“Cooking without cooking” is a booming trend
A cooking style that requires you to cook nothing: good news for those who prefer not to approach the stove on those early summer evenings. We’re not talking about slicing a tomato or preparing a salad vinaigrette. Raw Foodism or Raw Food Diet is a true philosophy at the basis of a healthy and balanced life.
Maximum temperature 45°C, never exceed this threshold. This is the fundamental rule of the raw diet, whereby food is based on uncooked products, thus preserving active ingredients: vitamins, proteins, mineral salts, amino acids, enzymes, all transform directly into energy for the body, avoiding cooking processes that often destroy nutrients and alter food’s pH, making it less digestible and causing slime growth in the body. The principle is to process foods at the same temperatures tolerated by living beings, to ensure the vitality of what we eat, and therefore complete nourishment.
Simply type the #rawfood hashtag on Instagram to open the gates of Crudités Paradise. But the roots of this trend are far-reaching and common to all of us - it is in fact the oldest diet of mankind, because humans originally consumed raw meals, like all animals. Not surprisingly, the concept of raw diet does not exclude any food: the version called Paleo Diet includes the consumption of raw meat.
Today, Raw Food can easily be applied to vegetarian or vegan diets, the most popular versions of the concept. The keyword is freshness: organic vegetables, herbs, sprouts, nuts, seeds and legumes turn into innumerable colourful and delicious recipes that ensure wellness and detox our body.
If you think raw cooking is limiting, you are wrong: with modern techniques and a touch of creativity, you can really prepare anything, including pizza, cous cous, ice cream and tiramisu. The secret? Raw ingredients combined with technique. In this cuisine, more than others, using advanced techniques is crucial but – with a little effort and research – the results you obtain are truly satisfying. Fire is replaced by methods like marinating, temperature-controlled drying, salting, pressing and fermentation: techniques that "cook" foods without altering the temperature, to maintain (and sometimes increase) their original benefits.
Raw dishes can also be found in several culinary traditions: South American Ceviche is based on raw fish marinated in Tiger’s milk (citrus-based marinade); Spanish Gazpacho is a cold tomato soup; Panzanella is a traditional salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and dried bread, very popular on Italian tables, and so on.
Raw Foodism has now emerged in fine-dining: joyful raw experiences are flourishing all over the world, and today they find their ideal dimension. While American chef and educator Matthew Kenney – considered by many the father of raw and vegan cuisine – continues to open new restaurants and training academies, the Green Monday project in Hong Kong aims to make people be vegetarian (and Raw Foodist) at least once a week. London’s NAMA - besides being one of the coolest restaurants these days - spreads the gospel through raw cooking courses and nutrition-based body wellness seminars, while a university course dedicated to Raw Food has been instituted in Los Angeles.
What about some cooking ideas? A great classic dish that can be revamped with raw spirit is lasagne: replace cow milk cheese with veggie cheese and the pasta with zucchini or marinated tomatoes. Raw food noodles are also easy to prepare: cut carrots in vertical slices and leave them to marinate in salted water while you blend a cream with cashew nuts, rocket salad, lemon juice, garlic clove, and curry to taste; then drain the water from the carrots, season the slices with the cream and serve, completing the dish with a pepper, mushroom and cherry tomato mince. Something faster? An avocado, celery and green apple tartare accompanied by a seed mix.
Still puzzled? Maybe you need the right tools. Finally, preparing a good raw meal is less complicated than it sounds, all you need is the right equipment: the versatility and power of a KitchenAid Stand Mixer can be combined with a wide range of accessories that can help you in your veggie recipes: for example, the Spiralizer allows you to prepare creative and healthy dishes by reducing each ingredient to light spirals, while the Maximum Extraction Slow Juicer attachment magically provides fresh fruit juices, home-made purée and jams, but also aromatic herb sauces, to help your dishes run that extra mile. For the most demanding home chefs, the Food Processor attachment is the pinnacle: slice, dice, shred and julienne your way to wholesome family meals that please the fussiest eaters and elegant, exotic platters to surprise the most demanding guest.
Believe it, any dish can be a perfect balance of flavours and consistency, even at room temperature!