Liquid Chromatography

  • What's the Best Way to Stir-Fry Beef? - HPLC Explores

What's the Best Way to Stir-Fry Beef? - HPLC Explores

Mar 26 2020 Read 1607 Times

Beef is one of the most popular meats that we eat. There are many different methods to cook a nice piece of beef - from slow-cooked beef, roast beef, fried steak and stewing, the opportunities are endless. But one of the most popular methods is to stir fry beef. But how do you get the maximum flavour from your stir-fried beef?

Well, researchers in China have published a paper - Optimization of the cooking methods of stirfried beef by instrumental analysis - in the Journal of Food Processing and Preservation where they used chromatography to see what factors affected the favour of stir-fried beef. So, read on to find out the optimal condition to get the full flavour in your beef.

Expensive but tasty protein source

Beef is a popular meat with increasing consumption around the world. It is a meat rich in high quality protein, minerals and many other nutrients. It is also a food that can pack in flavour. Meaning that even though it is a relatively expensive food, its taste and nutritional attributes make it a firm favourite both at home, in the takeaway and in the restaurant.

This is also the case in China where beef is widely eaten even though it is more expensive than other protein sources such as pork, fish and chicken. The real taste of beef comes about when it is cooked - either on its own or with spices and salt. Of course, quality of the beef plays a part in taste - but the reaction of free amino acids, sugars and fats when beef is heated is the main source of flavour.

Optimal cooking for stir fry

To investigate how different stir-frying conditions can affect the flavour of beef, the researchers stir-fried beef samples for various times (3.50-5.50 minutes) in different blends of oil. The beef was also seasoned with salt and sugar in various quantities. The samples were then homogenised with water and a beef broth made. After filtering the samples were then analysed using high-performance liquid chromatography. Good sample preparation if key for any chromatographic analysis - see the article, Vacuum Assisted Headspace Solid-phase Microextraction: A Powerful Tool for Olive Oil Analysis - for more information on optimizing sample preparation.

The team detected 17 amino acids in the cooked beef, with some of the amino acids linked to umami flavour. They also detected free fatty acids in the beef. They found that the use of salt and sugar could help in releasing some of the flavouring compounds during the cooking process. They report that the optimal result was 100g beef stir-fried for 4 minutes with 1.75g sugar and 1.00g salt added to the beef.

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