nutrition and dietetics

Moist heat method,Boiling Cooking,Stewing,Steaming, Pressure cooking, Poaching,Blanching

Moist Heat Method

In this method, food comes in contact with moisture either by water or steam under pressure. Some common ways of cooking food by moist heat are described below.


Boiling is cooking foods i a liquid (water, bouillon, stock, milk) at boiling point. Boiling is a method of cooking foods by just immersing them in water at 100 C and maintaining water at the temperature till food is tender. Rice, egg, dhal, meat, roots and tubers are cooked by boiling method.


Ø Boiling is a safe and simple method of cooking.Ø It is suitable for large scale cooking. Boiled food is also digested easily


Ø While boiling, water soluble nutrients are lost if the water in which the food is boiled is discarded. Some people may not like boiled food as they nd it bland.


When food is cooked with the heat from water vapors, it is called stewing. This method requires the food to be cooked in steam. Stewing is a long and slow cooking method where food is cut into pieces and cooked in the minimum amount of liquid, water, stock or sauce. The food and the cooking liquid are served together. In this slow method of cooking the liquid is heated to boiling point and heat is reduced to maintain simmering temperatures (820 C – 900 C).


Ø In stewing, the juices of the food are retained and the food tastes good.Ø The nutrients are also conserved better.


Ø Food takes longer to cook.Ø The process is time consuming and there is wastage of fuel.


It is a method of cooking food in steam generated vigorously from boiling water in a pan. e food to be steamed is placed in a container and is not in direct contact with the water or liquid. Idli, custard and idiappam are made by steaming. Vegetables can also be steamed.


Ø Steaming shortens the duration of cooking and helps to conserve nutritive value, colour, flavour and palatability of food.Ø Steamed food is light, nutritious and easy to digest. Such foods are good, especially for people who are sick or people with weak digestion or for the elderly. Young children can be served with steamed food.


Ø Steaming equipment is required.Ø This method is limited to the preparation of selected foods.

Pressure cooking :

When steam under pressure is used, the method is known as pressure cooking and the equipment used is the pressure cooker. In this method the temperature of boiling water can be raised above 100 C. Rice, meat, roots and tubers are usually pressure cooked.


Ø Pressure cooking kills all bacteria and hence the food is safe and hygienic to eat.Ø The food gets cooked faster i.e. almost 1/3rd time than boiling.Ø Saves fuel, time and energy.Ø Several foods can be cooked together in the pressure cooker by using separators.Ø It is not necessary to immerse food in water while cooking and this reduces the loss of water soluble vitamins and minerals.


Ø If food is cooked for very long, it loses its texture and may even burn.Ø Knowledge of the usage, care and maintenance of cooker is required to prevent accidents.Ø Careful watch on the cooking time is required to prevent over cooking.


This involves cooking in minimum amount of liquid at temperatures of 800°C – 850°C that is below the boiling point. Foods generally poached are egg, fish and fruits. For poaching eggs, the addition of little salt or vinegar to the cooking liquid lowers temperature of coagulation. Eggs get cooked quickly by poaching.


ØA variety of liquids can be used (stock, wine, milk, syrup).ØLiquid can improve flavor.ØFood becomes more digestible.ØIdeal for high-protein foods, eg. sh


ØRequires constant attention.ØRange of suitable foods is limited.ØFoods overcook quickly.


In meal preparation, it is often necessary only to peel off the skin of fruits and vegetables without making them tender. This can be achieved by blanching. eg. tomatoes can be blanched in this method, food is dipped in boiling water for 5 seconds to 2 minutes depending on the texture of the food. This helps to remove the skin or peel without softening food.


ØPeels can easily be removed to improve digestibility.ØDestroys enzymes that bring about spoilage.ØTexture can be maintained while improving the colour and flavour of food.


ØLoss of nutrients if cooking water is discarded.

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