Marination is a process in which food is coated with a mixture of spices, tenderizers salt oil and nuts (paste). Each of the ingredients used have their own roles to perform. Process of marination depends on the type of meat, body parts of the animal, type of cut, kind of tenderizers used. Flat cuts of meat are always advisable for marination. Aluminum container should not be used to marinate or to keep marinated foods. Aluminum imparts as unpleasant metallic taste to the food. Ideally, non-metallic and lead-free ceramic dishes should be used. During the process of marination connective tissues that come into contact with the marination get broken down, thereby softening the meat tissues. After the meat is tenderized it requires only to be singed at high temperature to get cooked.
COMMON INGREDIENTS USED FOR MARINATING ARE
Spices- Adds flavors and aromas to the food
Salt- It enhances the flavor and tastes of the ingredients used also acts as a preservative.
Oil- Seals the pores of the meat, therefore, checks the flow of juices and fluids.
Nuts- Adds texture and gives binding to the mixture
TENDERIZERS: MEAT CAN BE TENDERIZED IN TWO WAYS
Mechanically, meat is beaten with a hammer and the tissues are broken, or passing through a mincer. This also robs the meat of its juices and leaves it hard and stringy
Chemically, through the action of enzymes and acid content of the tenderizers used. Tenderizers readily dissolve sinews and muscle fibers of the meat, thus reducing the cooking time and also makes them easily digestible.
MOST COMMON INGREDIENTS USED FOR TENDERIZING ARE
Yoghurt: It is lactic acid in Yoghurt that helps to break down meat fibers and makes meat soft and succulent
Lemon: Citric acid contained in lemon causes the tenderizing action on meat fibers.
Papaya: it contains a protein-digesting enzyme called papain that has tenderizing properties.
Vinegar: Acetic acid gives the tenderizing quality. Some other common ingredients used for tenderizing are pineapple, tamarind, pomegranate and mustard seeds.
Green chilly Paste: Mostly used for fish; adds a flavour and taste. If the use of the tenderizers is in excessive amount or for a longer time, it reduces the capability of the meat to hold its juices resulting in greater fluid loss and thus makes the meat dry after it gets cooked.
PROCESS OF MARINATIONS
Enzymes are activated from 140 degrees F – 175 degree F and activated below the boiling point; it is always advisable to keep marinated products in refrigeration. Some slaughterhouses inject papain into the animals before slaughtering. The injected papain is carried to the different parts of the body through the bloodstream and cooking process later activates it. Studies have shown that a reaction between creatine In muscle and amino acids caused by flame cooking at high temperature, produces a cancer causing agent, known as Hetero cyclic amine (HCA). The process of marination discourages the formation of certain HCA’s in char grilled meats. Immersion in an acid based marinade for 45 mins results in a decrease of 92%-99% of HCA.