Want to start cooking Sous-Vide at home? Don’t bother with expensive equipment cause all you’re doing is cooking food in a plastic bag. Instead read my guide on how to cook sous-vide at home without any expensive equipment.
Sous-vide has become an emerging trend in the last few years. First in restaurants kitchens all over the world and now it is making it’s presence known in ambitious amateur kitchens as well.
Many companies are trying to capitalize on this and want you to buy their amazing but usually very expensive stuff to be able to serve the latest in the food technology craze, don’t bother.
Sous-vide is said to mean “under pressure”, that might be true but the harsh reality is that it means food cooked in a plastic bag. Sounds a bit less high tech now right?
What you really need to buy to cook sous-vide at home
You can’t really get started without anything, here are the few items you need to invest in.
- Vacuum sealer
- Vacuum bags for food
A vacuum sealer comes in a huge price range, this one from Ultimate Kitchen will be enough to get you started. It’s yours for about $40.
The bags is easiest to buy online as well, here is 50 bags for about $20. Plenty to get you started.
You’ll also need a thermometer so you can keep the temperature at the right level. Anything will do but a digital one with an alarm one works best. If you cook much at home you will use this for much other stuff as well. You’ll find them anywhere but here is one for as little as $10 that will work great.
I am assuming you already have some pots and a stove, if not why the heck are you reading an article on making sous-vide at home?
The good thing about this equipment is that it can be used for a lot more than just sous-vide cooking. The vacuum sealer is great for keeping food longer, for storing and freezing leftovers. The thermometer is a great tool to have in all cooking like grilling, baking and more, if you don’t already have one you should get one even if you won’t do any sous-vide cooking.
The Stove Top Method
As said before cooking sous-vide is simply food cooked in a plastic bag so a pot of hot water on the stove is all you need. Find a sous-vide recipe, prepare the food according to instructions. Then follow these simple steps.
- Fill a big pot with water and place on the stove and bring to a boil.
- Put the thermometer in the water and check your recipe on what temperature is required.
- Once the water is boiling set the stove to the lowest temperature and adjust the temperature by adding cold water, let the water be a bit too hot since the bags of food will cool the water.
- Once the temperature is reached add the bags of food and check the temperature.
- Adjust the temperature while the food is cooking, if it gets too hot add cold water, if too cold turn up the heat.
This is really all it takes; using this method there will be no problems cooking the food with good results. Also a lot of the recipes in sous-vide won´t require very exact temperatures so the small variations up and down won´t ruin the food.
There are some recipes that will require very exact temperatures that will need more attention to the temperature control.
The Oven Method
If you don’t want to use the stove for the sous-vide cooking you can also use the oven. The principle is the same as for the stove but instead of a pot you can use a deep oven tray.
It does require that your oven holds the temperature at a set temperature but most do so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Place a oven proof tray in the oven. Fill it half full with tepid water. Set the oven to the temperature you need. Place the thermometer needle in the water so you’ll know when the temperature is right.
Then just follow the recipe and adjust the temperature if needed by changing the temperature or adding or removing water.
Make sure to not heat the oven using the grill, this could give too much heat and burn the plastic.
It still requires cooking skills
One big thing to remember when you start with sous-vide cooking is that it still requires cooking skills. As for all other cooking methods sous-vide in itself won’t make your food taste amazing, so you will need actual cooking skills.
Your knowledge of building a dish, seasoning, how you choose to serve your food are much more important that if you cook your fish on the grill or in a plastic bag. For the best results start with a simple recipe and work your way up to more advanced dishes, and always ask yourself this: Will cooking this dish in a bag really make it better?
Are you insanely rich, have an enormous kitchen or are opening a restaurant?
No? Well then buying a bunch of special equipment for making sous-vide Is simply a waste of space and money, the only three reasons to get all that stuff is if you’re rich, have loads of space or are opening a restaurant and feel like sous-vide will be a big part of your menu.
That’s fine, just tell me the last time you used that baking machine or pasta making machine…