Seasoning is the process of adding flavours, or enhancing natural flavour of any type of food. Common seasonings include black pepper, salt, and herbs. Salt may be used to draw out water, or to magnify a natural flavour of a food making it richer or more delicate, depending on the dish. For instance, kosher salt (a coarser grained salt) is rubbed into chicken, lamb, and beef to tenderize the meat and enhance flavour. Other seasonings like pepper and basil transfer some of their flavour to the food. A well designed dish will combine seasonings that complement each other.
In addition to the choice of herbs and seasoning, the timing of when flavours are added will affect the food that is being cooked.
In Cantonese cooking, salty seasoning such as salt or soy sauce is added to beef only after the meat is coated with a dusting of corn starch and a little amount of oil. If salt is added first, the beef may become tough and dry when cooked.
Cantonese like to use green onion and ginger to counteract the 'fishy' smell of seafood.
Cooking wine is used on chicken or pork to counteract the strong odor of the meat.
While when cooking mushroom or tomato, salt is added as the last step to prevent the juices from coming out into the pot.
Chinese cooks often marinate the meat before cooking.
In another culture, meat is seasoned by pouring sauce over the dish at the table.
Different cultures practice their seasoning techniques differently.
- See also : Cooking