Cooking Sous Vide: The Unique Technique That Can Enhance The Flavours On Your Plate
Image Credit: Wrap the meat and eat away!

In India, the rich diversity of cultures and cuisines presents a very colourful plate on the map of the world. The regional delicacies and the local ingredients and spices is what adds an element of surprise to the dishes. It also reflects the tastes and preferences of the local people. It is not just the food, but also the way the food is prepared that brings out a different shade of flavour each time. For instance, the dum pukht or slow-cooking technique is a royal Awadhi style of cooking that is practiced in many parts of the country today. The essence of this technique lies in the fact that the flavours are infused to the core when the food is slowly cooked. Dum biryani is a well-known delicacy made with this technique. 

Similarly, there are several utensils or items which are used for cooking in other parts of India like handi. The ingredients dunked in a handi work in such a way that the food is cooked itself by its own steam and the amount of oil required for preparation is also minimum. The rich and authentic flavours come out really well in an earthen clay pot. The other traditional technique is that of cooking with bamboo sticks. This one is a popular method of cooking in the North-East where people from Assam and Nagaland prepare rice, fish and meat delicacies in bamboo hollows. The moisture of these bamboo shoots allows the food to cook over coal and their ability to resist heat plays a major role in this style of cooking. 

Now you know that India is replete with not just rich food but diverse cooking techniques too. Along the same lines, the world also offers a variety of styles of cooking which you may not have thought of. France is home to one such technique called sous vide. Although sous vide has spread across the globe today, with Michelin-star chefs from the US employing it in their own kitchens, the reigns of this unique cooking style are still held by the two originators. 

Legend has it that there are two chefs of French origin who should be accredited with devising this technique in their own ways. It was in the late 20th century that Bruno Gassault thought of a unique way of tenderizing his beef. Simultaneously, George Pralus was working on preventing the fatty liver from shrinking while cooking it. Both reached a conclusion that wrapping the meat in plastic would help reach their goal. 

Due to the similarities in their approach, both the chefs got together and worked to bring about a revolution in the restaurant industry with this unique method of cooking. For those untouched by the phenomenon of sous vide, it is the French word for under vaccum. The idea behind this concept was that foie gras once wrapped in a plastic bag and kept in a water bath at the right temperatures, would be able to cook properly and retain the flavours and texture of the food. Often, it was seen that pan-cooking would shrink the meats or lose out the fat which is the essence of that food. 

Cooking sous vide changed the game after it transformed from a safety measure used in hospitals for preserving food and ensuring a longer shelf life to a fancy technique to be used by famous chefs like Thomas Keller in preparing delicacies at restaurants. Today, with wide availability of immersion circulators, home cooking is also possible with this method and it has made cooking easier as all the juices are retained in the meat and the food doesn’t get overcooked at any point. 

Now that you know about this interesting technique, how about making something with it? Here are some ideas of what all can be cooked using the sous vide method. 

1. Sous Vide Chicken Pesto 

All you have to do for a pesto-flavoured chicken is to make a fresh paste and place the chicken in a plastic bag. Add the pesto, salt and other seasoning and shake it thoroughly. Place it in a water bath and your chicken will be ready in no time. You can toss the chicken on a pan for a few seconds and you are good to go. 

2.  Sous Vide Eggs 

If meats can be cooked sous vide, then why not eggs? If you like hard-boiled eggs and find them difficult to peel otherwise, the sous vide technique is going to make them slide off easily. You can then make a sandwich or a nutritious salad or eat it right away with salt and pepper. 

3.  Sous Vide Sprouts 

Trying to eat healthy? Why not make healthy eating a lot more flavourful with the sous vide technique? The sprouts can become tasty once out of the bag. For that, all you have to do is toss them in some garlic and salt on a pan and enjoy!