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What’s a not so secret to faster but flavourful cooking?

Parboiling.

It is a method of precooking food items by putting them into boiling water and cooking until they begin to soften. However, the food item is removed before they are fully cooked as intended in a recipe.

It is similar to blanching. However, the main difference is that in blanching, cooking is halted by shocking the food item in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Whereas with Parboiling, the food is fully cooked during the boiling process. Since it is to be used in a secondary cooking process, parboiled items can be considered as precooked. 

Chefs and cooks often use this technique to shave time off preparation. Especially when they need to finish the food preparation in a different site or when they need to prepare for a large volume of people. Parboiling allows them to serve food as close to being a finished dish as possibly can without sacrificing the quality of the dish.

How to parboil?

  1. Fill a pot with water, ensuring the water level covers the ingredient.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. As soon as the water starts boiling, place the food item in the water.
  4. Refer to the recipe cooking time as your guide when watching out for the preferred texture. 
  5. Drain the water and set aside.

How does Parboiling help in food preparation?

It speeds up the cooking time for the following cooking method.

Typically, Parboiling’s purpose is to speed up the cooking time for the next cooking process. After the food item is parboiled, it is then submitted to either stir-frying, stewing, or grilling. 

This procedure is usually done while in the kitchens as part of the preparation, and then the dish is finished off in the venue kitchen, such as grilling on-site at catered BBQs. When prepping for bulk orders, Parboiling can be done the day or night before, so that the actual preparation on the actual day of the event is less. 

 

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The Parboiling ensures that all the elements will complete cooking at the same time.

It ensures that ingredients that take a longer time to cook will be soft or wholly done, especially if the recipe calls for many ingredients with varying cooking time requirements. Take carrots in a stir fry, for example. When carrots are parboiled, it is far more likely to be cooked through and tender along with the rest of the quick-cooking ingredients by the time the dish is done.

It softens vegetables and meats before roasting.

Vegetables taste wonderful when grilled and some of the vegetables of choice for grilling are dense such as potatoes, carrots, even turnips. But, pretty much, any vegetable can be parboiled. Boil them in salted water until bright, making the last cooking process technically reheating. Or cook them to the extent of preferred charring. 

Parboiling first before grilling (or even frying) helps create a crispy texture on the outside while maintaining a soft interior. French fries are the best examples of this. For potatoes, in particular, Parboiling removes some of the simple sugars which results in a golden crust instead of a darker hue. Parboiling gelatinizes a starchy layer on the surface of the potato which dehydrates and browns during grilling—resulting in a crisp thick exterior. 

As for meats, some people like sausages and ribs parboiled before grilling. It speeds up the grilling time while ensuring that the inside of the meat is moist. The only focus is on how you want the meat to be charred. 

Increase the nutritional value of the food

This is evident in rice. When rice is parboiled, some water-soluble nutrients in the husks or bran, move toward the centre or the starchy endosperm of the rice grain—keeping most of the nutrients intact. 

Increase the food item’s shelf-life.

Again, in the case of rice, when rice is parboiled, the risk of rancidity is reduced, increasing its storage stability.

 

In Summary:

Parboiling is a technique of partially cooking an ingredient in advance to help speed up the total cooking time of a dish in a secondary cooking process while ensuring the parboiled ingredient is cooked thoroughly. 

 

That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!

Ciao for now,
Thomas 



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