Chef Rajesh Gupta Chef instructor Culinary Academy Of india
If you were to ask me “What is ‘Sous Vide Cooking?!” I would reply “One of the oldest cooking methods from around the world which we Indians call ‘slow cooking’.”
Sous vide is French term, “Sous” which means under and “Vide” which means vacuum. Time and temperature are the two cornerstones of sous vide, which as a style of cooking was developed by chefs Pierre and Michel Troigros in 1960 in France, and is generally used to slow cook tough meat joints in order to make them more tender and flavourful without losing their nutrient value. Sous vide cooking has come a long way since its inception and has slowly gained popularity in fine dining restaurants around the world making is now a fundament part of any modernist cuisine.
How is sous vide cooking is different from others? Well, everything about the cooking process is different. Away from the burner and fryer, sous vide is a process which needs time and patience. Water is held at a constant temperature using a thermal immersion circulator. Once it reaches the right temperature, food packs are added. A food pack is a food grade plastic pouch which is vacuum-sealed with the ingredients and submerged in the temperature-controlled water. Fat, seasoning, herbs & spices are added before sealing the pouch. Once submerged, the ingredient cooks in its own juices, remains moist, tender and flavourful.
Sous vide takes out any guess work from the cooking process. Following sous vide ensures your food is never overcooked or undercooked owing to the specific time period and temperature for ingredient. Additionally, the vacuum seal ensures the meat does not dehydrate or lose it form; giving it better texture and tenderness. This also means that the original weight, flavour, natural colour and aroma of the food are not lost.
Steak, pork shoulder, shanks, fish and variety of vegetable can be easily cooked with by following the sous vide technique. Steaks are usually cooked for an hour at 50°C while ribs or brisket are cooked at 52°C for 24 hrs. However, these cuts won't overcook due to regulated temperature. In fact, even cakes and custards can be made by using canning jars instead of vacuum bags.
Thanks to the simplicity of sous vide cooking, you only need two things to start this method of preparation. First, a water bath or immersion circulation, which is similar to a portable deep fat fryer, but uses water instead of oil. The second, plastic bags made specifically for sous vide cooking. Just these two items are enough for you to begin the magic of sous vide cooking in your house.
But like everything, the sous vide method of cooking, has its own cons. For starters, neither can you use alcohol in your cooking, nor can you use strong ingredients like garlic. You cannot caramelize sugars or brown meats to enhance their flavours. One must also factor in the expensive equipment cost and the knowledge barrier required for sous vide cooking over conventional methods of cooking as well. You cannot rush the process. Nor can you use any random vessel. All this means the technique is not easy to practice and expensive to master.
Finally, I must say it is one of the most unique cooking methods where we regulate the temperature precisely to obtain the correct doneness, keeping the microbes at a safe level while also offering many choices of texture almost impossible to replicate using traditional conventional methods.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 BrandCai
Agustie on January 07, 2021:
Can we do a special course in Culinary academy of india I to learn about Sous Vide and Molecular Gastronomy . I am working on Princess Cruise Line and right now I am in Mumbai as the ships are yet to start sailing.I have 5 Years Experience on ships right now working as a CDP Specialty Cuisine.
Chef Shiladitya Dutta on January 06, 2021: