8 Do's And Don'ts Of Slow Cooking Every Home Should Know

Slow cooking is the perfect way to let ingredients and spices combine at low flame. It elevates the flavours of the dish, and therefore, the technique is considered the ideal choice for cooking stews, soups, meat-based dishes, and sauces. It allows you to keep the temperature in check and ensures that spices are roasted to perfection.

If you are an Indian, you know how long it takes to make biryani. You need the rice to absorb the flavours of spices, vegetables, and meat. Therefore, the assembled biryani is cooked on dum (pot is sealed from all sides) to ensure the dish comes together and no ingredient is burnt during the process. 

To ace the method of slow cooking, you must keep a few do’s and don’ts in mind.

Do Use The Right Container

Whether you are using an electric cooker or a kadhai, make sure its size is appropriate. Slow cooking works best with large pots that are either half or three-quarter full. It allows space for steam to build up and promotes even cooking of ingredients. Whether you plan on making soup or cooking meat, make sure the pot is large enough to contain ingredients and avoid filling it to the brim.

Don’t Add Herbs Early

Herbs like mint, basil, and even fresh coriander leaves do not take much time to cook. If you add these in the beginning, they will lose their texture and aroma in the process of slow cooking. If your recipe requires adding fresh aromatic ingredients, you must do it within the last 30 minutes of completion. It will keep the essence of these herbs intact and keep the flavours balanced.

Do Saute Meat Beforehand

Slow cooking is the process of infusing flavours. It does not cook ingredients from scratch. Chefs use this technique to cook semi or fully-done ingredients. If you are planning to slow-cook meat, make sure to saute it in a pan before so that it has a brown texture. Even if it is half done, cooking on a low flame will tenderise the pieces, enhance the taste, and make the pieces succulent.

Don’t Overuse Alcohol

In traditional cooking, alcohol evaporates when you are cooking a dish on a medium or high flame. However, in slow cooking, it cannot evaporate because the pot remains sealed. Therefore, if you add any spirit in large quantities, it will overpower all other flavours in the dish. Moreover, it will likely add a bitter note to the recipe that you might not cherish.

Do Add Water In Moderation

Whether you are adding water or broth, you must keep the amount less than what you will add traditionally. When you cook on a high flame, the water tends to evaporate quickly. Therefore, you add more. However, in slow cooking, the lid remains closed and water cannot evaporate. If you add liquid in a large quantity, the finished product will be soupy, unless that is what you were trying to achieve.

Don’t Use Lean Meat Alone

Lean meat includes red meat, prawns, chicken, turkey, lamb, oysters, pork, and more. Whenever your recipe has these meat options, do not cook the pieces alone on a low flame. Add some broth along with butter and oil. You can also make cuts on meat pieces to allow them to absorb spices and moisture. It will help to keep the meat tender and succulent. If you slow-cook lean meat alone on a low flame setting, it will likely come out dry and chewy.

Do Layer Correctly

It is crucial to layer the ingredients correctly when you are planning to slowly cook them. If you add ingredients with a low burning temperature at the bottom, your dish is more likely to get ruined. Layering of biryani is the best way to understand the concept. The first layer is of vegetables that are hard to cook. The second layer is meat, and the third layer is rice. You can top rice with saffron milk to add moisture. You should layer ingredients depending on the time they need to cook.

Don’t Forget To Defrost Ingredients

Since you are planning to cook ingredients slowly, it does not give you the liberty to avoid thawing. If you do not defrost vegetables or meat properly before cooking, they will take forever to cook. Since you will be cooking with a timer, it is highly likely that the ingredients will not cook properly and you will end up with chewy and raw ingredients in a dish.