Sous-vide is one of the hottest cooking trends around, but if you’ve never tried it before, it can be tricky to know how to get started.
It’s not really like many other forms of cooking, but it’s a lot more straightforward than you might think.
We’re going to quickly run through the equipment you’ll need, the techniques to use, and some recipes to get you started.
An immersion circulator is a device which clips onto a container and draws out water, heats it up and circulates it back into the container, keeping it at a precise and accurate temperature.
While these devices used to be fairly expensive, these days they’re much more affordable, with models such as “The Twist” by Sous-Vide Tools available for as little as £99.00.
While your immersion circulator can technically be used with any pot or container, we recommend that you get a specialist sous-vide one.
These containers use plastic as it’s a better insulator, and are available in a range of sizes, often with a cut-out lid which will fit a circulator.
If you don’t want to use a circulator and container, you could opt for an all in one sous-vide water bath.
These appliances are usually used more in professional kitchens, although they do take up a lot more space and are more expensive.
Where to Start
The most common recipe which is held up as a great example of the sous-vide method is steak, and it’s easy to see why.
It can be easy to get steak wrong when you’re cooking it normally, either over or undercooking it.
However, sous-vide removes all the guesswork and leaves you with a steak cooked just the way you like it, every single time. Just be sure to give it a quick blast in the pan to give it a rich, brown crust.
To make chicken safe to eat, it has to be cooked at high temperatures, but this often leaves it dry and stringy.
However, the beauty of sous-vide is that it means that chicken can be safely cooked at much lower temperatures, meaning that the chicken comes out much more juicy and tender.
You might not think it, but eggs are perfect for cooking sous-vide. Because they have a range of proteins which set at different temperatures, a couple of degrees’ difference will have a big effect on eggs either way, so the precision of sous-vide is perfect.
The shell also means that you don’t have to vacuum pack them, because they’re already in their own watertight vessel.
- While ideally, you’d use a vacuum sealer, you can still vacuum pack your food without one. Simply pop your ingredients in a vacuum pouch, and seal it almost to the end. Then lower the bag into a container of water, which will push the air out of the bag through the opening.
- Use a binder clip with a spoon in the mouth on the bottom of your vacuum pouches to stop air bubbles rising, and causing the bags to float in the water.
- Especially if you’re cooking for a long period of time, lots of water can be lost through evaporation. One way which you can solve this is by floating a layer of ping pong balls on the surface, which will help to insulate the bath.