat, collagen, protein, sugar, and water behave in specific ways inside the beef muscle as it is prepared and cooked.

For beef, there are eight 'primal cuts'. At the top of the animal, starting near the head and going back toward the tail, they are chuck, rib, short loin, sirloin, and round. Underneath the animal, from front to back, they are brisket, plate, and flank. The tenderness or toughness of the cut depends on how much the animal has had to use the muscle. Therefore, cuts near the shoulder or leg, which are used often for movement, are going to be tougher. The muscles that are not used as much, in the center of the animal, include the rib, plate, and loin. These cuts are cooked in different ways to maximize flavor and tenderness.

A big problem with describing cuts of meat is that many butchers and grocers have their own names. For instance, a New York strip steak can also be called a Kansas City steak, Delmonico steak, boneless club steak, and shell steak. If you're unsure about the cut of meat that you're buying, ask the butcher. He or she will be happy to tell you where the cut came from. And as long as the 'primal cut' word is in the name of the cut, you can be pretty sure you know where the meat was located on the animal.

The Components of Meat

Beef is considered 'red meat' because the animal's muscles need so much oxygen as they work keeping the cow upright and moving it around. Myoglobin is the molecule that transports oxygen around the body; it is red in color, therefore the muscles which are used a lot contain a lot of myoglobin and will be deep red.

Protein, Water, Fat, Sugar, and Collagen

* When meat is cooked, protein molecules, which are tightly wound and connected to other molecules, first unwind. This is called 'denaturing', and all it means is that the proteins are relaxing and separating. Because proteins are attracted to each other, they almost immediately pair up with other proteins, forming bundles. This is called 'coagulating' or cooking. As more heat is applied, the bundles of protein shrink. Up to 120 degrees F, the bundles shrink in width. After 120 degrees F, the bundles begin to shrink in length as well.
* Water is also present in the muscles. Some of it is bound up with the proteins, fats, and sugars, and some is 'free water'. The amount of liquid left after the beef is cooked is directly related to the juiciness of the finished dish. As the protein bundles shrink and fat melts in the muscle, water molecules are squeezed out. Not too much water is squeezed out as the protein shrinks in width. But as the temperature increases over 120 degrees F and the bundles become shorter, more and more water is squeezed out and evaporated. That's why a well done piece of beef is so dry. Cooking times and temperatures must be controlled when cooking beef.
* Fat is flavor! A good cut of meat will have specks of white fat evenly distributed through the meat. Leaner cuts of beef, such as flank and round, have less fat and can benefit from marinades and dry rubs.
* Sugar plays an important role in beef, its finished color and flavor. Sugar and protein, when heated in an acid-free environment, combine to form complex molecules in a process called the Maillard Reaction. The wonderful crisp crust with its rich caramel flavors that form on a seared piece of beef are all from the Maillard Reaction. High heat is required for this reaction to occur; grilling and broiling are the best methods. You can also brown meats before cooking to start the Maillard Reaction, and you can broil roasts at the end of cooking time to achieve the same result.
* Other substances in meat include collagen and elastin. These are present in the hard working muscles of the animal. Collagen will melt as it is heated, turning into gelatin and becoming soft and melty. Elastin can only be broken down physically, as when you pound a cube steak before cooking or grind meat for hamburger. These compounds are found in the brisket, shank, chuck, and round primal cuts; in other words, the beef we cook as pot roasts and stews and hamburger.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Two Methods of Cooking Beef

Cooking Basics...

The Two Methods of Cooking Beef


There are two methods for cooking meat: dry heat and wet heat.
Dry heat methods including:
  • grilling,
  • broiling,
  • sauteing,
  • roasting,
  • stir frying, and
  • deep frying.

Wet heat includes :
  • braising,
  • pot roasting,
  • stewing,
  • steaming,
  • poaching, and
  • slow cooking.

Most of us cook beef by the dry heat methods, along with pot roasting, stewing, and slow cooking.

You choose the cooking method depending on where the meat was located on the animal. Steaks, cut from the little-used center area of the animal, are naturally tender with little collagen and
elastin, so they cook best using dry heat and short cooking times. Rump or round roasts have more collagen so they need wet heat, and longer, slower cooking in order to melt the collagen.

Most solid cuts of beef are cooked in a two stage method. First, high heat produces the Maillard reactions and forms a flavorful crust on the surface. Then, slower cooking at a lower temperature
will evenly cook the meat through without overcooking the outer edges. If you are grilling a steak, divide your grill into a hot side and cooler side by controlling the number of briquette. Start the steak on the hot side to form a crust and pull it over to the cooler side to finish cooking. Roasts and stir fries use the same two stage method; first browned over high heat, then cooked with lower heat until the correct inner temperature is attained. You can also cook a roast with low heat in the oven, then turn on the broiler for the final few minutes to create a crisp flavorful crust.

In Balance

Cooking meat is all about finding the balance between reducing the moisture loss, and cooking long enough so collagen can melt into gelatin. That's why pot roasts and cuts that are braised are cooked slowly with low heat; you're trying to melt the collagen and reduce moisture loss. On the other hand, steaks have no collagen, so quick cooking at high temperatures creates that nice crust and preserves as much moisture as possible.

Searing meat before a longer cooking time does not seal in the juices. The crust that forms on the surface leaks! Searing is essential for creating the complex flavors that are so wonderful in a perfectly cooked cut of beef. The only way you can control the juiciness of a cut of beef is to control the cooking time and temperature. Other factors are beyond your control, including how the beef is aged and treated during handling and storage, so know your butcher.

The grain of meat also plays a factor in its cooking and serving. Flank and shoulder steaks, often sold as 'London Broil', are a single muscle and have a long, distinctive grain running along the
cut. These steaks must be cut perpendicular to the grain, or across the grain, cutting across the muscles. They will then be tender. If you cut these steaks with the grain they will be so tough as to be inedible.

You can marinate meats to add flavor and increase tenderness a little. Marinades contain acids, which break those protein bonds (denaturing the proteins). Marinades will not turn a tough piece of meat into a tender steak, however; it's more important to use the correct cooking method for the cut of meat. Marinades are best used to add flavor. Dry rubs are very good for adding flavor to meat, especially the crisp crust that forms when a steak is grilled.

Finally, standing time is a must when cooking any solid cut of beef. As the beef is heated, water is forced toward the center of the piece as well as evaporating from the edges. This water will be
easily squeezed out of the beef as pressure is applied with a knife. By covering the beef to retain heat and letting it stand for 5-10 minutes after cooking, the water will redistribute throughout the cut so it harder to squeeze out water from the pressure of cutting.

The Best Cuts

For grilling, broiling, and pan frying, the best cuts of meat are rib eye steaks, strip or shell steaks, and T bone, which contains both the strip and tenderloin steaks. Sirloin and round steaks are generally going to be tough and dry. Flank steaks are good when quickly cooked and sliced across the grain, as described above.
For roasting, top sirloin, tenderloin, standing rib roasts, and top rump roast are good candidates.
For stir frying, flank, top round, and sirloin steak are good. These cuts are best cooked quickly, and since elastin is broken because the meat is cubed, they are more tender.

For kebabs, tenderloin is the best bet. This mild cut absorbs flavors easily and it is very tender.
For pot roasting and braising, chuck and rump are the best cuts. These cuts have more collagen and need long, slow cooking in a wet environment to reach their optimum tenderness. Chuck has the most flavor and is the most tender.

For ground beef, chuck is the way to go. It has optimal amounts of fat and is tenderized mechanically by the grinding action. Most lean ground beef is chuck, but if you're not sure, ask!
Cooking basics...

How To Fillet a Fish

Cooking Basics..

