Someone has rightly quoted, "Cooking is an art" and we couldn't agree more. Unlike other artistic mediums, it has the ability to engage all senses. A dish can be made in more ways than one and yet taste differently. However, one mistake can make the whole dish tasteless and unappetising. Hence, it is imperative to know the technique to perfect a delicacy. One of the most common dishes where technique can make or break the dish is chicken. You definitely wouldn't want Tandoori Chicken or Grilled Chicken to be parched and dry just because you missed out on the correct technique to prepare it. What makes a chicken dish perfect is its tenderness and juicy texture.
Now that we are talking about chicken, we bring you some amazingly simple and doable ways to keep your chicken moist and flavoursome. Worry not; it is no rocket science, just plain techniques that need to be worked out well. According to Chef Amit Bhatia from The Sassy Spoon, Mumbai, "There are three things that matter most while you cook chicken. One is marination, second is correct temperature in which it is being cooked, and third is the time required for cooking. For example if you are making a Tandoori Chicken, baking it or grilling it, make sure you coat it with butter while it is cooking as it will help keep your chicken moist. Ensure that you do not overcook chicken as it may dry out and wouldn't taste well."
The idea of a perfect chicken course is its tenderness and slight moistness that melts in your mouth
1. Using a Marinade
Using a marinade before cooking any type of chicken is extremely important to keep it moist. While you marinate the chicken, make sure you keep the marinade moist and seal the chicken for not less than 3-4 hours; even better if you let it soak up the goodness overnight, especially in the case of grilled and Tandoori Chicken. This will help the chicken to soak all the moisture from the marinade and while it cooks, it wouldn't lose any of the liquid content, keeping it tender. As per Amit, for a perfect marinade option, it is imperative to use yoghurt, egg white or even buttermilk.
(Also read:10 Things You Can Make with Yogurt)
Using a marinade before cooking any type of chicken is extremely important to keep it moist
2. A Quick Brine
Brine is similar to marination, minus the use of ground spices and yoghurt. It is a process wherein you soak the chicken in a solution of salt, water and pinch of sugar. You can add whole spices as per your need and the type of chicken you make. You can leave the chicken for brining for as many hours you want to, so as to keep the chicken moist while cooking.
3. Pounding the Chicken
Pounding is the process to beat the chicken until it is thin in size. It can prove to be great for grilling, frying or roasting. Pounding can be done in case of preparing a boneless chicken recipe. It is used to tenderise the piece and helps break down fibers in the meat and allows for a faster cooking, preventing it from overcooking, hence keeping the dish moist.
4. Avoid Over Cooking
If you aren't aware of the right temperature in which you need to cook a certain type of chicken, we suggest you bring a thermometer to set just the right temperature, which will keep you from over cooking the chicken. According to Amit, suppose if you are grilling a chicken, cook it for one and a half minutes on both sides each and leave it in oven for 6 minutes at 180 degree Celsius. If the chicken is overcooked, it dries out and becomes tasteless.
If the chicken is overcooked, it dries out and becomes tasteless
5. The Type of Pot you Use to Cook
According to the book, Diet & Nutrition, A Holistic Approach by Rudolph Ballentine, the metal of which a utensil is made is not only important variable. The shape of a pot or pan is also a consideration and has a great deal to do with the way food cooks. Deeper pots tend to hold moisture inside and keep much of the cooking food submerged. Foods cooking in the center of a huge vessel undergo a more constant temperature and somewhat increased pressure, which further help keep the food moist. In a shallow utensil, since the food is exposed to air and evaporation, moisture is lost more easily than in deeper pots and chicken may cook drier.
The shape of a pot or pan is a consideration and has a great deal to do with the way food cooks
6. Higher Fat Content
A slightly higher fat content enhances the flavour and results in a much tender and moist chicken. As the fat melts, it moistens the cut of the chicken. This is more preferable in the case of cooking chicken breasts.
A slightly higher fat content enhances the flavour and results in a much tender and moist chicken
7. Cook Only Room Temperature Chicken
This is one of the most important ways to keep your chicken moist. Never cook frozen chicken directly as it may result in a dry and tasteless dish. Let the chicken rest for about 30 minutes (or more) until it reaches its room temperature and only then marinade it. Even after you keep the marinated chicken in the refrigerator, make sure you start cooking it after it has the right temperature.
Never cook frozen chicken directly as it may result in a dry and tasteless dish
8. Cook at the Right Temperature
When you heat the cooking dish on the stove, do not place your chicken pieces immediately on the cold pan, as a lot of juices in the chicken will evaporate while the pan heats up. Wait for the pan to reach the right temperature and then add the pieces, so that the chicken starts cooking immediately without losing its moisture unnecessarily.
When you heat the cooking dish, do not place your chicken pieces immediately on the cold pan
Using foils to cover the chicken pieces near the end of cooking may actually prevent the meat from drying out. The foil helps retaining the moisture in the chicken and will make it tender and soft.
Basting is the process of pouring the oil or butter (or any other source to cook chicken) on to the chicken while it is cooking. Basting helps chicken stay moist and distributes the juices equally during the process. If you are grilling or baking, take the chicken out in every 20-30 minutes to pour the oil or butter over it.
Basting helps chicken stay moist and distributes the juices equally during the process
These simple yet effective ways may vary from the type of chicken you prepare. So, now that we have unleashed some amazing tips to keep the chicken moist, do let us know which one tip worked for you the most!