Saturday, November 8, 2008

How to boil water like you mean it!

I often have to cook foods in boiling water. It's practically a default reaction and a culinary practice most people are used to. Pot. Water. Stove. High heat. Wait for bubbles. As much as I love a good rolling boil, I've always felt that it's the next step where people go awry.


Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I think flavour should come from every single step in the cooking process. There are many ways to enrich the flavour of a dish and I usually try to add it to the boiling water. I used to think only my mother could could rice properly. White rice I had tried from other sources tasted bland in comparison until she told me she always cooked it in water with a chicken bouillon cube thrown in instead of salt. I have a short list of things I like to add when I cook anything in water, especially pastas, rice, eggs, grains, vegetables and meats. I always add salt when cooking vegetables and it helps retain their colour, but when cooking most foods you could always try adding anything from this list you think applies.

  • Curry

  • Chicken stock/cube

  • Cinnamon Sticks

  • Bovril (beef stock)

  • fish stock

  • Clam juice

  • Fresh Herbs

  • Onion, garlic and chives in a cheese cloth

  • Olive oil

  • Almond, sesame (or other nut) oil

  • Vinegar (especially flavour infused rice or wine vinegars)

  • Raw vegetables (even if they're a bit old)

This list is not by any means complete. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to post in comments.

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