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Barbecue and Browning.

posted Dec 16, 2016, 9:18 AM by Upali Salpadoru   [ updated Aug 28, 2022, 8:22 PM ]

Normally we cook food by a process called boiling.

Boiling rice, vegetables and yams and making of curries are examples. The main feature of this process is that the temperature remains at or around 100, the boiling point of water.

When we boil plant or animal matter cells rupture and the contents become accessible to enzymes for digestion. The large molecules like polysaccharides break down, starch grains absorb water and food becomes tastier and easier to digest but the food does not get the brown colour and the strong flavours and aromas.

Maillard Reactions.

The browning of food was studied  by the French scientist Louis Camille Maillard (1878-1936), This is not a simple reaction as we have been taught the carbohydrates becoming carbon and water.

C12H22O11 → 12C + 11H2O.

It is true that this is what finally what happens when the food gets charred. There are a large number of intermediate compounds, which is evident by the colours produced and and the aromas given out.



Most of the food chemicals produced by the maillard reactions have tantalising aromas and incredibly unique  tastes. For the most of them, their health benefits or adverse effects have not been properly studied yet. But a substance has been found which is supposed to be carcinogenic. It is named ‘furan”.