A Cooking Genius Should Know All of These Basic Cooking Techniques. Do You?



By: Monica Lee

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Epicurean? Food enthusiast? Connoisseur of culinary skills? Then this quiz is perfect for you. You'll savor all the amazing techniques that make meals more flavorful and robust. It's fascinating how many variations in techniques there are in both dry and wet cooking.

In wet cooking methods, water, liquid or steam transfers heat to food. The maximum temperature of the cooking heat is water's boiling point or 100 C (212 F). With dry-heat cooking methods, the circulation of hot air or direct contact to fat transfers heat. Between the two larger categories, there are so many ways to impart flavor, modify texture and cook a meal to perfection. 

You'll probably learn a few tasty tidbits along the way when taking this quiz, like how some cooking techniques evolved from environmental factors. For instance, in China when cooking fuel (as in wood) was scarce, stir fry was born. The technique of cutting meat and vegetables into small pieces so the food would cook faster and require less wood evolved out of necessity.

But the question remains, will you let the gastronomic genius in you shine through in this quiz? It all boils down to getting as many correct answers as you can. Go on, you have all the ingredients you need to ace this quiz.  

What is the cooking technique used to make a cake?

Most people will bake a cake. The lyrics to the song, recorded by Eileen Barton in January 1950, are a reminder of how things were done back in the day, "If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake."


You've tossed your vegetables with olive oil and salt and used the oven to get a char on them. What technique are you using?

Broiling is cooking food in the oven, using only the heating element above the food. When broiling, the top elements of an oven glow red hot.


What is the difference between sauteing food and frying food?

The only difference between a saute and a pan fry is that in a saute, the food is cut into small pieces and in a pan fry, it is larger pieces, like a fillet. Usually less oil is used when sauteing than when frying.


You're going to deep fry some chicken. Which of these do you need most?

For a deep fry you need to have a large amount of oil to fry the chicken and high heat to keep the coating crisp.


When would you want to deglaze a frying pan?

If meat, chicken or fish is sautéed or fried, the entree is often finished by deglazing the pan's residue to make a sauce. Sometimes wine is used for this purpose.


What is the difference between boiling and poaching?

Poaching is a much gentler technique than boiling. With boiling you have a rolling boil whereas for poaching the food is placed in the pan when the water just starts to boil.


You want to see smaller bubbles that break the surface of the liquid. What are you doing?

After you make a stew, you may need to simmer it to combine all the flavors. Maintaining a simmer requires attention, because as heat builds, a simmer easily can turn to a boil.


What's the difference between braising and boiling?

The main differences lie in the amount of liquid used and the intensity of the heat applied. For braising, there is usually a flavorful broth that covers the food about one-third up. The pot is gently simmered over lower heat for a long time.


You're looking at a tough piece of meat. What cooking method should you use?

In addition to the above answers, you can also cut it across the grain to break down long muscle fibers in the meat to help make it tender.


True or false: searing keeps in the juices of the meat?

To sear meat, you need to brown it in a frying pan with oil or butter. However, contrary to long-held popular opinion, it turns out that searing does not hold in the juices. Searing adds lots of flavor, though,


You are boiling water continuously and your food is not touching the water. What cooking technique are you using?

Steaming works by boiling water continuously so it turns into steam. The steam heats the nearby food, cooking it.


When you partially boil food, what is the technique called?

When you blanch food you place it in boiling water and partially cook it, then plunge it into an ice bath to stop the cooking. The cooking technique is also called parboiling when the ice bath is not needed.


To make an authentic bagel, which cooking techniques would you use?

It not only takes boiling and baking to make an authentic bagel, but also the dough needs to be proofed twice. Bagels are worth the effort, though.


What is the name of the technique that uses a minimum amount of liquid to cook food slowly?

Stewing is a long, slow cooking process. Food is cut into pieces and cooked in the minimum amount of liquid, water, stock or sauce. The food and the cooking liquid are served together.


What is the sous vide cooking method?