How To Fillet a Fish


Here's How:

1. Hold the fish on the cutting board with the back of the fish toward you. Using a thin flexible knife, cut through the back of the head to the backbone and turn the blade so it's running along the backbone.
2. Hold the fish by placing your non cutting hand over the head. Push the knife along the backbone to the tail using a sawing motion.
3. Pull the fillet away from the body of the fish while making small careful cuts with the knife to retain as much flesh as possible.
4. Using small strokes of the knife, remove the fillet from the rib cage, feeling your way around the bones with the knife.
5. Turn the fish over and repeat steps 1 through 3 on the other side.
6. Using a flat bladed knife, slice a bit of the skin away from the flesh. Cut a hole in the loosened skin so you can fit your finger through it.
7. Hold the skin through the finger hole and pull the skin away from the fillet, using the knife to hold the fillet down. Hold the knife at a 45 degree angle.
8. With your fingers and a clean tweezer, feel for any pin bones and pull them out of the fillets.

Tips:

1. Make sure your knives are very sharp or you will rip and tear the flesh.
2. Go slowly at first. It takes practice to become an expert at filleting a fish.
3. Removing the fillet from the rib cage is the most difficult step. Be very careful and go slowly.

What You Need:

* whole fish
* sharp thin bladed knife
* sharp flat bladed knife
* cutting board
* tweezers

Cooking Basics....

How to Use Gelatin

How to Use Gelatin

Here's How:

1. Sprinkle unflavored gelatin over a small amount of cold water taken from the recipe and let stand. If using sheet gelatin, immerse sheets in cold water for a few minutes (don't use liquid from the recipe for sheet gelatin).
2. Heat half of the remaining liquid used in recipe to boiling and pour over either the softened unflavored gelatin or commercial powdered gelatin in a large bowl. For sheet gelatin, pick up the
soft mass and squeeze excess liquid from it and drop into hot liquid.
3. Stir gently but thoroughly with a metal spoon until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Make sure that you don't see any tiny particles of undissolved gelatin in the liquid.
4. Add the other half of the recipe's liquid to the dissolved gelatin mixture and stir. This half of the recipe's liquid should be cool.
5. You can partially chill the gelatin if you are adding fruit, meats, or vegetables to the salad. Place gelatin mixture in the refrigerator and let chill for about 1 hour, until the gelatin looks
like thick unbeaten egg whites. The added ingredients will then be evenly distributed throughout the finished salad.
6. Rinse the salad mold with cold water. Do not dry. Pour in the gelatin mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours before unmolding.
7. To unmold the salad, run the tip of a knife around the edge of the mold. Invert the mold onto a dampened serving place.
8. Dampen kitchen towels in hot water, wring out, and apply to outside of mold for 30-60 seconds. Gently shake mold until gelatin slides out. Repeat process if necessary.
9. Return mold to refrigerator until serving time.
10. Store the salad, covered, in the refrigerator.

Tips:

1. Never use fresh or frozen pineapple, guava, figs, kiwifruit, or ginger root in molded gelatin salads. They contain bromelin, an enzyme which will destroy the gelatin's protein bonds. Canned
versions of these products are fine - the heat used in the canning process has denatured the bromelin enzyme.
2. You can oil your salad mold with a light, nonflavored oil instead of rinsing it with water.
3. Make sure that the gelatin is thoroughly set before you try to unmold the salad.
4. You can add other ingredients without prechilling the gelatin. They will just settle to the bottom of the mold and be on the top when the salad is unmolded.
5. You can pour gelatin into individual serving cups so you don't have to bother with unmolding a large salad.

HOW TO COOK PASTA

HOW TO COOK PASTA

Here's How:

1. Fill a large stockpot with water. The more the better - pasta only sticks when cooked in too little water.
2. Add salt. Salt makes pasta taste better, and won't increase the sodium level of your recipes. Use 1 teaspoon per gallon of water.
3. Bring the water to a rolling boil. This means a boil you can't stop by stirring.
4. Measure the pasta you need. Pasta generally doubles in size when cooked, so 1 cup uncooked = 2 cups cooked. Refer to the recipe if necessary.
5. Slowly add the pasta to the boiling water. Ideally, the water shouldn't stop boiling, but if that happens, it's ok.
6. Stir and stir some more! Pasta will stick together if it isn't stirred during the crucial first moments of cooking.
7. Start timing when the water returns to a boil. Most pastas cook in 8-12 minutes. Check the package directions!
8. You can regulate the heat so the pasta/water mixture doesn't foam up and over the pot sides. Lower it the tiniest bit, and everything should be under control.
9. Really the only way to tell if the pasta is correctly cooked is to taste it. It should be 'al dente' - firm, yet tender, with a tiny core in the middle.
10. You can also cut into a piece you've fished out of the pot. There shouldn't be any solid white in the center of the pasta - just a shading to more opaque cream.
11. Now drain the pasta into a colander placed into your kitchen sink. Lift the colander and shake off excess water.
12. Don't rinse if you're serving a hot dish. That removes the starch that helps hold the sauce. If you are making a cold salad, rinse so the salad isn't sticky.

Tips:

1. By covering the pot when you bring water to a boil, you are lowering the air pressure directly over the water, making it easier to boil.
2. Never mix pasta types in one pot.
3. Watch the cooking process carefully. Pasta can overcook very quickly.
4. If the pasta is to be used in a casserole, undercook it slightly. It will finish cooking to perfection while in the oven or skillet.

What You Need:

* stock pot
* pasta
* salt
* long handled spoon
* kitchen timer

Saturday, January 10, 2009

How To Plan a Meal

Plan meals to meet your family's nutrition needs. The old way of planning meals was the Basic Four: Meats, Vegetables and Fruit, Grains, and Dairy. After many nutrition studies, the USDA has created an updated Food Pyramid that should be used as a guideline.

Meals used to be planned around a chunk of protein, plus a starch like potatoes or rice, a vegetable like green beans, and a glass of milk. Today, meat is considered more of a condiment or flavoring, and diets should be based more on grains, fruits and vegetables.

That doesn't mean you can't have a steak or fish fillet for dinner! It just means that you should add more whole grain breads, pastas, vegetables, fruits, rice, and cereals, and reduce the amount of meat served. To begin, here are three key words you should remember every time you plan a meal: color, temperature and texture. The meals you plan should be full of color, the recipes should vary in temperature, and include textures from smooth to crunchy.

First, go through your recipe box, files, cookbooks and other favorite sources and choose 10-20 recipes that you know you can make and that your family likes. Then consider texture, temperature, and color when visualizing your full dinner plate. Color is probably the most important consideration to think about in meal planning.

Nutritionists advise making your plate look like a painter's palette. The more different colors on your plate, the more varied and healthy your diet will be. Temperature and texture should be
varied to add interest and make the meal more pleasing to the palate. Choose some cold foods, some served at room temperature, and some hot. Crisp, crunchy, smooth, chunky, and tender are all textures you should think about.

Remember, your meals should be colorful, and include a variety of textures and temperatures.

Chicken with Fruit Salsa

* 1/2 cup chopped peeled mango
* 1 orange, peeled, seeded and chopped
* 1 pear, unpeeled, chopped
* 1 8-oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained
* 2 Tbsp. apple jelly
* 1 Tbsp. minced jalapeno pepper
* 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
* 1/4 cup honey
* 2 Tbsp. apple jelly
* 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
* 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Combine mango, orange, pear, pineapple, 2 Tbsp. apple jelly, jalapeno and cilantro. Mix well and set aside.Combine honey, 2 Tbsp. apple jelly and lemon juice. Microwave on high until melted, 10-20 seconds and stir well. Brush half of glaze on chicken.
Broil or grill chicken 4-6" from heat for 6 minutes. Turn chicken and brush with remaining glaze. Broil or grill 4-6 minutes longer or until chicken is tender, thoroughly cooked, and juices run clearwhen pricked with knife. Spoon salsa over chicken to serve.

This recipe already helps meet your daily nutritional needs because there are lots of fruits in proportion to the chicken. To balance this meal, go back to our key words and think about temperature, texture, and color. I would add a fresh green lettuce salad (cool temperature, crunchy texture, additional different color), some whole grain rolls (crunchy texture, room temperature), and sparkling water or milk.

As long as you make your dinner plate colorful you can generally be assured that you are eating enough fruits and vegetables and your meals are balanced. Vary texture by adding chewy breads, crunchy grains, and smooth, tender pasta and rice to help add the essential servings of grains. And vary temperatures to help stimulate appetite and make your meals more interesting.

When choosing recipes for your everyday meals, pay attention to nutrients listed as percentage of Daily Values. The Daily Values are set by the USDA to meet the nutritional requirements of the average American. These Values are set for protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, sodium and fiber.

Here are a few more things to consider when planning meals.

* Grocery Ads
Check what is on sale in your grocery store and plan meals around those items. You can also stock up on good buys and freeze them, well wrapped with the date marked, to help you plan future meals.
* What's in Your Pantry?
The foods you store are those you know your family likes. Find new recipes that use these ingredients and you will be able to gradually introduce different foods and flavors and expand their tastes.
* Family Favorites
If your family loves meat and potatoes, find ways to get more fruits and vegetables into their diet. Serve a smaller portion of meat and make up the difference with a big salad, toasted rolls, or rice pilaf. Begin with a favorite recipe, serve smaller portions of it, and add other nutritious foods to fill the dinner plate.
* Seasonal Produce
Not only is seasonal produce a better buy, but fruits and vegetables taste better when in season. Local produce may also retain more nutrients because they aren't shipped over long
distances. Patronize farmer's markets and produce stands when possible for great value, taste, and nutrition.
* Shake Things Up
Have fun with meal planning! Have breakfast for dinner, get your children involved, let other family members have turns planning meals, and even make a game out of planning a meal just with what's on hand. Don't be too concerned with perfectly balancing each day's nutrients. Try instead to balance nutrients, calories, and fat intake over several days.
* Use Color as Key
The more color on your plate, the better balanced your meal. Plus a colorful plate is a treat for the eyes!
* Balance Temperature
Hot foods, cold foods, and room temperature foods not only ensure that you are serving a variety of foods, but also make a more interesting meal.
* Balance Texture
No one likes a meal made of all soft foods or all crunchy ones. Thinking about different texture also automatically helps you include different kinds of foods according to the Food Pyramid.
* Variety!
Here's the most important meal planning tip of all: eat a variety of foods. For instance, don't plan meals with chicken four days in a row. The USDA calculates safe limits on pesticide and
herbicide residue consumption based on a certain consumption level of foods. Eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and dairy products to help reduce your risk of exposure to
chemicals, and to ensure the most balanced diet. Scientists are discovering new chemicals and nutrients in foods every day that are necessary to good health. Eating a good variety of whole foods is the best way to have a healthy diet and a long life.

Drying

COOKING BASICS...

Drying
is a method of food preservation that works by removing water from the food, which prevents the growth of microorganisms and decay. Drying food using the sun and wind to prevent spoilage has been known since ancient times. Water is usually removed by evaporation (air drying, sun drying, smoking or wind drying) but, in the case of freeze-drying, food is first frozen and then water is removed by sublimation.

Bacteria and micro-organisms within the food and from the air need the water in the food to grow. Drying effectively prevents them from surviving in the food. It also creates a hard outer-layer, helping to stop micro-organisms from entering the food.

Food types

Many different foods are prepared by dehydration. Good examples are meat such as prosciutto (a.k.a. Parma ham), bresaola, and beef jerky. Fruits change character completely when dried: the plum becomes a prune, the grape a raisin; figs and dates are also transformed. Drying is rarely used for vegetables as it removes the vitamins within them, however bulbs, such as garlic and onion, are often dried. Also chilis are frequently dried.

For centuries, much of the European diet depended on dried cod, known as salt cod or bacalhau (with salt) or stockfish (without). It formed the main protein source for the slaves on the West Indian plantations and was a major economic force within the triangular trade.
Dried and salted reindeer meat is a traditional Sami food. First the meat is soaked / pickled in saltwater for a couple of days to guarantee the conservation of the meat. Then the meat is dried in the sun in spring when the air temperature is below zero. The dried meat can be further processed to make soup.
Dried shark known as Hákarl is a delicacy in Iceland.

Drying Methods

There are many different methods for drying, each with their own advantages for particular applications; these include:

* Bed dryers
* Fluidized bed dryers
* Shelf dryers
* Spray drying
* Sunlight
* Commercial food dehydrators
* Household oven

COOKING BASICS....

Brining

In cooking, brining is a process similar to marination in which meat is soaked in a salt solution (the brine) before cooking.Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its
muscle tissue before cooking, via the process of osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked, via the process of denaturation. The brine surrounding the cells has a higher concentration of salt than the fluid within the cells, but the cell fluid has a higher concentration of other solutes. This leads salt ions to enter the cell via diffusion, whilst the solutes in the cells cannot diffuse through the cell membranes into the brine. The increased salinity of the cell fluid causes the cell to absorb water from the brine via osmosis. The salt introduced into the cell also denatures its proteins. The proteins coagulate, forming a matrix which traps water molecules and holds them during cooking. This prevents the meat from drying out, or dehydrating.

In many foods the additional salt is also desirable as a preservative. Note that kosher meats are salted during the process of koshering so they should not be brined.
Some cheeses are periodically washed in brine during their ripening.
Not only does the brine carry flavors into the cheese (it might be seasoned with spices or wine), but the salty environment may nurture the growth of the Brevibacterium linens bacteria, which can impart a very pronounced odor (Limburger) and interesting flavor. The same bacteria can also have some impact on cheeses that are simply ripened in humid conditions, like Camembert. Large populations of these "smear bacteria" show up as a sticky orange-red layer on some
brine-washed cheeses.

Rotisserie


Rotisserie is a style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit - a long solid rod used to hold food while it is being cooked over a fire in a fireplace or over a campfire, or roasted in an oven. This method is generally used for cooking large joints of meat or entire animals, such as pigs, turkeys, goats or historically, entire cattle. The rotation cooks the meat evenly in its own juices and allows easy access for continuous basting if desired.

In medieval and early modern kitchens, the spit was the preferred way of cooking meat in a large household. A servant, preferably a boy, sat near the spit turning the metal rod slowly and cooking the food; he was known as the "spit boy" or "spit jack". More mechanical means were later invented, first moved by dog-powered treadmill, and then by steam power and mechanical clockwork mechanisms. Spits are now usually driven by electric motors.

Rotisserie can also refer to a mechanical device used for rotisserie cooking, or to a restaurant specializing in spit-roasted meat and chicken. The word comes from French where it first appeared in Paris shops around 1450. Additionally, in restaurants a rotisseur is the chef responsible for all spit-roasted, oven roasted, grilled and in some cases fried foods.[1]

Horizontal rotisserie

This style of rotisserie mounts the spit horizontally. They are often used to cook whole chickens or roasts of various meats including beef and pork. The design may include a single spit mounted over an open broiler or grill, a single spit mounted within an otherwise-conventional oven, or many spits mounted within a large industrial oven. The latter are commonly used to mass produced roasted meats for sale to consumers.
Chicken cooking on a horizontal rotisserie

In this style of rotisserie, balance is important. If the object to be cooked is far out of balance, it will impose a heavy load on the drive mechanism or cause the mechanism to fail to turn. Loose chicken legs or wings can also cause the mechanism to jam. For these two reasons, some skewering skill is required.
Spitted fowl are rotated by a handcrank and basted with a long-handled spoon in this illustration from the Romance of Alexander, Bruges, 1338-44 (Bodleian Library)

High-end consumer ovens commonly come with a rotisserie (or allow the installation of a rotisserie as an option). In these cases, the motor drive mechanism is usually concealed within the oven. The rotisserie is used by removing the normal cooking racks; a special carrier may be needed to provide one or both bearing points for the spit.

howether in the commercial supermarkets, or even hypermarkets, to mass produce cooked chickens they use the vertical rotiserie using the metal bars to hold the chicken in place through the weakest part of the breast (also which hardly effects the meat itself from the impaling but still holds the chicken firmly in place) and the densest part of the chicken located just below the drumstick of the chicken

Vertical rotisserie

The other common style of rotisserie is the vertical rotisserie; here, the heat is applied directly from the side (as shown in the picture) or, less-commonly, convected up from below. In this style of rotisserie, balance of the load is less important than with a horizontal rotisserie.

