What is sous vide cooking?
Sous vide is a modern cooking method, often associated with molecular chefs like Heston Blumenthal or Grant Achatz, that is used to cook ingredients with greater precision. The name literally translates as ‘under vacuum’, and the basic premise is actually quite simple. Ingredients are sealed within an airtight bag and then submerged in a strictly temperature-controlled water bath, ensuring that the food is cooked at exactly the same temperature throughout.
The equipment needed to maintain constant water temperature was initially quite expensive, and sous vide cooking tended to be restricted to giant water baths, capable of cooking several items at a time, in restaurant kitchens. But as the general public became aware, either through eating in restaurants or watching cooking shows on TV, of the consistently perfect results achievable, demand for a home version of the sous vide cooker grew.
The introduction of various home appliances over the last few years means that vacuum cooking in your own kitchen is no longer an impossibility, and sous vide has become one of the latest trends in home cooking. If you’re thinking of trying sous vide cooking for yourself, check out our handy guide to everything you need to know.
If you do decide to take the plunge and purchase a sous vide unit, the crucial question is how long to cook each ingredient for, and at what temperature. Part of the fun is experimenting with producing your own preferred flavours and textures, but this guide to sous vide timings and temperatures is an invaluable resource for beginners.