Sunday July 13 2014

Different ways of preparing vegetables

By Henry Wanyama

Boiling or simmering

Like sautéing, boiling vegetables is a quick technique. When you want to retain the flavour and crispness of vegetables such as green beans, broccoli and carrots ,wait until the water is at a full boil. Blanch them-- toss in the vegetables and cook them quickly. Simmering also uses water to cook vegetables, but at a lower temperature, before the water begins to boil. This slow-cooking technique is great for dried bean, potatoes, beets and other root vegetables that require longer periods of cooking in order to become tender.

Kitchen tip: Adding salt to boiling water enhances the flavor of vegetables. Don’t overdo it. Vegetables shouldn’t taste salty. And of course excess salt increases the risk of high blood pressure.

Roasting vegetables such as asparagus, squash, or onions is as simple as putting them on a baking sheet, drizzling them with a little vegetable oil, and popping them in a 400-degree oven. “The high oven temperature of roasting cooks meat and vegetables quickly and caramelises the sugars on the surface, creating a crunchy and sweet flavour. Roasting preserves minerals, but also flavours that can be lost with boiling.
Kitchen tip: Build a meal around foods that can all be roasted in the oven, such as roasted chicken, fish and vegetables. Seasonings such as bay leaves, garlic, or mixed spices can be added for flavour.

Steaming cooks vegetables without submersing them in water, so they are more likely to retain vitamins and minerals. Unlike sautéing, steaming doesn’t require oil. It is good if you’re watching calories. You could steam broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, leafy greens like spinach, dodo, buga and other relatively tender vegetables.
Kitchen tip: Aromatic spices such as cinnamon sticks, and ginger can be added to the steaming liquid to permeate vegetables with subtle flavour.

When the weather is warm, grill vegetables outside on the barbecue. This locks in flavour and gives them a crispy sweetness. This is a terrific way to prepare corn, sweet peppers, onions, and a variety of other vegetables.

Kitchen tip: If you have a gas cook top, you can grill vegetables inside all year round. Hold the vegetables with tongs above the flame, turning to cook them evenly. You could place vegetables on a grilling basket over the flame. Bell peppers are perfect over a stove top.

The writer presents Kitchen Delight on NTV