Some dishes that are commonly cooked on a vertical rotisserie include:

* Döner kebab from Turkey
* Gyros, from Greece
* Shawarma, from the Middle East and the Arab World
* Taco al pastor, from Mexico

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Barbecue

CCOKING BASICS...

Barbecue
or barbeque (with abbreviations BBQ, Bar-B-Q and Bar-B-Que, diminutive form barbie, used chiefly in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and called Braai in South Africa) is a method and apparatus for cooking food, often meat, with the heat and hot gases of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of charcoal and may include application of a marinade, spice rub, or basting sauce to the meat. The term as a noun can refer to foods cooked by this method, to the cooking apparatus itself, or to a party that includes such food. The term is also used as a verb for the act of cooking food in this manner. Barbecue is usually cooked in an outdoor environment heated by the smoke of wood or charcoal. Restaurant barbecue may be cooked in large brick or metal ovens specially designed for that purpose.

Barbecue has numerous regional variations in many parts of the world. Notably, in the Southern United States, practitioners consider barbecue to include only indirect methods of cooking over
hardwood smoke, with the more direct methods to be called "grilling".

In British usage, barbecuing and grilling refer to a fast cooking process directly over high heat, while grilling also refers to cooking under a source of direct, high heat—known in the U.S. and
Canada as broiling. In US English usage, however, grilling refers to a fast process over high heat, while barbecuing refers to a slow process using indirect heat and/or hot smoke (very similar to some forms of roasting). For example, in a typical U.S. home grill, food is cooked on a grate directly over hot charcoal, while in a U.S. barbecue, the coals are dispersed to the sides or at significant distance from the grate. Its South American versions are the southern Brazilian churrasco and the Argentine asado.

Alternatively, an apparatus called a smoker with a separate fire box may be used. Hot smoke is drawn past the meat by convection for very slow cooking. This is essentially how barbecue is cooked in most U.S. "barbecue" restaurants, but nevertheless, many consider this to be a distinct cooking process called smoking.

The slower methods of cooking break down the collagen in meat and tenderize tougher cuts for easier eating.

Techniques

Barbecuing encompasses two distinct types of cooking techniques. One type is grilling over direct heat, usually a hot fire (i.e., over 500°F) for a short time (minutes). Grilling may be done over wood or charcoal or even gas. The other technique is cooking by using indirect heat or low-level direct radiant heat at lower temperatures (usually around 240°F) and longer cooking times (hours), often with smoke.

Grilling

Wood
Large beef steaks over wood

The choice and combination of woods burned result in different flavors imparted to the meat. Woods commonly selected for their flavor include mesquite, hickory, maple, guava, kiawe, cherry, pecan, apple and oak. Woods to avoid include conifers. These contain resins and tars, which impart undesirable resinous and chemical flavors. If these woods are used, they should be burned in a catalytic grill, such as a rocket stove, so that the resins and tars are completely burned before coming into contact with the food.

Different types of wood burn at different rates. The heat also varies by the amount of wood and controlling the rate of burn through careful venting. Wood and charcoal are sometimes combined to optimize smoke flavor and consistent burning.

Charcoal

Cooking with charcoal, like cooking with gas, is a more manageable approximation of cooking over a wood fire. Charcoal cooking does not impart the rich flavour of cooking over hardwoods but is cheap and easy to purchase in sizes appropriate for close proximity cooking in typical commercially available home grills.

Charcoal grilling generally begins with purchasing a commercial bag of processed charcoal briquettes. An alternative to charcoal briquettes is lump charcoal. Lump charcoal is wood that has been turned into charcoal, but unlike briquettes, it has not been ground and shaped. Lump charcoal is a pure form of charcoal and is preferred by many purists who dislike artificial binders used to hold briquettes in their shape, and it also burns hotter and responds to changes in airflow much more quickly. Charcoal cannot be burned indoors because poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) is a combustion product.Carbon monoxide fumes may contribute to the pink color taken on by barbecued meats after slow cooking in a smoker. Many barbecue aficionados prefer charcoal over gas (propane) for the authentic flavor the coals provide.

Chimney starter in use

A charcoal chimney starter is an inexpensive and efficient method for quickly obtaining a good charcoal fire. A few pages of newspaper are wadded up underneath the chimney to start the fire. Other methods are to use an electric iron to heat the charcoal or to soak it with aliphatic petroleum solvent and light it in a pyramid formation. Charcoal briquettes pre-impregnated with solvent are also available. Although the use of solvents is quick and portable, it can be hazardous, and petroleum solvents can impart undesirable chemical flavors to the meat. Using denatured alcohol ("methyl hydrate", "methylated spirit") instead of commercial petroleum-based lighter fluids avoids this problem.

Once all coals are ashed over (generally 15-25 minutes, depending on starting technique), they can be spread around the perimeter of the grill with the meat placed in the center for indirect cooking, or piled together for direct cooking. Water-soaked wood chips (such as mesquite, cherry, hickory or fruit trees) can be added to the coals for flavor. As with wood barbecuing, the temperature of the grill is controlled by the amount and distribution of coal within the grill
and through careful venting.

For long cooking times (up to 18 hours), many cooks find success with the minion method, usually performed in a smoker. The method involves putting a small number of hot coals on top of a full chamber of unlit briquettes. The burning coals will gradually light the unlit coals. By leaving the top air vent all the way open and adjusting the lower vents, a constant temperature of 225°F can easily be achieved for up to 18 hours.

The Japanese-style kamado cooker utilizes lump charcoal for fuel. The kamado is made from ceramics and can be adjusted to cook for more than 30 hours on a single load of lump, the heat being retained in the ceramic walls, radiating into the food. There is no need to use water pans or replenish fuel during the cook, as is the case with steel water smokers. Furthermore, lump charcoal contains no additives or fillers as contained in charcoal briquettes. The very small amount of air needed to keep a ceramic cooker going at low temperature helps maintain a moist environment, whereas in a steel smoker, steam must be added from a water pan over the briquettes to keep the food from drying out. The kamado dates back several thousand years with roots in China and Japan.

Natural gas and propane
A typical propane barbecue grill in an urban backyard Grilling with natural gas or propane is a step further removed from cooking over a wood fire. Despite this, and the higher cost of a gas
grill over a charcoal grill, many people continue to prefer cooking over a gas flame.

Gas grills are easy to light. The heat is easy to control via knob-controlled gas valves on the burners, so the outcome is very predictable. Gas grills give very consistent results, although some charcoal and wood purists argue that it lacks the flavors available only from cooking with charcoal. Advocates of gas grills claim that gas cooking lets you "taste the meat, not the heat" because it is claimed that charcoal grills may deposit traces of coal tar on the food. Many grills are equipped with thermometers, further simplifying the barbecuing experience. However, propane and natural gas produce a "wet" heat (combustion byproducts include water vapor)
that can change the texture of foods cooked over such fuels. Added wood smoke flavor can be imparted on gas grills using water-soaked wood chips placed in an inexpensive smoker box (a
perforated metal box), or simply a perforated foil pouch, under the grilling grate and over the heat. It takes some experience in order to keep the chips smoking consistently without catching fire; some high-end gas grills include a built-in smoker box with a dedicated burner to simplify the task. Using such smokers on quick-grilled foods (steaks, chops, burgers) nearly duplicates the effects of wood and charcoal grills, and they can actually make grilling some longer-cooked foods, such as ribs, easier, since the "wet" heat makes it easier to prevent the meat from drying out.

Gas grills are significantly more expensive due to their added complexity. They are also considered much cleaner, as they do not result in ashes, which must be disposed of, and also in terms of air pollution. Proper maintenance may further help reduce pollution. The useful life of a gas grill may be extended by obtaining replacement gas grill parts when the original parts wear out. Most barbecues that are used for commercial purposes now use gas for the reasons above.