The sous vide cooking method cooks food gently, well below the boiling point. After food is vacuum sealed in plastic, it is immersed in water heated to precisely the temperature that matches the food’s ideal internal temperature.


In what cooking method would you use hardwood?

When you smoke meat you'll want to use hardwood, like oak, apple, mesquite, pecan or hickory. Different woods impart different flavors to the smoked meat.


If you wanted to toast bread, what method(s) could you use?

To make toast without a toaster, you can grill, broil or toast the bread over an open fire or a barbecue. Toasting is also a common method of making stale bread palatable


What is the cooking method used in an Instant Pot?

An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker that uses steam pressure to cook foods more quickly and uniformly.


Which of these cooking methods would you use to make hot water?

If you just want a cup of tea and don't want to boil water in a tea kettle, then nuke a mug of water in the microwave.


How is roasting different from baking?

What sets roasting and baking apart is the type of food used - you'd bake a cake but roast a chicken. Baking involves cooking something that doesn't start out as a solid structure - like cookies or a cake.


Cooking doesn't always use heat to finish a dish such as with a gelatin or ice cream. What is another method you can use?

Sometimes a dish needs to be "set" through chilling or freezing. The refrigerator and freezer are all you need to finish your dish.


To make it easier to remove the skin from tomatoes, you should use which cooking technique?

Scalding means to heat a liquid until just below the boiling point, then briefly cooking vegetables in the liquid. This makes it easier to remove the skin of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes.


If you're cooking duck, what might you do to help the fat drain away?

Scoring can be used to decorate the food, aid in the absorption of marinades, and to allow fat to drain from meat while cooking.


What is the cooking technique called that removes fat from soup stock?

Skimming off the scum and fat that accumulate on the surface of the stoup or stock is very important to create a consistent texture and flavor. This technique also reduces calories, of course.


What is the Schwenker cooking technique?

In German, Schwenker has three different definitions. It's a cut of pork, a person who grills this meat, and most importantly, a swinging grill you cook it on. The person who's grilling can also be called the Schwenkermeister.


You are going to make shirred eggs - how will you do it?

You'll place the eggs in ramekins, along with cream, salt, pepper, chives or herbs, and cheese. Bake them until the whites of the eggs have set and the yolks are still soft.


This cooking method is usually used for chicken. What is Cockaigne?

This technique is usually used for cooking chicken using a 'poaching' technique although the liquid is a small amount of oil and uses low to medium heat.


What kind of cooking pot is similar to a bain-marie?

A bain-marie is a double-walled oven pot with water in between the walls which means the maximum temperature is the boiling point of water. A double boiler also provides a similar function.


What cooking technique do you use to make traditional donuts?

Yum, donuts! Make them with a deep-fat fryer for the best outcome.


What method would you use to moisten food while you roast it?

Whether you use pan drippings or other liquids, basting is a method where you use a liquid to moisten food, particularly meat, while you are cooking it.


What type of cooking technique dates back to Roman times?

Clay pot cooking is a technique of cooking food in a non-glazed clay pot which has been soaked in water so as to release steam during the cooking process. The food will be moist and delicious.


Which of these would you make in a Dutch oven?

A Dutch oven is a heavy cast-iron or aluminium pot with a tight-fitting lid. Once heated, it retains heat exceptionally well, making the Dutch oven a good choice for slow-cooked stews.


What does brining do?

Brining is the process of soaking food in a solution of salt and water. By brining meat, you can decrease the amount of total moisture loss by 30 to 40%.


This method "cooks" raw fish. What is it called?

Ceviche (also known as seviche or cebiche), is raw fish that is marinated in citrus juice. Both heat and citric acid are agents of a chemical process called denaturation, which changes the food from its raw state.


What is tempering?

Tempering is often done when eggs are used as a thickening agent (i.e. in custards and sauces). Since a sharp increase of temperature will cause the eggs to scramble, a small amount of hot liquid is added to the eggs first to gently increase their temperature.


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