Chemistry is applied in energy saving cooking then to stop smell depositing while cooking
Posted on October 10th, 2015

Dr Hector Perera    London

Even in cooking chemistry is applied. Remember your kitchen is a kind of real chemistry laboratory.  All the cooking ingredients are nothing but chemicals that is vegetables, chickens, fish or even beef are nothing but complicated chemicals and they are mixed with a number of other chemicals such as in spices and subjected for heating to get cooked. The heating helps to break bonds so that new bonds are formed during cooking. One of the process used is reflux it has many usage in chemistry. It is commonly used in distillation processes. It is also used to catalyse chemical reactions. It also allows heating for a long without losing the volatile reactants and products. Refluxing helps speed up chemical reactions without having it evaporate or explode. By cooling the vapours before it escape the system, the apparatus is able to not only maintain a constant volume of solution but also induce reactions.

Chicken and beef curry

What do we add in making a normal chicken or beef curry? I am sure you all know the list of spices but let me write it again, chillies, cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric powder, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, curry leaves, pandam leaves, lemon grass, ginger, garlic, onions, nutmeg, pepper, green chilies and some oil. All these ingredients have very complicated organic chemicals which have been identified by many instrumental analysis including by nmr [nuclear magnetic resonance] analysis. One might not use all of them but most of them are used in very careful amounts.

Some British TV chefs add them carelessly, no qualitative or quantitative idea. I have seen these kinds of careless cooking in British TV cooking programmes. All the spices have plenty of chemicals and Cinnamon has 18 organic chemicals. They act as antioxidants, antifungal and antibacterial potentials of volatile oils, not forgetting there are plenty of medicinal values as well such as lowering the high blood pressure, reducing the cholesterol levels. So next time you will think twice in eating any spicy food. When you think about the benefits of spicy food, I am sure you would look out for spicy food, not just fish and chips. This is just one spice now you can imagine the number of organic chemicals in other spices. I am not going to list them all here but the idea was to point out that there are a number organic chemicals in spices. Adding spices in food have a number of health benefits as well apart from the taste and flavour.

When we mix the ingredients with chicken or beef or any other food then once they are on the fire, those chemicals tend to slowly come out and react with the food and some escape on to the top of the food container. If the fire was too high, some chemicals escape without reacting properly with the food.

As mentioned before the spices and ingredients have a large number of organic chemicals with very low boiling points. A condenser is an apparatus or item of equipment used to condense (change the physical state of) a substance from its gaseous to its liquid state. In the laboratory, condensers are generally used in procedures done with organic liquids brought into gaseous state through heating with or without lowering the pressure (applying vacuum) though applications in inorganic and other chemistry areas exist.

It also allows heating for a long time without losing the volatile reactants and products. Refluxing helps speed up chemical reactions without having it evaporate or explode. By cooling the vapours before it escape the system, the apparatus is able to not only maintain a constant volume of solution but also induce reactions.

Reflux means to heat your mixture and have a condenser on top. When there is a lid on the cooking pan with a slightly semi-circular hood shape, it help to recondense some of the volatile chemicals so that they fall back to the container and react again. This helps the volatile chemicals to get absorbed into the food in the cooking pan but most of the chefs including our Sri Lanka ladies let those chemicals evaporate into the air without reusing them.

Mind you some Sri Lanka ladies let them deposit on their hair, hands, face and on other open parts of the body, then on clothes, may be a secret beauty therapy, if not why would they keep opening the boiling chicken or fish curries? The answer is to shower with chemicals. Honestly they love chicken cologne and curry cologne. They would never tell you the reason because it is a traditional secret beauty therapy. The reason why we have this is because we need to heat the mixture to cause the reaction to occur, because more heat into system allows the molecules to overcome the energy barrier and make new bonds or break bonds depending on what you’re doing.

But, this heat that you’re adding is evaporating the solvent then the curries run dry quickly and eventually burn the whole thing. You don’t want your solvent to go away so your reflux condenser will cool the vapour of the solvent and turn it back to liquid, which will drip down and essentially you don’t lose any solvent at all. In the case of cooking, some of those volatile chemicals come from the ingredients you add to cook. I am sure some of you understand that the cooking ingredients do not absorb to the food as soon as they are added, it takes time. When a curry is boiling some of those volatile chemicals from the ingredients escape as vapour, certainly piggy back with water molecules.

 Is there any science in British TV cooking?

Most of the British TV chefs without knowing the science of cooking, they just let those chemicals escape without making use of them that means they just cook without a lid on the pan. They are under the impression if they covered the cooking pan, the camera cannot see what is happening so they keep the lid open and cook. I think what a stupid way to cook. In the meantime lots of chemicals escape without reacting with the food. I wonder if they thought that the ingredient vapours must be allowed to evaporate and allowed some of them to get deposited on them while cooking. They are not thinking with respect to science and not applying any science in cooking. In that case they are no better than our Kussi Ammas in Sri Lanka. I much appreciate their effort to cook very tasty food even with such difficulties.

 Which lady would like to cat walk like a Tandoori Chicken?

The time has changed, no more firewood stoves, gas and electricity are there to cook, modern apparatus to cut, slice and grind, ovens and micro waves so why not make the most of these facilities by adding a little bit of science to save energy.  As I mentioned before I have this scientific energy saving cooking technique to save about 60% energy wasted in cooking and also save any cooking aroma depositing while cooking. Which lady would like to cat walk like a Tandoori chicken after cooking, no one, why not use my scientific method to stop it. I didn’t keep the secret, I have revealed the method for the benefit of the public in live cooking demonstrations in several TV channels in Sri Lanka but not in England, perhaps they don’t eat rice and chicken curries unlike in Sri Lanka. The one I did with Sirasa TV allowed me 45 minutes to demonstrate the technique systematically for the benefit of the public. The TV presenter lady Juliana and the gentleman Sameera even helped the public immensely who telephoned while cooking, then we even answered their questions about cooking. Save energy in cooking, stop burning money, stop cooking aroma depositing while cooking by using my scientific energy saving cooking, if not carry on Charlie. Your comments are welcomed


One Response to “Chemistry is applied in energy saving cooking then to stop smell depositing while cooking”

  1. Independent Says:

    “pandam leaves” – very useful in election campaigns !
    I suppose it should read “pandan leaves”.

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