Solar power

There have been a number of designs for barbecues that use solar power as a means of cooking food. The device usually involves the use of a curved mirror acting as a parabolic reflector, which
focuses the rays of the sun on to a point where the food is to be heated.

Smoking

Smoking can be done with wood or charcoal, although many common commercial smokers use a gas, such as propane, to heat up a box of wet wood chips enough to cause smoke. The heat from the propane fire helps cook the meat while the smoke adds its unique and delicious flavor. The distinction between smoking and grilling is the heat level and the intensity of the radiant heat; indeed, smoking is often referred to as "low and slow". Additionally, during grilling, the meat is exposed to the open air for the majority of the time.

During smoking, the BBQ lid or smoker door is closed, making a thick dense cloud of smoke to envelope the meat. The smoke must be able to move freely around the meat and out of the top of the apparatus quickly; otherwise, foul-tasting creosote will build up on the meat, giving it a bitter flavor. Smoked meats such as pork exhibit what is known as a smoke ring: a thin pink layer just under the surface which is the result of the smoke interacting with the water in the
meat.
Cooking Basics....

Roasting


Roasting is a cooking basic method that uses dry heat, whether an open flame, oven, or other heat source. Roasting usually causes caramelization or Maillard browning of the surface of the food, which is considered a flavour enhancement. Meats and most root and bulb vegetables can be roasted. Any piece of meat, especially red meat, that has been cooked in this fashion is called a roast. Also, meats and vegetables prepared in this way are described as "roast", e.g., roast chicken or roast squash. Some foods such as coffee and Chocolate are always roasted.

For roasting, the food may be placed on a rack, in a roasting pan or, to ensure even application of heat, may be rotated on a spit or rotisserie. During oven roasting, hot air circulates around the
meat, cooking all sides evenly. There are several theories for roasting meats correctly: low temperature cooking, high temperature cooking and a combination of both.

* A low temperature oven (200 to 325 °F) is best when cooking with large cuts of meat, turkey and whole chickens. The benefit of slow roasting an item is less moisture loss and a more tender product. At higher temperatures (400 °F or more) the water inside the muscle is lost at a high rate.
* Cooking at high temperatures is beneficial if the cut is small enough (filet mignon, strip loin) to be finished cooking before the juices escape.
* The combination method uses high heat just at either the beginning or the end of the cooking process, with most of the cooking at a low temperature. This method produces the golden brown
texture and crust people desire but maintains more of the moisture than simply cooking at a high temperature, although the product will not be as moist as low temperature cooking the whole time. Searing and then turning down to low the piece of meat is also beneficial when a dark crust and carmelized flavor is desired for the finished product.

The objective is to retain as much moisture as possible in the finished product, while providing the texture and color people prefer. During roasting, meats and vegetables are frequently basted on the surface with butter, lard or oil to reduce the loss of moisture by evaporation. Recently, plastic oven bags have become popular for roasts. These cut cooking times and reduce the loss of moisture during roasting, but reduce flavor development from Maillard browning. They are particularly popular for turkeys.
Roasting originally meant turning meat or a bird on a spit in front of a fire. It is one of the oldest forms of cooking known.

Traditionally recognized cooking basics of roasting methods consist only of baking and cooking over or near an open fire. Grilling is normally not technically a roast, since a grill (gridiron) is used. Smoking differs from roasting because of the lower temperature and controlled smoke application.

Stir frying

Stir frying is an umbrella term used to describe two fast cooking techniques: chǎo (炒) and bào (爆). The term stir-fry was introduced into the English language by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, to describe the chǎo technique. The two techniques differ in their speed of execution, the amount of heat used, and the amount of tossing done to cook the food in the wok.

Cantonese restaurant patrons judge a chef's ability to perform stir frying by the "wok hei" produced in the food. This in turn is believed to display their ability to bring out the qi of the wok.

Chao technique
The chao technique is similar to the Western concept of braising, itself somewhat different from its Asian counterpart. A traditional round-bottom iron pan called a wok is heated to a high temperature. A small amount of cooking oil is then poured down the side of the wok (a traditional expression in China regarding this is "hot wok, cold oil"), followed by dry seasonings (including ginger and garlic), then at the first moment the seasonings can be smelled, meats are added and agitated. Once the meat is seared, vegetables along with liquid ingredients (for example often including premixed combinations of some of soy sauce, vinegar, wine, salt, sugar, and cornstarch) are added. The wok then may be covered for a moment so the water in the liquid ingredients can warm up the new ingredients as it steams off. To keep the meat juicy, usually a cook would take
the seared meat out before vegetables are added, and put the meat back right before vegetables are done. In some dishes, or if the cooking conditions are inadequate, different components may be stir fried separately before being combined in the final dish (if, for example, the chef desires the taste of the stir fried vegetables and meats to remain distinct).

The food is stirred and tossed out very quickly using wooden or metal cooking utensils. Some chefs will lift the wok to the side to let the flame light the oil or add a dash of wine spirit to give the food extra flavor. Using this method, many dishes can be cooked extremely quickly (within a minute).

Some dishes that require more time are cooked by adding a few dashes of water after the stirring. Then the wok is covered with a lid. As soon as steam starts to come out from under the lid, the dish is ready. In this case, the food is stir fried on high heat for flavor and then steamed to ensure that it is fully cooked.

Bao technique

The wok is heated to a dull red glow. With the wok hot, the oil, seasonings and meats are added in rapid succession with no pause in between. The food is continually tossed, stopping for several
seconds only to add other ingredients such as various seasonings, broths or vegetables. When the food is deemed to be cooked it is poured and ladled out of the wok. The wok must then be quickly rinsed to prevent food residues from charring and burning to the wok bottom because of residual heat.

The main ingredients are usually cut to smaller pieces to aid in cooking. As well, a larger amount of cooking oil with a high smoke point, such as lard and/or peanut oil, is often used in bao.

Hot salt frying

Hot salt frying

Hot salt frying is a cooking basic technique used by street-side food vendors in China. Coarse sea salt is placed in a large wok and heated to a high temperature. Dry food items, such as eggs in shell, are buried in the hot salt and occasionally turned with a spatula.
This technique is also seen in India, where street vendors sell shelled peanuts or popcorn cooked in salt heated in an iron wok.

Deep frying

COOKING BASICS

Deep frying is a cooking method in which food is submerged in hot oil or fat. This is normally performed with a deep fryer or chip pan; industrially, a pressure fryer or vacuum fryer may be used.

Deep frying is classified as a dry cooking method because no water is used. Due to the high temperature involved and the high heat conduction of oil, it cooks food extremely quickly.

If performed properly, deep-frying does not make food excessively greasy, because the moisture in the food repels the oil. The hot oil heats the water within the food, steaming it from the inside out; oil cannot go against the direction of this powerful flow because (due to its high temperature) the water vapor pushes the bubbles toward the surface. As long as the oil is hot enough and the food is not immersed in the oil for too long, oil penetration will be confined to the outer surface. However, if the food is cooked in the oil for too long, much of the water will be lost and the oil will begin to penetrate the food. The correct frying temperature depends on the thickness and type of food, but in most cases it lies between 175 and 190 °C (345–375 °F).

Some fried foods are given a coating of batter or breading prior to frying. The effect of these is that the outside of the food becomes crispy and browned, while the inside becomes tender, moist, and steamed. Some foods – such as potatoes or whole, skin-on poultry – have a natural coating and do not require breading or battering.

Cooking Basics

Frying

Frying is the cooking of food in oil or fat, a technique that originated in ancient Egypt around 2500BC. Chemically, oils and fats are the same, differing only in melting point, but the distinction is only made when needed. In commerce, many fats are called oils by custom, e.g. palm oil and coconut oil, which are solid at room temperature.

Fats can reach much higher temperatures than water at normal atmospheric pressure. Through frying, one can sear or even carbonize the surface of foods while caramelizing sugars. The food is cooked much more quickly and has a characteristic crispness and texture.

