It is a French term that means ‘under vacuum’. It is the first and only cooking method that provides precise control of the temperature at which the food is cooked.
In essence, it is a more refined version of boil-in-a-bag cooking.
The two-step process involves sealing food in a bag with a vacuum sealer, and then cooking the sealed food in a temperature controlled water bath.
The upside ::
It has opened up an entirely new realm of possibilities and conveniences in the kitchen. When foods at cooked at a precise temperature, there is less room for human error.
The texture of the product can be manipulated with exacting results : Vegetables cooked perfectly al dente , meats cooked medium-rare , eggs prepared to a custard like consistency.
Cooking food in a sealed bag helps retain its moisture and flavor, since the aromas and juices of the ingredients are trapped within the bag.
The greatest advantage of sous vide is its ability to transform cheap, tough cuts of meat into something delicate and moist. Traditionally, tougher meats are cooked over a long period of time at higher temperatures, which squeeze out the juices from the meat rendering it dry and flaky.
With sous vide, the meat is cooked over long durations at low enough temperatures to preserve the meat’s natural juices.
The downside ::
While many pathogens cannot survive in a oxygen free environment, you can never be too concerned about salmonella , E.Coli, Botulism and Listeria. But the infections can be avoided . The food should be fresh and completely chilled (not frozen) before they are vacuum-sealed. And once the food is cooked, it must either be served immediately or chilled to 1 degree celcius in a water bath containing atleast 50 % ice.
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