What is Cooking?
Cooking is a chemical process where in raw materials are exposed to heat to get a finished product of a certain desired quality with a change in physical state also.
Aims of cooking
Improves the taste and food quality
Cooking improves natural flavour and texture of food. For example, roasting groundnuts, frying onions and Papads, cooking rice and roasting coffee seeds improve the flavour. Cooking meat with spices, rice with spices in making Pulao, frying cashew nuts in ghee, addition of turmeric, curry leaves, pepper in Pongal, blend flavour with one another during cooking.
Too much of cooking lowers the flavour as flavouring compounds are volatile. Over cooked Pulao does not taste as good as well-cooked Pulao.
Destruction of microorganisms
Microorganisms are present everywhere and some are useful in making curd, cheese and bread. Some are harmful and cause infections or produce toxins, e.g., clostridium botulism and salmonella. Some moulds produce toxins. Aspergillus flavus produces aflatoxin in groundnuts, cereals and spices. This aflatoxin is a health hazard.
One of the most important method of protection of food against harmful micro-organism is by the application of heat. Cooking food to the required temperature for a required length of time can destroy all harmful microorganisms in food e.g. pasteurised milk.
Tapeworm or its larvae which infests pork can be killed by proper application of heat. By cooking, food is made safe for consumption.
Cooking softens the connective tissue of the meat and the coarse fibres or cereals, pulsesnand vegetables so that the digestive period is shortened, andngastrointestinal tract is less subjected to irritation. Cooking improves the texture hence it becomes more chewable.
Cooking also bursts the starch granules of pulses and cereals so that the starch digestion is easier, rapid, and complete. When dry heat is applied to starches, they are converted to easily digestible dextrin’s. Cooking increases the access to enzymes and improves digestibility.
By cooking, same food can be made into different dishes. For example, rice can be made into plain, Pulao, lemon rice, biriyani, or combination with pulses into Idli. Wheat can be made into chapatis, Puri, paratha or halwa.
Increase’s consumption of food
Cooking improves the texture and makes the food chewable. Improvement in texture and flavour by cooking increases the consumption of food to meet our nutritional requirement.
Increase’s availability of food
Raw egg contains avidin which binds biotin making biotin unavailable to the body. By cooking, avid in gets denatured and biotin is available to the body. Trypsin inhibitors present in soyabean and duck egg get denatured on cooking and availability of protein is improved. Toxic substances from Kesar Dhal can also be removed by boiling it and throwing away the water.
Objective of cooking
- Retaining the nutritive value of the food.
- Retaining the original colour of the food.
- Prevent the clash of colour.
- Avoid undercooking
- Avoid overcooking