Depending on the food, the fat will penetrate it to varying degrees, contributing richness, lubricity, and its own flavour. Frying techniques vary in the amount of fat required, the cooking
time, the type of cooking vessel required, and the manipulation of the food. Sautéing, stir frying, pan frying, shallow frying, and deep frying are all standard frying techniques.

Sautéing and stir-frying involve cooking foods in a thin layer of fat on a hot surface, such as a frying pan, griddle, wok, or sauteuse. Stir frying involves frying quickly at very high temperatures, requiring that the food be stirred continuously to prevent it from adhering to the cooking surface and burning.

Shallow frying is a type of pan frying using only enough fat to immerse approximately one-third to one-half of each piece of food; fat used in this technique is typically only used once. Deep-frying, on the other hand, involves totally immersing the food in hot oil, which is normally topped up and used several times before being disposed. Deep-frying is typically a much more involved process, and may require specialized oils for optimal results.

Deep frying is now the basis of a very large and expanding world-wide industry. Fried products have consumer appeal in all age groups, and the process is quick, can easily be made continuous for mass production, and the food emerges sterile and dry, with a relatively long shelf life. The end products can then be easily packaged for storage and distribution. Examples are potato chips, french fries, nuts, doughnuts, instant noodles, etc.

Stew

A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in water or other water-based liquid, typically by simmering, and that are then served without being drained.

Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables (potatoes, beans, etc.), fruits (such as peppers and tomatoes), meat, poultry, sausages and seafood. While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, wine, stock, and beer are also common.

Seasoning and flavourings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), to allow flavors to combine.

The distinctions between stew, soup, and casserole are subtle and not always easy to judge. The ingredients of a stew may be cut into larger pieces than a those of a soup and retain more of their
individual flavours; a stew may have thicker liquid than a soup, and more liquid than a casserole; a stew is more likely to be eaten as a main course than as a starter, unlike soup; and a stew can be cooked on either the stove top (or range) or in the oven, while casseroles are almost always cooked in the oven, and soups are almost always cooked on the stovetop. There are exceptions; for example, an oyster stew is thin bodied, more like a soup.

Stewing is suitable for the least tender cuts of meat that become tender and juicy with the slow moist heat method. This makes it popular in low-cost cooking. Cuts having a certain amount of
marbling and gelatinous connective tissue give moist, juicy stews, while lean meat may easily become dry.

Stews may be thickened by reduction, but are more often thickened with flour, either by coating pieces of meat with flour before searing, or by using a roux or beurre manié, a dough consisting of equal parts of butter and flour. Other thickeners like cornstarch or arrowroot may also be use

Types of stew

In meat-based stews, white stews, also known as blanquettes or fricassées, are made with lamb or veal that is blanched, or lightly seared without browning, and cooked in stock. Brown stews are made with pieces of red meat that are first seared or browned, before a browned mirepoix, sometimes browned flour, stock and wine are added.

List of stews

* Baeckeoffe, a potato stew from Alsace
* Barbacoa, a meat stew from Mexico
* Boeuf Bourguignon, a French dish of beef stewed in red wine
* Bigos,a traditional stew typical of Polish and Lithuanian cuisine
* Birria, a goat stew from Mexico
* Bouillabaisse, a fish stew from Provence
* Booya, an American simple meat stew
* Brunswick stew, from Virginia and the Carolinas
* Burgoo, a Kentuckian stew
* Caldeirada, a fish stew from Portugal
* Carne Guisada, a Tex-Mex stew
* Carnitas, a pork meat stew from Michoacan, Mexico
* Cassoulet, a French bean stew
* Cawl, a Welsh stew, usually with lamb and leeks
* Cazuela, a beef and corn cobs stew from Sinaloa, Mexico
* Chamin, a Sephardic Jewish dish
* Charquican, a Chilean dish
* Chankonabe, a Japanese dish consisting of large amounts of protein sources and vegetables stewed in chicken stock and flavoured with soy sauce or miso. Chankonabe is traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers.
* Chakchouka, a Tunisian and Israeli vegetable stew.
* Chicken stew, a cream and broth based dish consisting of parboiled whole chicken and seasonings, primarily served in North Carolina,
* Chicken paprikash, chicken stew with paprika.
* Chili con carne (Mexican and Tex-Mex)
* Chili sin carne (a meatless American adaptation of the Mexican dish)
* Chilorio, a regional pork stew from Sinaloa, Mexico
* Cincinnati chili, a type of chili developed by Greek immigrants in the Cincinnati area
* Cholent, an Ashkenazi dish
* Cochinita pibil, an orange color pork stew from Yucatan, Mexico
* Cotriade, a fish stew from Brittany
* Cocido, a staple home-cooked stew in Spain. In Portugal, it is called cozido.
* Daube. a French stew
* Dike. a Mexican stew, consisting heavily of beef, potatoes, beans and onions. Sometimes referred to as Bourche.
* Fabada Asturiana, a Spanish bean and meat stew
* Feijoada, Brazilian or Portuguese bean stew.
* Gaisburger Marsch, a German dish of stewed beef served with Spätzle and cooked potatoes, from Swabia
* Ghormeh Sabzi, an Iranian stew
* Goulash, a Hungarian paprika stew
* Gumbo, a Louisiana creole dish thickened with okra.
* Hasenpfeffer, a sour, marinaded rabbit stew from Germany
* Haleem, a Pakistani lentil/beef stew.
* Hayashi rice, a Japanese dish of beef, onions and mushrooms stewed in a red wine and demi-glace sauce, served with rice
* Irish stew, made with lamb or mutton, potato, onion and parsley
* Jjigae, a diverse range of spicy Korean stews.
* Karelian hot pot
* Khash, a stew from Armenia and Georgia.
* Khoresht, a diverse range of Persian stews, often prepared with liberal amounts of saffron.
* Lancashire Hotpot, an English stew
* Locro, a South American stew (mainly in the Andes region)
* Nikujaga, a Japanese beef and potato stew
* Olla podrida, a Spanish red bean stew
* Perpetual stew
* Peperonata, an Italian stew made with peppers
* Pescado Blanco, a famous white fish stew from Patzcuaro Michoacan Mexico
* Pörkölt, a Hungarian meat stew resembling goulash, flavoured with paprika
* Pot au feu, a simple French stew
* Puchero, a South American stew
* Ragout, a highly seasoned French stew
* Ratatouille, a French vegetable stew
* Red cooking, a Chinese stewing technique.
* Sancocho, a stew from the Caribbean
* Stoofvlees, a Belgian beef stew with beer, mustard and laurel
* Tajine, a Moroccan stew, named after the conical pot in which it is traditionally cooked and/or served in.
* Tharid a traditional Arab stew made of bread in broth
* Waterzooi, a Belgian stew

Steaming

Steaming is a method of cooking using steam. Steaming is considered a relatively healthier cooking technique and capable of cooking almost all kinds of food.

Method

Steaming works by first boiling water, causing it to evaporate into steam; the steam then carries heat to the food, thus cooking the food. Such cooking is most often done by placing the food into a
steamer, which is typically a circular container made of metal or bamboo. The steamer usually has a lid that is placed on the top of the container during cooking to allow the steam to cook the food.
When a steamer is unavailable, a wok filled less than half with water is a decent replacement by placing a metal frame made of stainless steel in the middle of the wok. Some modern home microwave ovens include the structure to cook food by steam evaporated from a separate water container, providing a similar result to being cooked by fire. Although the food can be separated from the boiling water, it is usually intended to have direct contact with the steam, resulting in a moist texture to the dishes.

Simmering

Simmering is a cooking technique in which foods are cooked in hot liquids kept at or just barely below the boiling point of water (at average sea level air pressure), 100°C (212°F). To keep a pot
simmering, one brings it to a boil and then adjusts the heat downward until just before the formation of steam bubbles stops completely. Water normally begins to simmer at about 94°C (200°F).

