Reasons for cooking food

  • To soften it so that it is easy to digest,
  • To improve flavour and appearance,
  • To kill germs,
  • To make it keep for long,
  • To make some nutrients digestable,
  • To reduce enzyme action.

Methods of cooking

The cooking method chosen depends on:

  • type of food,
  • time available,
  • type of fuel,
  • personal taste and preference,
  • money available,
  • number of people to be served,
  • cooking equipment available.

Moisture cooking methods 

(1) Boiling

Refers to cooking food in water at boiling point.  The water should always cover the food suitable foods. –

  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Tough cuts of meat
  • Maize
  • Beans
  • Sweat potatoes
  • Green maize
  • Arrow roots
  • Pulses

Advantages of boiling

  • requires little attention,
  • many foods can be cooked using this method,
  • remaining liquid can be used for making soups, sauces stock and gravy,


  • it is time and fuel consuming because it is slow,
  • over-boiling can break down foods making them loose their flavour,
  • proteins harden and become indigestible in case of over-boiling,
  •  nutrients are lost if water left is poured away.

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(2) Steaming

Moist method of cooking food using steam from water.


  • point to note when steaming
  •  When using the method no water should left in the food.

In the absence of a steamer, food is put in a tightly covered basin ½ filled with water.  Another pan of boiling water is put on top so that water is used for replenishing as it boils.


  • Not the best for meat cooking because:
  • The temperature is too high
  • There is no liquid to soften the connective tissue.


  • vegetables retain most nutrients because they are not cooked in any liquid,
  • colour is also retained,
  • foods are easy to digest so suitable for invalids and convalescent foods for elderly ones,
  • saves time and fuel if steamed over a pot of boiling water in which some food is cooked, – steamed food is more tender and has better flavour e.g fish


  • vitamin C easily destroyed by high temperatures,
  • time consuming because it is a slow method
  • water soluble vitamin lost through steam
  • steaming equipment expensive.

Important points to note when steaming food/Rules

  • steamer should have a tight fitting lid for steam not to escape,
  • water should remain boiling throughout the cooking process and replenishing has to be with boiling water,
  • hygiene proof paper/banana leaves have to be used to cover the food to prevent it from hardening, – the type of food should be the one to determine cooking time


Refers to cooking meat, poultry/fish on a bed of fried vegetable (misepoix).

Def. of a mirepoix – a lid f fried vegetable on which meat poultry/fish is cooked) and wite stick/water enough to cover the misepoix.  It is a combination


  • Nutritious because dish is served with the liquid.
  • flavour well maintained,
  • vegetables may accompany the dish/ used for vegetable pure soup, –
  •   makes tough cuts of meat tender.

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  • vegetables can be slight over loose nutrients,
  • become discoloured as a result,
  • slow so time and fuel consuming,

NB:- suits cakes mixtures, puddings, fish, tomato spinach, potatoes,

  • Stewing

Is a moist method of cooking food in a measured amount of water/liquid and allowed to simmer over low heat and liquid is always served with food.


  • makes tough foods e.g tough meat soft so easy to digest,
  • requires little attention,
  • nutrients not lost


  • if it is done in an oven it is slow so time consuming and fuel wasting.
  • recipy : of beef stew.

(5) Frying

A dry method of cooking food in hot fat in a pan.


Shallow frying

Deep frying

Dry frying


Shallow frying is a dry method of cooking food where it is cooked in enough fat that can prevent sticking on the pan.

Points to consider when shallow frying

1) food shouldn’t be more straw and thick,

2) should be turned frequently to cook evenly on both sides,

3) it should be coated apart from starch ones; why?

  • to give a crispy coating,
  • to prevent food from drying (no moisture escapes)
  • it too hot only the outside cook while inside remains raw,
  • food to be lowered in fat gently to avoid accidents,
  • avoid overcrowding the pan to allow turning,
  • put one piece at a time and allow fat to reheat after each addition, 8) drain foods in absorbent paper apart from meat and serve while hot.

NB:- for shallow frying fat should grease the pan halfway the food. Deep frying

It is a method of frying food fat ⅔ of the pan.

