What is Sous-Vide Cooking?

You are at home, trying to impress friends and family with a meal that will keep them talking for days. You’ve had it in restaurants before and just know you can recreate it on your own…until you realize you can’t. What is the difference? What is the trick? Although it makes sense that professional chefs would understand the nuances of different techniques, how is it that they are able to produce perfect meat dishes over and over and you can’t replicate it even once? Well the secret is finally out; you’re cooking it with the wrong element. You want to prepare the meal with the technique known as “sous-vide cooking.” What is sous-vide cooking you ask? Noja is here to explain.

  • What Is It?
    • As it seems to often be the case, this cooking trick is related to the French. The term sous-vide is translated from French as “under vacuum” in reference to how the produce is prepared. It requires placing your food in a vacuum-sealed bag and then cooking it in a water bath to a precise temperature.
  • What’s the Difference?
    • The moment you bite into food prepared sous-vide you can tell the difference. The water allows it to be cooked evenly. No charred outside or underdone inside. By letting it take a bath, the water distributes the temperature perfectly. The vacuum seal also means that any juices and taste are kept inside instead of leaking out into the pan. You also don’t have to stand over a pan. A sous-vide device heats the water to the chosen temperature and holds it there to prevent over cooking.
  • What Does It Require?
    • While there are some buckets and pots that professionals prefer, any pot that can boil water will do. The key is to have the immersion circulator. This is a heated coil that will clamp onto any pot and heat the water to the temperature you set on the device. It will also, as the name indicates, circulate the water to keep your food in the correct temperature. Some vacuum-sealed bags are needed for the food (a Ziploc freezer bag will do the job). And if you really want to cash in on a trick of the trade, throw in some ping pong balls to insulate the pot and keep heat from escaping.
  • How Does It Change Things?
    • You can now prepare things ahead of time, stick them in a bag in your freezer and have fresh produce whenever needed…and without the stigma of leftover food! Sous-vide your food ahead of time then leave it vacuum-sealed in the freezer. This keeps it fresh. When the time comes, take out your fully cooked dish, throw it on the grill or in a pan for a quick sear and reheat then dinner is ready!

As intimidating as it sounds, once you’ve been able to answer the question ‘what is sous-vide cooking?’ you can begin to practice at home. The results are bound to be favorable for both the cook and the guests.

Noja is a MediterrAsian restaurant with a unique dining experience in the heart of downtown Mobile. We specialize in Mediterranean food using Asian cooking styles and flavors. Call us at 251-433-0377 to make a reservation today then visit at 6 N. Jackson St.; Mobile.

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