Professional chefs debate the appropriate temperature and appearance of simmering liquids constantly, with some saying that a simmer is as low as 82°C (180°F).
Simmering ensures gentler treatment than boiling to prevent food from toughening and/or breaking up. Simmering is usually a rapid and efficient method of cooking.

Food that is simmered in milk or cream instead of water is referred to as creamed.
In Japanese cuisine, simmering is considered one of the four essential cooking techniques (along with grilling, steaming, and deep frying).

In Argentina, simmered water is considered essential to make mate correctly.

Braising

Braising (from the French “braiser”) is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavour.

Braising relies on heat, time, and moisture to successfully break down tough connective tissue and collagens in meat; making it an ideal way to cook tougher cuts. Many classic braised dishes such as Coq au Vin are highly-evolved methods of cooking tough and unpalatable foods. Swiss steak, and pot roast are braised dishes.

Pressure cooking and slow cooking (e.g., crockpots) are forms of braising.Most braises follow the same basic steps. The food to be braised (meat, poultry, but also vegetables or mushrooms) is first seared in order to brown its surface and enhance its flavor. A cooking liquid that often includes an acidic element, such as tomatoes, beer, or wine, is added to the pot, often with stock, to not quite cover the meat. The dish is cooked covered at a very low simmer until meat is
fork tender. Often the cooking liquid is finished to create a sauce or gravy.

A successful braise intermingles the flavours of the foods being cooked and the cooking liquid. Also, the dissolved collagens and gelatins from the meat enrich and add body to the liquid. Braising is economical, as it allows the use of tough and inexpensive cuts, and efficient, as it often employs a single pot to cook an entire meal.
Braised pork spare ribs with preserved mustard greens.
Familiar braised dishes include pot roast, beef stew, Swiss steak, chicken cacciatore, goulash, Carbonade Flamande, braised tilapia and beef bourguignon, among others.

Braising is also used extensively in the cuisines of Asia, particularly Chinese cuisine

Boiling in cookery

Boiling in cookery
Boiling water

In cookery, boiling is the method of cooking food in boiling water, or other water-based liquid such as stock or milk. Simmering is gentle boiling, while in poaching the cooking liquid moves but
scarcely bubbles.
Boiling is a very harsh technique of cooking. Delicate foods such as fish cannot be cooked in this fashion because the bubbles can damage the food. Foods such as red meat, chicken, and root vegetables can be cooked with this technique because of their tough texture.

The open-air boiling point of water is typically considered to be 100 °C or 212 °F.
Depending on the type of food and the elevation, the boiling water may not be hot enough to cook the food properly. Similarly, increasing the pressure as in a pressure cooker raises the
temperature of the contents above the open air boiling point.

Adding a water soluble substance, such as salt or sugar also increases the boiling point. This is called boiling-point elevation. However, the effect is very small, and the boiling point will be
increased by an insignificant amount. Due to variations in composition and pressure, the boiling point of water is almost never exactly 100 °C, but rather close enough for cooking.

In places where the available water supply is contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, boiling water and allowing it to cool before drinking it is a valuable health measure. Boiling water for a
few minutes kills most bacteria, amoeba, and other microbial pathogens. It thus can help prevent cholera, dysentery, and other diseases caused by microorganisms.

Foods suitable for boiling include vegetables, starchy foods such as rice, noodles and potatoes, eggs, meats, sauces, stocks and soups.Boiling has several advantages. It is safe and simple, and it is appropriate for large-scale cookery. Older, tougher, cheaper cuts of meat and poultry can be made digestible. Nutritious, well flavoured stock is produced. Also, maximum color and nutritive value is retained when cooking green vegetables, provided boiling time is kept to the minimum.

On the other hand, there are several disadvantages. There is a loss of soluble vitamins from foods to the water (if the water is discarded), and some boiled foods can look unattractive. Boiling can also be a slow method of cooking food.

Boiling can be done in two ways: The food can be placed into already rapidly boiling water and left to cook, the heat can be turned down and the food can be simmered; or the food can also be placed into the pot, and cold water may be added to the pot. This may then be boiled until the food is satisfactory.

Water on the outside of a pot, i.e. a wet pot, increases the time it takes the pot of water to boil. The pot will heat at a normal rate once all excess water on the outside of the pot evaporates.

Baking

Baking is the technique of prolonged cooking of food by dry heat acting by convection, and not by radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones.[1] It is primarily used for the preparation of bread, cakes, pastries and pies, tarts, quiches, and cookies. Such items are sometimes referred to as "baked goods," and are sold at a bakery. A person who prepares baked goods as a profession is called a baker. It is also used for the preparation of baked potatoes; baked apples; baked beans; some pasta dishes, such as lasagne; and various other foods, such as the pretzel.

Many domestic ovens are provided with two heating elements: one for baking, using convection and conduction to heat the food; and one for broiling or grilling, heating mainly by radiation. Meat may be baked, but is more often roasted, a similar process, using higher temperatures and shorter cooking times.

The baking process does not add any fat to the product, and producers of snack products such as potato chips are also beginning to replace the process of deep-frying with baking in order to reduce the fat content of their products.

Basic ingredients

Basic ingredients for cooking basics :

* Cereals

Maize - Rice - Wheat (Bread, Noodles)

* Cooking fats and oils

Butter - Canola oil - Coconut oil - Corn oil - Flaxseed oil - Lard - Margarine - Olive oil - Palm oil - Peanut oil - Rapeseed oil - Sesame oil - Soybean oil - Sunflower oil - Tallow

* Dairy

Buttermilk - Cheese - Cream - Milk - Yogurt

* Eggs

* Fruits

Apples - Cherries - Pears

* Legumes

Beans - Lentils - Soy (Miso, Soy cheese, Soy milk, Soy sauce, Soy yogurt, Textured soy protein, Tofu)

* Meat

Beef - Fish - Mutton - Poultry - Pork

* Mushrooms

Champignon

* Seasonings

Herbs (Parsley) - Spices (Pepper, Salt) - Sweeteners (Agave syrup, Fructose, Glucose, Honey, Stevia, Sugar)

* Vegetables

Cucumber - Eggplants - Garlic - Onions - Potatoes - Squash - Tomatoes

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Chinese cuisine

Chinese cuisine

Chinese cuisine (Traditional Chinese: 中國菜 or 中餐, Simplified Chinese:

中国菜 or 中餐) originated from the various regions of China and has become widespread in many other parts of the world — from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa. In recent years, connoisseurs of Chinese cuisine have also sprouted in Eastern Europe and South Asia. American Chinese cuisine and Canadian Chinese food are popular examples of local varieties.

Regional cultural differences vary greatly within China, giving rise to the different styles of food. There are eight main regional cuisines, or Eight Great Traditions (菜系): Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan and Zhejiang. There is also Huaiyang Cuisine, a major style and even viewed as the representation of the cuisine.

Occasionally, Beijing cuisine and Shanghai cuisine are also cited along with eight regional styles as the Ten Great Traditions (十大菜系). There are also featured Buddhist and Muslim sub-cuisines within the greater Chinese cuisine, with an emphasis on vegetarian and halal-based diets respectively.

Presentation
Pork
Dongpo rou (Trad: 東坡肉, Simp: 东坡肉) Fried pork belly stewed in soy and wine

Pork is generally used over beef in Chinese cuisine due to economic, religious, and aesthetic reasons; swine are easy to feed and are not used for labour, and are so closely tied to the idea of domesticity that the character for "home" (家) depicts a pig under a roof. The colour of the meat and the fat of pork are regarded as more appetizing, while the taste and smell are described as sweeter and cleaner. It is also considered easier to digest. Buddhist cuisine restricts the use of meats and Chinese Islamic cuisine excludes pork. [1]

Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is not uncommon or unusual in China; though, as is the case in the West, it is only practiced by a relatively small fraction of the population. Most Chinese vegetarians are Buddhists, following the Buddhist teachings about minimizing suffering. Chinese vegetarian dishes often contain large varieties of vegetables (e.g. Bok Choy, shiitake mushroom, sprouts, corn) and some imitation meat. Such imitation meat is created mostly with soy protein and/or wheat gluten to imitate the texture, taste, and appearance of duck, chicken, or pork. Imitation seafood items, made from other vegetable substances such as konjac, are also available.

