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HOW VEGETABLE, FATS AND OIL IS GOOD FOR COOKING



Vegetables, fats and oil are widely used in west Africa and they give excellent result. They are used for frying large quantities of food. A piece of onion or orange peel dropped into the oil when it is being heated improves the flavor.
Lard must be hot before food is fried. The fried food will not be greasy. This fat is not very widely used because it is expensive.
Margarine is also expensive, but less so than butter. It may be used in the same way as butter.
Shea-butter, if some vegetable oil is added it gives good results.
Fulla-butter, This is the fat skimmed from cow’s milk. it is used mainly by the Fulani herdsmen, but some other people use it for cooking. It has strong flavor if it is not properly clarified.

STEWING
Stewing is a method of coking food slowly and for a long time in a little liquid, in a well covered pan.

Stewing is done by the following reasons:

1.      To keep the food tender; usually tough pieces of meat, dried meat or fish, old and fibrous vegetable or hard under-ripe fruit are used.

2.      By slow, entle, moist heating, the connecting tissues of meat become gelatinized and fall apart. 

3.      The protein coagulates without over hardening.

4.      The soluble nutrients and flavor come into the liquid that is served with it.

General rules for stewing:

1.      Cut food in small pieces in order to expose as much surface as possible.

2.      Use a saucepan with a cover to prevent evaporation and loss of flavor.

3.      Bring to boiling point then reduce heat and allow to simmer: never let it boil.

4.      Use just enough liquid o last throughout the cooking.

5.      Avoid uncovering the saucepan too frequently, in order to prevent the flavor from escaping.
6.
Advantages Of Stewing:

1.      Stewing is the most economical method of cooking because cheaper cuts of meat and tough cuts of fish, coarse vegetables,  and under ripe fruits may be used.

2.      It makes tough food tender and digestible.
3.      It needs very little attention.
4.      It is a conservative method of cooking because the juices which escape goes into the liquid served with the food, therefore nothing is wasted.
5.      Very little fuel is required.
Disadvantages of stewing
1.      It is slow method of cooking.
2.      The long coking destroy some of the valuable nutrients in the food, e.g. vitamin C in fruit and vegetables. Care should be taken to serve plenty of raw vegetables and fruit with stewed meals.

BOILING

Boiling is a method of cooking food in boiling water,  the water covers the food, e.g. boiling plantain or rice .

Boiling is done:


1.     To soften food such as root vegetables, cereals and grains.

2.     To extract nutrient from foods such as bones, calf’s foot and meat etc.

3.     To preserve the nutrient in food.

When cooking food to soften it, place the food in boiling water and continue to boil gently for a short time so that it will not break. Hard boiling breaking up delicate food.

When cooking food to extract nutrient cut into small pieces to expose as much of the inside as possible. Put it in cold water, heat slowly to boiling point and cook for a long time. Beef tea is prepared in this way. The nourishment and flavor are extracted into the water, which is drunk as tea.
 
  If nourishment is to be preserved, place the food directly in boiling water. The heat of the boiling water seals the surface and coagulates the outside protein of meat and keep the nourishment and flavor in the food .

  When cooking old root vegetable and tubers, place in cool water and bring to the boil as these take a longer time.


Advantages of boiling

1.     Boiling is a quick and easy method of cooking.

2.     Boiling makes food easy to digest.

3.     It does not need constant attention.

4.     It is cheap, as tough cuts of meat and coarse vegetables and fruits may be boiling.


Disadvantages of boiling

1.     Valuable minerals salts and flavor dissolve in the boiling water which is usually throw away after boiling vegetables ( where possible save the stock for cooking other foods and for making gravies etc.).

2.     The flavor of soups etc. is not developed, therefore add vegetables and herbs to improve it.

3.     Vitamins C and B are destroyed.



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