Factors to consider

  • fat shouldn’t be more than ⅔ of pan to avoid accidents and burns,
  • the oil should completely cover the food,
  • foods should be coated with egg and bee combs/flour/batter apart from the starch foods to prevent them from absorbing oil,

NB:- A batter is a mixture of flour and liquid/water/milk.

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Rules for frying

  • use a heavy pan because it gives good results since;
    1. there is no tipping,
    2. there is even distribution of heat
  • the pan should be dry (no moisture)
  • food should also be dried to prevent splattering,
  • oil should be hot enough to prevent food from absorbing/getting foggy
  • avoid overcrowding the pan because it lowers the temperature.

Testing readiness of fat;

  • dropping a piece of white bread in fat and removing immediately-
  • crisy and light golden brown means correct temperature.
  • faint blue haze, rising of smoke means fat is too hot.
  • use of a kitchen thermometer, most accurate,

fat smokes at 3600 – 4200

Reasons for unsuccessful frying

  • too hot fat:- food browns before inside is cooked,
  • food having a bitter taste and dark brown in colour means used fat was impure/tainted with seasonings from previous uses of fat that had darkened.
  • greasy food – means fried food was not drained.

NB:- Always filter used oil and boil it; put in a whole peeled carrot. Reason: helps improve colour and flavour       remove it, cool and store

Advantages of frying

  • quick and retains nutritive value of food and saves time,
  • seals surface of food because of great heat of fat and food doesn’t loose flavour through absorption of fat,
  • adds flavour to food.


  • oil splatters if food is not well drained,
  • constant attention needed,
  • expensive requires a lot of fat and consumes a lot of fuel,
  • deep fried chicken refer to pg 96
  • chapattis refer to pg 97

NB:- don’t throw chicken stock, can be froze and used for spicy soups, cacceroles, boiled rice spiced etc.

(6) Poaching

It is cooking below simmering point.  Water half way covering food in a shallow pan.

NB:- simmering food is basted (pouring hot liquid time to time) with hot fat to prevent drying of the food.

Dry heat cooking methods


  • A method of cooking food near a strong source of heat,
  • Can be both in oven/oven charcoal fire.

Foods suitable

  • goat meat,
  • tender cuts of beef,
  • green maize
  • sweat potatoes etc


  • When using an oven, wrap food in foil paper to:
  • preserve moisture,
  •  to avoid drying.

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Advantages of roasting

  • produces appetizing dishes,
  • oven can cook more than one type of food at same time,
  • little attention required,
  • surface albumen in meat coagulates and seals juices so tenderizes tissues.


  • food shrinks and looses weight,
  • expensive, a lot of fuel used in heating up oven, – only suits tender cuts of meat, –          method refer to pg 98 & 99.


Cooking food using radiant heat can be in a grid/open fire (charcoal grilled).


  • food should be sliced to right thickness i.e not more than 25cm for fast cooking.


  • quick method,
  • produces appetizing food
  • can be used to brown foods like shepherds pie.


  • close and careful attention needed,
  • expensive because only suits tender cuts of meat and good quality food, – not possible to grill using a cooker with no grill.

Method, refer pg 100.

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Refers to cooking of food in an oven using hot dry air

  • Air is heated causing convection current that cooks the food,
  • Hot air rises making the top shelf hottest while middle one is cooler,
  • To get good results, temperature timing has to be observed.

NB:- steam given off makes food not to dry.

Suitable foods;- –

  • Flour mixtures,
  • Potatoes, – Chicken etc.

NB:- An improvised oven can be used e.g sufuria with sand.

Rules of baking

  • oven should be cleaned and shelves arranged,
  • oven should be preheated to right temperature before putting in food,
  • note baking time in order to prevent over-baking/under-baking,
  • lower temperature when the crust turns slightly brown to enable the inside to cook,
  • avoid opening oven frequently since it makes hot air to escape and oven will take time to reheat, making;
    1. cake to sink if not set,
    2. reheating also consumes more energy, (c) it also prolongs baking time.


  • foods have a pleasant flavour and colour,
  • are appetizing,
  • are easy to digest,
  • several dishes can be baked at same time.


  • some foods take long e.g Christmas puddings baked gammon,
  • expensive in terms of ingredient e.g eggs, quality meat, chicken,
  • consumes a lot of fuel,

method of banana bread




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