First of all, it is very important to find out what kind of person you are and what is your dominant energy, yin or yang. The key is balance so, through food and cooking methods you can re-establish your body’s inner equilibrium.
Each cooking method also adds a warming quality to the food such that after eating, the food contributes relatively more warmth to the body than in its raw state. Cooking does not, however, change a cooling food to a warming one. If you are a more yang, warm person you should eat foods that induce coldness, and so the opposite for more yin persons.
Which cooking methods do you prefer and why?
- Warmer body and personality
- Dry skin
- Focused mind
- Hyperactive mentality
- Loud voice
- Tense, strong body
- Red complexion
- Cooler body and personality
- Moist skin
- Unclear, dreamy
- Fearful, insecure
- Soft voice
- Flaccid, weak body
- Pale complexion
Steaming – moist, yin quality
• Put 1-2 inches of water in a pot. Bring to boil.
• Place vegetables in a steamer. Lower heat and cover.
• Steam until vegetables are crisp. Do not overcook. Check for tenderness every 10 minutes (some veggie are ready in 10 minutes while other are ready in 30 minutes)
• Save the cooking water as it contains minerals and vitamins. You can use it in other recipes as vegetable broth.
Water Saute – Yin quality
• Place a small amount of water in a pot. Bring to a scald. Add seasonings first , then ingredients. • Reduce heat and simmer until tender.
• Save remaining cooking water for later use.
Waterless Method -Best: Vegetables cook in their own juices.
• Preheat a heavy pan and put in 2 tbsps water.
• Bring water to a scald. Add seasonings and vegetables. Reduce heat.
• Cover and cook slowly until just tender.
Stir-frying or Sauteing – warming quality
• Heat a heavy skillet and brush lightly with oil.
• Keep a high heat and add vegetables.
• Toss from side to side gently with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes.
• Cover and let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes for tender veggies.
• Or stir constantly another 8 minutes for a crisper vegetables.
• Sauce or seasonings can be added at end of cooking.
• Preheat a heavy pan. Brush lightly with oil.
• Add vegetables. Cover and cook on low heat for 30-35 minutes. You can add about 1/2 cup water, cover, and let it simmer 30-45 minutes.
• Periodically hold pan by its sides or handles and shake in a counterclockwise motion to prevent burning.
• Add seasonings 5 minutes before the end of cooking.
Oil Free Sauteing
Method 1 Rub bottom of a pan with a 3-inch piece of soaked kombu. Leave it in the pan while sauteing to prevent sticking. Use medium heat. (Remove kombu at end.)
Method 2 Heat skillet and toss vegetables gently on a low to medium heat. (Add a little water, if you like.)
• Heat a heavy skillet or wok until hot (30 seconds).
• Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl the pan to cover the entire surface. Do not let it smoke.
• Add ingredients such as scallions, garlic, and ginger and toss to flavor oil.
• Add main ingredients, but not all at once so temperature doesn’t drop.
• Toss, flip and swish with long chopsticks or a wooden spoon to coat with oil so the natural flavors are seared in and to prevent scorching.
• Quickly add seasonings and liquid.
• Bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat.
• Simmer vigorously 1-4 minutes. Crackling from the pan will tell you when the liquid has cooked off.
• Uncover pan and add kuzu or arrowroot (dissolved in liquid) or a seasoning few drops of sesame oil for an aromatic sheen.
• Give ingredients a few fast turns over high heat to glaze them well.
• A stir-fried dish is never watery except those meant to be saucy.
• Remove from wok immediately so food doesn’t turn dark or have a metallic taste.
• Serve in a heated dish.
Oven Use – dry, warming quality
Simply place ingredients in the oven on medium heat and serve them in their own baking dish.
• Bring a few tablespoons of water to a boil, uncovered, in a pressure cooker.
• Put in vegetables. Cover and bring up to pressure.
• Reduce heat to low and cook for a short time, or remove from heat.
(Cooking time varies with different vegetables.)
• Cool down immediately by placing pressure cooker under cold running water.
• Remove vegetables at once.
Broiling – warming, dry quality
Brush vegetables with a sauce to retain nutrients and to keep them from drying out. Serve immediately.