Sous Vide Cooking for the Absolute Beginner - AliciaSays

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Sous Vide Cooking for the Absolute Beginner

sous vide

You may not be a regular in the kitchen and the dishes you cook up could be instant meals you pop into the microwave or just add boiling water to. And if someone tells you that you can cook meals just like a restaurant chef, you will definitely find that very difficult to imagine.

Now there’s a revolutionary cooking method that even newbies can use to produce top quality meals. You are about to be introduced to the world of sous vide cooking.

Okay, so what is Sous Vide?

Sous Vide is the style of cooking food in vacuum sealed bags immersed in water kept at a low constant temperature over a prolonged period of time. This method of cooking used to be reserved for chefs in high class restaurants as the machine they used were very expensive. These days, the costs of sous vide machines have become very affordable and within the reach of the home cooks. Now, you can also use zipper bags to replace the vacuum sealed bags, as long as you get out most of the air in the bags.

How to pronounce ‘Sous Vide’?

Sous Vide is a French word, so the pronunciation does not follow the way it is spelt. The actual pronunciation is “Soo – Vid” although these days more and more people are pronouncing it as “Soo – Vee”. Both are already acceptable, so you won’t go wrong using either.

What are the different types of Sous Vide Machines?

The initial Sous Vide machines were Water Bath machines that were very expensive. They are containers with built-in temperature, timer and water circulation. You add water inside the container, set the temperature and timer, place your vacuum sealed bags of food in the water, close the lid and start the machine.

Another type of sous vide cooking style involves heating water to a desired temperature and then adding it to a “beer cooler”. Cover the lid and wait for a certain time for the food to be cooked. Beer coolers do a good job of keeping the temperature at a certain level for long periods, either hot or cold. Unfortunately, the temperature will not be constant. Even though, it does do a good job for those of you who want an inexpensive way of trying sous vide.

The most popular sous vide machine these days are the immersion circulators. They are small, can use any container like a pot or sturdy plastic container, and some makes cost less than $100. What these machines do is to suck up water into the machine, heat it up and then recirculates it back with the aid of an impeller.

How do I use sous vide immersion circulator to cook?

Some cooking recipes require you to season the food before you seal it in the bags, while with others you season the food after you remove it from the water. Place the sealed bag into the water. Set the temperature and timing on the sous vide machine and start. While the food is cooking, you can go about doing other things without worrying that your food will be over-cooked or burnt. Precision temperature control and timing allows your food to be cooked evenly from edge to edge without over-cooking.

When the cooking is done, remove the bag from the water and take the food out of the bag. Leave to stand for a while. Then, season the food if required and either brown it in a skillet over high heat, or use a blowtorch.

There are lots of recipe books that show you just how to cook various foods using the right seasonings, temperature and timings.

How good is Sous Vide Cooking?

Those of you who have cooked steaks know that if the cooking time is off by even a fraction, your steak may turn from rare to medium rare. Sous Vide cooking allows you to set the desired temperature and your steaks will turn out perfectly as you planned them to. The difference in cooking meat in fats over a grill is that the center may be rare, but the outer parts may be over-cooked. When you slice the meat, you will see that the center is reddish but becomes brown as you get to the outer edge. With the sous vide machine style of cooking, the darker outer ring is thinner as the meat is cooked evenly from edge to edge.

Chicken needs a higher temperature to cook. With higher temperatures, there is a tendency for the chicken to dry out and get tough when cooking with conventional methods. With sous vide cooking, the moisture and flavors are retained giving you tender, tasty chicken.

Cooking eggs is another food that requires exact temperature. If the heat is off by even a degree, the texture of your eggs will be affected. Cooking with a sous vide machine gives you perfects eggs, the way you want, every time.

Is Sous Vide Cooking Healthy?

When you cook Sous Vide, most of the nutrients and vitamins are retained within the bag. Vegetables require light cooking for our body to easily access the nutrients within them. Cooking proteins using a sous vide cooker will convert collagen into gelatin, which is easy for our body to absorb. Collagen is important for our bodies to nourish our ligaments and tendons and also promotes healthier gut hormones. In addition, collagen is good for our hair, skin and nails.

The additional benefits is that we do not have to do prolong cooking in fats, as all that is required is to brown the surfaces.

What are the advantages of Sous Vide Cooking method?

The main advantage with this cooking style is that your food is cooked perfectly and evenly throughout. Nutrients and vitamins are maintained and the food is tasty and tender.

With sous vide style of cooking, you can start the cooking and then leave to tend to other matters. There are sous vide machines that come with an app for you to monitor and control your cooking.

With precise temperatures and timing, you will not overcook your food.

How do I vacuum seal the bags containing the food?

There are a few ways you can do this. A convenient way is to get one of those vacuum seal machines. Some are very affordable and do a good job.

You can also use zip-lock bags and immerse the bag in water to almost the top. The pressure from the water will push out the air. When you have got rid of most of the air, seal the bag.

Another way is to insert a straw into the bag and seal the bag up to the straw. You can use a syringe to extract the air and then seal the zip-lock bag completely after removing the straw.

Which sous vide machine should a beginner get?

When choosing a Sous Vide machine, there are considerations you should take into account.

How much are you willing to spend? Sous Vide immersion cookers start from around $60 to above $400. They can come with WIFI apps that let you control your cooking from wherever you are.

Choose a machine that is easy to use and versatile. They should be easily held in one hand, have easy to adjust controls and should be used in a variety of containers. If you get one with a high wattage, it will heat the water to temperature faster.

Cooking styles are changing and with it comes better quality food. Sous Vide cooking is your chance to cook like a restaurant chef even though you are not a person who cooks often.

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