One quirky trick to take the FAT out of your COOKING

Hey, if other people can use SEO strategies to drive traffic, I can too.

Have you ever wanted to make a stew-like dish, but have less fat in it?  Like low-fat Lamb Vindaloo? Fat is 9 calories per gram, carbs and protein are only four.  And what if it could taste better, too??  NOW YOU CAN!!!!!

In fact, the reason I use this trick is not because of the fat, but because of the taste.  Fat coats your tongue, and makes it harder to taste the water-soluble flavor molecules.  I know there’s no such thing as flavor molecules, but stick with me here.  It actually works.

If you take the fat out of the sauce, the flavors actually become brighter and more intense.  I kid you not.  In fact, you can amp them up even more by adjusting the salt, acid, bitter, and sugar content.  Taste the sauce, and add what’s missing.  Bland?  Add salt.  To sour?  Add sugar.  Too sweet?  Add sour.  Too bitter? You suck as a cook.  To much salt?  Throw it out.  Seriously.  You can’t fix too salty, or too bitter, or burnt.  Don’t do those things.

Salt and sugar are unbelievably important.  I see so many recipes that say “add salt now … or add salt after you’re done, it doesn’t matter”.  This is TOTALLY WRONG.  Salt and sugar have a huge effect of the ionic strength of your liquid, which affects the osmotic pressure, which destroys the cell structure of meat and especially plants.  Sometimes you want to destroy the cell structure (usually, actually; GET THOSE FLAVOR MOLECULES OUT!!!  MAKE IT TENDER!!), sometimes you don’t.

But back to fat.  We don’t want fat in our bodies (especially animal fat), so we don’t want fat in our sauce.  How do we take it out?  Remember, there’s nothing wrong with TAKING SOMETHING APART and PUTTING IT BACK TOGETHER.

The Lamb Vindaloo had rendered lamb fat and peanut oil in it.  I want those out.  So after simmering for four or five hours, I put it in a colander to separate out the solids from the liquid.  Then I took the liquid, put it in a large gravy separator, and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes.

After it settled, I separated the liquid from the fat.  To make sure I got all the flavor molecules out of the fat, I washed it with water twice, and put that back in the liquid after separating it.  If this sounds like I actually have experience as a professional chemist, sssshhh don’t tell.  But now I have all the flavor molecules in the liquid, AND I CAN THROW THE FAT IN THE TRASH.  YIPPEE!!!!

Now what to do with the liquid.  Depending on the recipe, I might add flour, corn starch, or gelatin.  Remember, gelatin is rendered collagen.  Collagen comes from tough meats.  Jello is yummy.  if your rendered tough meat doesn’t produce enough gelatin, you can cheat by adding unflavored gelatin.  Or plant starches.  Or you might not have to, because you already have enough gelatin/starch from destroying all those cells with salt and sugar.  Like I said above, salt matters.

Thicken the liquid, and put it back with the solids.  You now have your original stew, but with a THICKER SAUCE, and NO FAT.  It’s magic!!!!  Or a sufficiently advanced technology.  I keep getting those two confused.

While I’m on the subject of Science and Food, my other trick is browning meat.  Salt, to break down the cells and bring the water soluble proteins to the surface.  Now you want Maillard reactions.  Recipe: High temperature, high pH, low water, reducing sugar.

High temperature: Peanut oil.  Trust me.

High pH: baking soda.  Milk also works, but yeah.  baking soda.  People don’t trust me on this one and say WTF, but I know my pH.  Use 3 parts salt and 1 part baking soda.  As an additional bonus, the smoke point of peanut oil is between 160-230 C.  Sodium bicarbonate starts decomposing around 100C, and completely decomposes near 200C.  So just add the baking soda to your oil, and when it starts bubbling, your oil is hot.

Low water: Just make sure your oil is above 100C before you add anything with water in it.  Any water will quickly evacuate the premises.  The biggest problem with water is too much of it will rapidly cool your oil down below 100C.  You don’t want that.  See: mushrooms.  Don’t crowd the pan.

Reducing sugar: lots of options here, OTHER THAN TABLE SUGAR (sucrose), which isn’t reducing.  In fact, most sugars are reducing, table sugar is just a bit weird.  Which is also why it is stable for so long. Worcesterchire sauce is my favorite, but be warned, it’s noticeably acidic.  Add more baking soda if you use it.  Most fruits contain a lot of reducing sugars.  Fructose is reducing.  Also useful: honey, molasses, brown sugar.  Lastly, lactose (milk).  Which has the advantage of being quite basic.  Why do you use milk, honey, molasses or brown sugar to brown things?  Now you know.

Know your food chemistry.  It’s the first step to awesome food.  And remember to TAKE OUT THE FAT!!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s