“I would never pike on a base of chowder, because balance and texture are so important when it comes to creating a dish. Is there a rich component, a lean component, a crunchy component and a cleansing component? Are all the taste sensors activated so that you want to go back for second bite? Cod works better over a richer preparation like chowder. I would also make sure to choose right technique for cod, I would not poach it, because it would be silky on silky. If it is seared, then it is crunchy on silky, which is more appealing because of the contrast”.
—Sharon Hage (York Street, Dallas)
Texture is what appeals to the eyes of a diner and activates the senses of touch, sound and sight. The characteristics of a dish regarding its appearance, feel to the touch and mouth, crispiness and softness is termed as Texture.
It is very important to understand the correct texture of any dish because texture is one of the most important factor to achieve the desired result.
Food can have various texture depending upon its preparation and dish requirement. Some common food texture are below
- Crispy: Any deep fried product which has zero moisture left in it and makes crunchy sound when eaten. Example Chips.
- Crispy and Firm: The air pocket gets locked inside the product resulting in very small holes making the product crispy, here also the moisture is totally gone in the cooking process. The best example of this texture is Biscuits, Cookies etc.
- Crispy and Soft: The moisture is locked inside the product in the cooking process making the outer portion crisp and inner portion soft, this is obtained by cooking on high flame in preheated oil. Best example of this is Fried Fish or French Fries.
- Crumbly: Similar to crispy and firm texture but with very small moist lumps in the product which absorbs moisture and melts in the mouth when eaten giving a unique experience. This is because of the extra fat present which makes the product short and prevents the mixture from becoming hard. The best example of this kind of foods is Nankhatai, Shortcrust Pastries, etc.
- Flaky: The product has layered structure because of numerous folds, layers of dough mixed with fat. The best example of this texture is Laccha Paratha and Puff Pastry.
- Smooth: All the ingredients are blended together to get a smooth texture and for the best result the product should to be free from any lumps. Example of smooth texture is Sauce.
- Spongy: The product is supple in nature and is very soft like sponge because of the air pockets inside it. The best example of spongy texture is Cake, Dhokla, Khamman, etc.
There are some texture which may not be desired by any chef or the dish doesn’t require it but happens due to improper method of cooking or wrong ingredients. Some examples of such texture are below.
- Coarse:Improper mixing of ingredients, less use of fat, improper mise-en-place of the vegetable, less beating of the batter, etc. Example Mustard Gravy.
- Hard: Improper mixing of the ingredients, improper use of water, very high or low temperature while cooking or less kneading, etc. makes the product heavy resulting in hard texture of the food. For example bad cookies or hard puri.
- Lumpy: The best example of this is mixing corn flour directly in any dish which results in lumps. To avoid this always mix corn flour separately in a liquid and then add to the dish as per requirement.
- Soggy: This is caused by excessive use of liquid in the cooking process which results in product with extra moisture. For example fish poached in water, if overdone the fish becomes soggy and falls apart.
- Tough: Too much use of liquid, incorrect mixing of the ingredients, less use of fat or oil results in product which is elastic in nature and is hard to break or tear. For example uncooked chicken or bacon.