Sous vide is the process of cooking food under water in an airtight plastic or jar. It requires heating water under a steady temperature throughout the cooking process. This allows the food to cook evenly, retain its moisture, and better absorb the flavors of its spices. As a result, fish, chicken, beef, pork, and lamb cooked through this method become juicy, tender, and savory.
Aside from cooking meat, the sous vide method also works in cooking different types of vegetables and fruits. Through this method, vegetables retain their crunchiness and vibrancy. Meanwhile, fruits-- especially when being turned into compote-- absorb the sugars more effectively without losing their chunky forms.
With the right cooking tools and ingredients, anyone can master this French cooking method. This recipe of ‘Spicy Ginger-Soy Pork Steak with Mushroom and Cauliflower Side Dish’ will show you how easy it is to prepare a sous vide meal in simple steps:
Prepare the right tools for sous vide. Below are the basic items required for this French cooking method:
1. Sous vide cooker:
Option 1: Slow cooker - The most economical and easy way to cook food through sous vide is by using a slow cooker. Slow cookers require minimal attention as you can just leave them to operate on their own for up to 12 hours under low and steady temperature.
Option 2: Precision cooker- A more expensive yet effective type of cooker for sous vide is a precision cooker. Precision cookers are specifically designed with accurate temperature control and timer settings for cooking different types of sous vide meals.
Option 3: A cauldron, a stovetop, and a cooking thermometer - If you don’t have either types of cooker in your kitchen, you may use a cauldron and a stovetop for your sous vide instead. Place the bath water in the cauldron and heat it on your stovetop until the temperature for the sous vide is reached. You may then place the bag of food inside it. Use a cooking thermometer (either digital or manual) to monitor the temperature of the bath water. Make sure that the target temperature remains stable all throughout the cooking process.
2. Airtight bag:
Some individuals use mason jars for sous vide. However, many professional chefs discourage the use of this type of container due to the following reasons:
- Most mason jars are incapable of withstanding high heat for long periods of time. Due to the increase in pressure caused by the hot bathwater, a lidded mason jar may crack or explode inside the cooker or the cauldron.
- The upright position of a mason jar may leave the top portion of the food uncooked, especially if there is a significant amount of space inside it. This is why airtight plastic bags are still the most popular food containers for sous vide.
Our best recommendation for convenient and effective sous vide are vacuum sealer bags. One of the highest rated vacuum sealer bags in the market is Save It Fresh brand. It received a lot of positive reviews from netizens due to its notable heavy duty qualities. Its plastic is up to three times stronger than most brands, and it is compatible with any clamp-style vacuum sealing machine.
Because of its non-toxic quality and its ability to withstand extreme temperature, Save It Fresh Vacuum Sealer Bags has also become one of the most recommended brand for sous vide. Learn more about this product at https://saveitfresh.com/shop.
After preparing the required equipment, it’s time to prepare the cooking ingredients. Note that this meal contains two sous vide recipes-- one for the steak, and the other for the vegetable side dish. You may start with either of the two, as long as you follow the proper sous vide procedure.
For the steak:
- 2 pounds of pork steak
- 1/2 cup of minced onions (use red onions for stronger flavor, or use white for a more sweet and subtle aftertaste)
- 1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of minced ginger
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of minced red chili (add more if desired)
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Rub the steak slabs with the mixture and place inside Save It Fresh Vacuum Sealer Bags. Pour any remaining sauce into the bag before sealing it.
Set the bath-water’s temperature to 120°F (49°C) for rare steak, 140°F (60°C) for medium, or to 160°F (70°C) for well-done.
Soak the vacuum-sealed steak into the bathwater once it has reached your target temperature. The required amount of hours for the steak slab to cook may vary on its doneness. For rare steak- leave the slab to cook in the bath water for 2 hours, for medium- leave the slabs to cook for 4 hours, and for well-done, leave the slab to cook for 3 hours.
Remove the vacuum-sealed bags from the bathwater after the designated time. You may sear the surface of your steak on a skillet to give it a slightly brown finish, or you may serve it straight on the plate with the vegetable side dish.
Prepare the ingredients for the side dish:
- 1 cup of cauliflower (chopped into bite-sized chunks)
- 1 medium sized carrot (Julienne slices)
- A pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
Toss all the ingredients in a bowl, then place all the contents inside Save It Fresh Vacuum Sealer Bags. If you prefer to cook your carrot whole, you may peel it and place it in a separate bag from the cauliflower.
Set the bathwater’s temperature at 180°F (80°C). For a whole carrots, set the water bath at 194°F (90°C).
Soak the vacuum-sealed steak into the bathwater once it has reached your target temperature. Let the cauliflower and the julienne-slice carrots cook for 8 minutes. For a whole carrot, cook for 15 minutes.
You may serve the vegetable beside the steak on the same plate, or you may serve it on a smaller platter.