Food and Drink

3 different types of marinades and how to use them

When it comes to cooking certain dishes, marination plays an important role as it adds the right amount of moisture and flavour to the meat or vegetable getting cooked. In general, it’s a liquid mixture of ingredients that elevates the deliciousness of cooked food. The marination process helps penetrate beyond the surface of the meat or vegetables.

It’s a process of soaking food in a liquid that can either be acidic or neutral and can be done for a few hours. With marination, the goal is to completely coat the meat with a mixture of spices and herbs so that it creates a thin layer of flavour before cooking.

In this article, we will share with you the 3 different types of marinades that are commonly used to marinate different meats and vegetables.

What is a marinade made of?

Taking a look at the marinades, there are typically 3 essential components such as acid (that includes, citrus juices, wine or vinegar), Flavouring agents (mostly herbs & spices), and oil (olive oil or sesame oil). These three ingredients when combined together create the best marinade.

The marination time

Typically, experts suggest that the meat should be marinated for at least 5-6 hours, as this imparts the best texture and flavour in the dish. However, it depends on what kind of marinade you have added to the dish as even 10 minutes of marinating will still add the required flavour. Experts agree that non-acidic marinades should be kept for a longer duration. Therefore, it is suggested that the marinated meat should be kept aside for at least 24 hours.

What types of marinades are there?

Technically, there are just two types of marinades – dry or wet marinades. As the name suggests, wet marination involves liquid ingredients. It is said that this type of marination should be done for a short period of time and it should always be left to marinate in the fridge. Salt is a big no-no as it will end up sucking the natural juices out of the meat. Dry marinades, on the other hand, are also known as dry rubs or BBQ spices. This is a good way to pack even more flavours into the cut of meat. Unlike in wet marination, the main ingredient in a dry marinade is salt, accompanied by dried herbs and a variety of spices. Here, the salt works to break down the proteins of the meat so that other flavours can be absorbed. Before a dry rub, it’s important to first coat it with lard, oil or water so that the rub can adhere to the surface. Dry rubs are easier to use, simple to make and can actually create a noticeable effect. Dry Rubs are also easier to use, less fussing, and can actually create a noticeable effect. It is also the preferred method of marination used by real barbeque pros.

Types of marinade

In all, there are just 3 types of marinades – acidic, dairy and enzyme marinades. Here’s all you need to know about these marinades:

Acidic Marinades

This marinade includes the use of bases such as wine or vinegar, or highly acidic juices such as tomato juice or citrus juices. The acids work to loosen the protein bonds in the meat. When this occurs, it will cause the meat to become more tender. However, when left to marinate for too long, it can tighten up the meat, and squeeze the juices back out, which will toughen the meat.

Dairy Marinades

This type of marination may seem strange to many but there are chefs and grilling experts who believe it is the only proper way. The calcium helps activate the enzymes in the meat, similar to the process of ageing meat. It will then break down the proteins in the meat to make the meat more tender. Buttermilk and yoghurt, both acidic, are commonly used.

Enzyme Marinades

Papain or bromelain, found in fruits such as kiwi, papaya, and pineapple is also a marinade material. They help break down muscle fibre and can break down the meat to make it more tender. However, when left too long, it can make your meat dry and tough.

How to marinate a dish?

To use a marinade, simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or shallow dish and mix until combined. Then add the food you are marinating and turn to coat. Cover, and let the food marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight and cook after that.

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