The often asked question to cooks all over is “how to cook”. It challenges me to ask myself how many methods of cooking are there out there that can be applied to a main ingredient. Let’s try this with the ever so famous chicken. And mind you, every part of the chicken can be turned into a dish. Have you heard of chicken feet as a specialty?
I will go in alphabetical order so that we can add-on if we find more.
1.Bake – there are many recipes to bake a chicken; either whole (a.k.a. roasting) or chicken pieces/breasts. We can also bake lovely chicken pies.
2. blanche – you can put the chicken into boiling water first, and then into ice cold water, before grilling the meat. That way you get to lock the juices in. Also the water used for boiling can be used as chicken stock.
3. boil – boiling chicken either gets you a nice chicken soup or chicken can be boiled before shredding and served as garnishing for noodles soup dishes. Also boiling the chicken before grilling shortens the cooking time.
You can also double boil a chicken; this is slow cooking over a few hours, requiring you to cook the chicken in a pot placed into another pot of boiling water. It is cooked using indirect heat for a more even cooking. Delicious but you have to be patient for the end result.
4. braise – this is like stewing; you add liquid just enough to cover the meats (dark soy sauce or just water) and let the chicken cook slowly. This is usually done for tough chicken pieces, like the “ayam kampong” (the tough free range chicken).
5. broil – this is like grilling chicken; we moisten the chicken pieces with some gravy, put them on a baking pan and cook them for a few minutes. These are lovely for sandwiches or salads.
6. ferment – yes you can ferment chicken and bake it thereafter. Sounds like a specialty.
7. freeze – freezing is arguably a method of cooking; cooking without heat. Works for ice creams, sherbets and yogurts, but don’t think you should try it on chicken though.
8. fry – this is common in Asian recipes. There are many delicious recipes for deep frying chicken. We use a “kuali” or wok for this for best results. The other is stir frying. Again, best results are produced using the wok. This is quick and shallow frying on high heat. Juices are locked in and the chicken is cooked in small pieces for quick cooking. Best served hot. You can cook simple one-dish meals, like fried koay teow, using this method. Yummy!
9. grill – one of the more common methods of cooking chicken is to grill or barbecue.
10. microwave – is that a cooking method? You can add some spices and seasoning and microwave the chicken. What cooking method is it then if not microwaving?
11. pickle – yes there are pickled chicken recipes. However, this is best eaten with something mild tasting like fresh salad and plain rice given the strong pickled flavor.
12. poach – gently cook the chicken in some water over low heat.
13. roast – this is another famous method of cooking chicken, and there are just so many lovely roasted chicken recipes that we can try.
14. sauté – sautéed chicken is a very simple recipe. It takes just a few minutes to sauté chicken with a little oil and herbs/a light sauce. Delicious!
15. scald – this is the first process to clean the chicken; scalding with boiling water to remove the feathers.