When cooking vegetables most people would believe it to be the most simple of tasks, but if done correctly, you can retain all the vitamins, minerals and the wonderful natural colours. Let’s take a simple vegetable such as long beans and go through the steps taking into consideration that most vegetables can be cooked the same way.
Start off by placing a large pot on the stove, ¾ full of water and seasoned with rock salt.
Bring the pot to a steady boil before adding the vegetables, the vegetables should roll over in the water as the water boils.
Get a bowl ready filled with ice, do not add the water until the last minute as the water will melt the ice rather quickly.
After cooking for 5 minutes, every 1 minute or so after that, fish a single bean out of the pot and bite into it, when they are almost cooked and there is a slight “bite” left they are ready.
Fill the bowl of ice with cold water on top and plunge the “fished” out and almost cooked green beans right into the ice cold water.
When they are plunged into the ice cold water the green colour will jump out at you.
The ice cold water instantly stops the cooking process and they can be left there for hours and will be safe, thereby not cooking any further.
You leave the cooking water still in the pot and simmering gently on the stove.
You then get a sauté pan, add some whole butter, shallots, garlic or whatever herbs, spices and so on that you wish to add.
When all the ingredients are sautéed nicely together, you plunge the beans back into the simmering water for just long enough to heat them up.
You then fish them out again and add them right into the sautéed garlic and herbs, toss them around for a second and they are done!
We should never put a lid on green vegetables when you are cooking them as the entire natural colour will disappear and they will turn brown.
We should never over cook vegetables as if we do that all the vitamins and minerals are transferred into the cooking water, to get the natural benefits from the vegetables we have to drink all the cooking water.
If we are cooking lots of vegetables we should cook them in batches, if there are too many vegetables put into the boiling water it will take too long for the water to come back to a boil and the vegetables with loose their colour. The quicker the vegetables come back to a boil the better. It should actually only take a few seconds after adding the vegetables for the water to come back to a boil, if this is not the case you have added too many.
Every different type of vegetable takes a different amount of time to cook so they have to be cooked separately. If we cook them together, you have to wait for the vegetables that take longer to cook to cook properly and this will ensure that the vegetables that take less time to cook are over cooked.