Chinese desserts

Chinese desserts (甜點) are sweet foods and dishes that are served with tea or at the end of meals in Chinese cuisine. The desserts encompass a wide variety of ingredients commonly used in East Asian cuisines such as powdered or whole glutinous rice, sweet bean pastes, and agar. Due to the many Chinese cultures and the long history of China, there are a great variety of desserts of many forms.

Bing

Bing (餅) are baked wheat flour based confections, these are either similar to the short-pastry crust of western cuisine or flaky like puff pastry, the latter of which is often known as su (酥). The preferred fat used for bing is usually lard. One of the more commonly
known bing is the moon cake.

Candies

Chinese candies and sweets,called táng (糖), are usually made with cane sugar, malt sugar, and honey. These sweets often consists of nuts or fruits that are mixed into syrup whole or in pastes to flavour or give the candies their textures. Tanghulu, dragon's beard candy, and White Rabbit Creamy Candy are a some examples of this category.

Gao

Gao or Guo (糕/粿) are rice base snacks that are typically steamed and may be made from glutinous or normal rice. In Fukien speaking Chinese populations, these are known as Kuei, which are based on the pronunciation of "粿". These rice based snacks have a wide variety of
textures and can be chewy, jelly-like, fluffy or rather firm. One of the more commonly known gao is the niangao.

Jellies

Chinese jellies are known collectively in the language as ices (凍 or 冰). Many jelly desserts are traditionally set with agar and are flavored with fruits, though gelatin based jellies are also common in contemporary desserts. Some Chinese jellies, such as the grass jelly and the aiyu jelly set by themselves.

Soups

Chinese dessert soups (湯 or 糊) typically consists of sweet and usually hot soups and custards, and are collectively known as tongsui in Cantonese. Some of these soups are made with restorative properties in mind, in concordance with traditional Chinese medicine.
A commonly eaten dessert soup is douhua, which is sometimes taken for breakfast

Chinese Popular Cuisine Names

Thirteen Great Traditions- Regional Dishes

Anhui (Hui 徽)

* Ginger Duck (simplified Chinese: 姜母鸭; traditional Chinese: 姜母鸭; pinyin: jiang muya)
* Hay Wrapped Fragrant Ribs(simplified Chinese: 稻香排骨; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: daoxiang paigu)
* Caterpillar Fungus Duck(虫草炖老鸭)
* Dry Pot Tofu (干锅素肉)
* Potato Croquets (土豆炸饺)
* Crab-apple Flower Cake (海棠酥)
* Soy Braised Mandarin Fish (红烧臭鱖鱼)
* Friend Tofu Balls (豆腐渣丸子)
* Fried Pumpkin Dumplings (南瓜蒸饺)
* Silver Fish Fried Egg (银鱼煎蛋)
* 5 Colors Fish Cake (五彩鱼片)
* Jade Rabbit Sea Cucumber (玉兔海参)
* Flower Mushroom Frog (花菇田鸡)
* Bright Pearl Abalone (明珠酥鲍)
* Bagongshan Tofu (八公山豆腐)
* Crab and Fish Stomachs (蟹连鱼肚)
* Phoenix Tail Shrimp (凤尾虾排)
* Fuli Roast Chicken (符离集烧鸡)
* Lotus Seed Pod Fish (莲蓬鱼)
* Cream FattyKingfish (奶汁肥王鱼)

Beijing

* Peking Duck (usually served with pancakes) (北京烤鸭)

Cantonese (Yue 粵)

* Preserved-salted fish (鹹魚, Haam yu)
* Preserved-salted duck (臘鴨, Laap ap)
* Preserved-salted pork (臘肉, Laap yuk)
* Chinese steamed eggs (蒸水蛋)
* Rice congee (皮蛋粥)
* Boiled bok choy with oyster sauce (蠔油小白菜)
* Stir-fried vegetables with meat (e.g. chicken, duck, pork, beef, or intestines) (青菜炒肉片)
* Steamed frog on lotus leaf (荷葉蒸田雞)
* Zhaliang (炸兩)
* Youtiao (油条)
* Dace fishballs (鯪魚球)
* Cantonese seafood soup
* Winter melon soup (冬瓜湯)
* Snow fungus soup (银耳湯)
* Northeast watercress sparerib soup (南北杏西洋菜豬骨湯)
* Old fire-cooked soups (老火湯, Lo foh tong)
* Wonton noodle (雲吞麵)
* Beef chow fun (乾炒牛河)
* Shahe fen (沙河粉)
* Char siu (叉烧)
* Roast goose (燒鵝)
* Roasted pig (燒肉)
* White cut chicken (白切雞)
* Orange cuttlefish (鹵水墨魚)
* Brine-soaked duck (滷水鴨)
* Soy sauce chicken (豉油雞, Si yau gai)
* Little pan rice (煲仔飯, bou1 zai2 faan6)
* Layered egg and beef over rice (窩蛋牛肉飯)
* Layered steak over rice (肉餅煲仔飯)
* Preserved chinese sausage over rice (蠟味煲仔飯)
* Steamed chicken over rice (蒸雞肉煲仔飯)
* Pork Spareribs over rice (排骨煲仔飯)
* Crispy fried chicken
* Seafood birdsnest
* Suckling pig
* Taro duck (陳皮芋頭鴨)
* Roast young pigeon/squabs (烤乳鴿)
* Sour sparerib (生炒排骨)
* Salt and pepper rib (椒鹽骨)
* Salt and pepper cuttlefish (椒鹽魷魚)
* Salt and pepper shrimp (椒鹽蝦)
* Red bean soup (紅豆砂)
* Gou dim (糕點)
* Shaved Ice (刨冰)
* Deng egg (燉蛋)
* Bao yu (燜鮑魚, Bao yu)
* Shark fin soup (魚翅羹, Yu qi tong)
* Hoi sam (海參, Hoi sam)
* Bird's nest soup (燕窩, Yeen Waw)
* Tea smoked duck (茶燻鴨)

Fujian (Min 闽)

* Popiah (薄饼)
* Buddha jumps over the wall (佛跳墙, Fotiaoqiang)
* Yen pi (燕皮)

Hainan
Hunan (Xiang 湘)
Jiangsu(Su 苏 or Yang 揚)
Manchu

Mongolian

* xianbing 馅饼
* niurougan 牛肉干

Shandong (Lu 魯)
Szechuan (Chuan 川)

* Kung Pao chicken (simplified Chinese: 宫保鸡丁; traditional Chinese: 宮保雞丁; pinyin: gōngbǎo jīdīng)
* Zhangcha duck (simplified Chinese: 樟茶鸭; traditional Chinese: 樟茶鴨; pinyin: zhāngchá yā)
* Twice Cooked Pork (simplified Chinese: 回锅肉; traditional Chinese: 回鍋肉; pinyin: huíguōròu)
* Mapo dofu (Chinese: 麻婆豆腐; pinyin: mápó dòufǔ)
* Sichuan hotpot (simplified Chinese: 四川火锅; traditional Chinese: 四川火鍋; pinyin: Sìchuān huǒguō)
* Fuqi Feipian (Chinese: 夫妻肺片; pinyin: fūqī fèipiàn)
* Chongqing Spicy Deep-Fried Chicken (simplified Chinese: 重庆辣子鸡; traditional Chinese: 重庆辣子雞; pinyin: Chóngqìng làzǐjī)
* Shuizhu, or literally "Water cooked", or Dishes (Chinese: 水煮; pinyin: shuǐzhǔ)
* Dan dan noodles and Bon bon chicken

Teochew

* Yusheng
* Popiah (薄饼)

Yunnan

* Crossing the bridge noodles

Zhejiang (Zhe 浙)