Dr Hector Perera London
Cooking or cookery is an art, a technology and a craft of preparing food suitable for human consumption with the use of heat. The cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, like grilling food over an open wood fire or using electric stoves, to baking then direct heat cooking and a few more other types of cooking. Most people prepare or cook in their own dwellings and by professional cooks and chefs in restaurants and other food establishments. Cooking can also occur through chemical reactions without the presence of heat. Sri Lankans prepare green chillies pickles and lime pickles without any heat.
Most British TV chefs cook this way
When we cook with direct heat, it is very important not to waste energy and also not to let the cooking aroma deposit on them while cooking. One of the important reasons is wasting energy means wasting money then the excess fire tend to give off cooking aroma so that it escapes making one to inhale. Inhaling cooking aroma can lead to cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and many more things. Who would like to get cooking aroma on them then on their clothes and walk up and down like tandoori chickens? Sometimes these so called professional chefs come to TV shows to demonstrate their skills but sometimes their cooking are not really acceptable due to a few reasons. The other day I was watching a cooking demonstration where the chef cut the top and bottom of a large red onion and placed it on piping hot butter in a cooking pan. The outer brown peel of the onion was still there while cooking then later he removed by touching with fingers, who would say that is right? There are germs, soil particles with traces of fertilizers are still on the roots and may be between the outer brown peels of onions. The chef expects the other chefs to follow his work but to me his work was not quite acceptable. Then he cut some mushrooms and fried with butter then while the cooking aroma escapes, the pan caught fire but he carried on cooking for another few minutes. The training chefs thought that must be the way then they also followed and set fire to cooking aroma with a lighter.
The cooking aroma and the chemicals in it
An aroma-compound, also known as an odorant, aroma, fragrance, or flavour, is a chemical compound that has a smell or odour. A chemical-compound has a smell or odour when it is sufficiently volatile to be transported to the olfactory system in the upper-part of the nose.
Generally molecules meeting this specification have molecular weights of <300. Flavours affect both the sense of taste and smell, whereas fragrances affect only smell. Flavours tend to be naturally occurring, and fragrances tend to be synthetic. Aroma-compounds can be found in food, wine, spices, perfumes, fragrance oils, and essential oils. For example, many form biochemically during the ripening of fruits and other crops. In wines, most form as by-products of fermentation. Also, many of the aroma-compounds play a significant role in the production of flavourings, which are used in the food-service industry to flavour, improve, and generally increase the appeal of their products.
An odorizer may add an odorant to a dangerous odourless substance, like propane, natural gas, or hydrogen, as a safety measure.
Chicken meat flavour is thermally derived and the Maillard reaction, thermal degradation of lipids, and interaction between these 2 reactions are mainly responsible for the generation of flavour and aroma compounds. The reaction of cysteine and sugar can lead to characteristic meat flavour special for chicken and pork. Volatile compounds including 2-methyl-3-furanthiol, 2-furfurylthiol, methionol, 2,4,5-trimethyl-thiazole, nonanol, 2-trans-nonenal, and other compounds have been identified as important for the flavour of chicken. However 2-methyl-3-furanthiol is considered as the most vital chemical compound for chicken flavour development. In addition, a large number of heterocyclic compounds are formed when higher temperature and low moisture conditions are used during certain cooking methods of chicken meat such as roasting, grilling, frying or pressure cooking compared to boiled chicken meat.
Chemicals in fried chicken aroma
Major volatile compounds responsible for fried chicken are 3,5-dimethyl-1,2,4-trithiolanes, 2,4,6-trimethylperhydro-1,3,5-dithiazines, 3,5-diisobutyl-1,2,4-trithiolane, 3-methyl-5-butyl-1,2,4-trithiolane, 3-methyl-5-pentyl-1,2,4-trithiolane, 2,4-decadienal and trans-4,5-epoxy-trans-2-decenal. Alkylpyrazines were reported in the flavours of fried chicken and roasted chicken but not in chicken broth. The main reason for flavour deterioration and formation of undesirable “warmed over flavour” in chicken meat products are supposed to be the lack of α-tocopherol in chicken meat. Now you see what’s in your cooking aroma that showers you while cooking then walk up and down like a tandoori chicken.
Not only some Sri Lanka ladies shower with cooking and chicken cologne while cooking, nearly all British chefs as well do the same. I have a feeling they are not thinking scientifically, just like our good old “kussi ammas” in Sri Lanka.
How about cooking dry fish and prawns
Dr Hector Perera