Most of us have days when we didn’t have time to cook—whether it’s juggling a five-course meal or just making the famous pea soup after a late train. Even if you have 30 minutes to cook, it would be great to have a magic wand that can instantly and perfectly cook tough cruciferous vegetables and beans. Well, it’s not a magic wand and it won’t be quick, but there may be a handy little chemical in your cabinet that can speed up the cooking time for many stubborn vegetables and legumes: baking soda.
Baking soda has the ability to speed up cooking, charred meat, and fortunately, you can do the same with vegetables. I first encountered this technique when I was obsessed with making creamy vegetable soups. My boyfriend is lactose intolerant, so I searched for a soup that tasted wonderfully creamy without the cream. If you’ve ever had a watery, gritty creamless cream soup, you probably understand my state of fear.
After perusing recipes on the internet, I left my computer frustrated and turned to my cookbook. American Test Kitchen CookbookI found them broccoli cheese soup Recipes (Website has locked subscriptions, imitation recipe around) break the broccoli to a very soft state without leaving it in the pan for an hour or so. Knowing to take out the cheese and cream involved, very tender, blendable broccoli became our only hope for achieving a velvety smooth broth.
I was apprehensive at first. Only a pinch of baking soda in a cup of broccoli? If that’s all, do I even need it? I resisted the urge to add baking soda or remove it from the recipe entirely.rear a touch, Halfway through the cooking time, the broccoli was completely decomposed (which I mean in the best possible way), 20-30 minutes faster than if I didn’t include the dash of baking soda. Continuing, I was rewarded with absolutely the best broccoli soup I’ve ever had, cream, cheese or otherwise, without cheese. I added a few spinach leaves to make it more vibrant and flavorful! The flavor was clearly pure, lush broccoli flavor. I don’t put cheese in it, even for myself.
Why does baking soda soften vegetables so quickly?
dried beans, broccoli, carrots, or potatoes Boiling water breaks down plant cell walls faster than heat alone because of the alkaline environment it creates. These starches gelatinize, making hard root vegetables softer and faster, so you can continue eating.
But with great culinary knowledge comes great responsibility, so be careful. As Cook’s Illustrated explains, Be careful not to make your hands heavy by adding baking soda. A little bit, usually 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon throughout the recipe, is enough to soften the vegetables and brown them quickly. Maillard reaction, what you are looking for. Any more and the vegetables will be soapy or smelly. Now use your wits to soften the vegetables.
Cook vegetables faster with a pinch of this
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