The Science Behind Pouring Water Over The Lid To Cook Vegetables
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If you’ve grown up around your grandmother cooking in the kitchen and noticed her pouring some water over the lid that covers the pan mounted on the stovetop, cooking vegetables, what we seemed to overlook is an ancient cooking technique that is underrated but effective. As we grew up and evolved into having our own personal kitchens, this practice was lost in the mix because of technology helping develop cookware that is non-stick, carbon or ceramic-coated. However, when it boils down to actually cooking – especially with dry vegetable preparations with ingredients like cabbage, brinjal, cauliflower, green beans, etc. – there is a tendency for the base of the pan to turn slightly charred and burn the bottom surface of the vegetables that are in direct contact of the flame.

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Although this cooking technique doesn’t employ the use of special kitchen equipment or cookware, using a regular steel plate with edges to contain the water is a great way to ensure that the heat which would otherwise be concentrated on the bottom, is dissipated throughout the pan, allowing the vegetables to cook evenly, without burning. What this does is allow the vegetables to cook in their own juices, thereby preventing the dilution of flavour or the vegetables becoming mushy as a result of overcooking.

Typically, the challenge with dry vegetable preparations is faced with include having to stir constantly to ensure that all the pieces get their time with the heat; or having to use more fat than you would normally like to, to avoid the food scorching or sticking to the base of the pan. Moreover, the condensation and trapping of moisture within the pan helps cook the vegetables in lesser time than what it would need otherwise. The condensation also makes sure that the vegetable preparation isn’t devoid of any moisture, which produces an output that retains the original flavours of the sabzi, and hence enhancing the taste of your food.