Most people know how to fry, boil, or grill. Take it up a notch and some may be able to sear, steam, and poach perfect morsels of happiness.

However, there is one technique that’s been all the craze lately, and that’s the sous-vide method. If you’ve ever tried to make raw corned beef from the supermarket, chances are, you’ve used this technique to cook.

The fancy-schmancy French term, basically means you’re cooking vacuum-packed food in a plastic bag, at a constant temperature, over a specified time, to make sure your food cooks evenly and has consistent outcomes. It’s all about heat-control!

You can avoid dramas such as overcooking, undercooking, and the escape of juices from whatever it is that you are cooking.

For example, if you’re grilling meat on an iron-cast pan, you are able to create grill marks on high heat, but then your abundantly thick meat may still be cold and raw on the inside.

If what you want though is tender, succulent, juicy meat, and for tougher proteins like sinews to hydrolyze into gelatine without actually burning the meat fibers, the sous-vide technique is your answer.

There is obviously a science to this, where the cell walls of certain foods break down at certain temperatures, and you’ll want to make sure to pasteurize certain foods for safety.

In a nutshell though, think of sous-vide as dressing your food in a waterproof suit, and dipping it in a warm bath. It helps seal in the juices, and cooks food evenly at a controlled temperature. The technique can be used on it’s own, or as one of several techniques in the process of creating fine meals.

Here are some useful infographics for sous-vide cooking. And a guide of cooking temperature and duration for different foods you are cooking.

There’s also a really interesting Food Lab post on Serious Eats about cooking eggs down to the viscosity you like. (Amazing!)

Finally, if you really want to learn how to use sous-vide in your cooking, ChefSteps has an amazing online course they offer for free.

Enjoy experimenting!

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