The term “braising” originates from the French word “braiser” and is a combination of cooking methods using both dry and wet heat. Usually, the main ingredient is cooked at a high temperature, before it is finished in a covered pot at a lowered temperature while simmering in a partial amount of liquid, which may also add flavour to the food. The best equipment to use would be a pressure cooker or crock pot.
By doing so, affordable cuts of tough meats are able to absorb the salt from the liquid, which breaks down the connective tissues (collagen) in the tough cuts, leaving them tender and succulent.
At Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant, various dishes are braised in the Flavours of Jiang Nan menu, such as braised yam, braised “mee hoon” and braised fish maw.
For home cooking, he advises that if one does not have stock on hand, water can be used, coupled with seasonings like salt and soya sauce to enhance the flavour. Some seafood with higher water content can be braised on its own, by simmering until the water content is fully absorbed to successfully achieve a savoury dish characteristic of the braising technique.