Marinate the right way

by Sanjeev Kapoor

While watching cooking videos or reading recipes, you would have stumbled upon the term- ‘Marination’. To the uninitiated, marination is the process of tenderising the meat, while adding additional flavours deep into the ingredient to result in a more delicious outcome. Many Indian and global preparations involve marinating their ingredients before beginning the main cooking process. If you commonly cook and marinate your meat, here are a few things you should keep in mind to always get delicious results. 

Acid is the hero in marination, fat is the heroine

Every process of marination will always include an acid. It could be in the form of lemon juice, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce etc. Acids react with the ingredients that helps to make it tender and help in absorbing the flavours deep especially while cooking meat. The inclusion of fat helps in keeping the meat moist and not get dry. So never eliminate on acids if you want your chicken to be delicious and flavourful.

Always add fresh ingredients

This golden rule goes without saying. The fresher the produce the better the flavours it’ll provide to the dish. Whether it is the acids that you’re choosing or the herbs or fats that you use to marinate, fresh is always the best!

Mix the marinade well!

The marinade can be basic, involving just some lemon and salt, or it can even have a complex combination of flavours with a bunch of spices. The best way to get get the flavours uniform is by giving it a good mix. Use a blender to mix a runny marinade to mix everything well and this will ensure uniform, delicious flavours all the time. 

Patience is key

While half of the process in marination is making the marinade perfect, the other half involves you waiting till it is nicely absorbed. For certain preparations, if you want a stronger flavour, the chicken is marinated for good 2-3 hours. However, a basic 30-40 minute marination is a must with chicken and at least two to three hours if you’re cooking mutton. Any less than that and we won’t get the desired flavours. When marinating paneer, half hour should be enough to get the flavours right.

Scoring the meat

When marinating tougher pieces of meat, it is advisable to slit the meat the little before you rub it with the marinade. This will ensure that the flavours go deep while tenderising the insides, resulting in pure deliciousness.

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.