Some easy, basic cooking techniques for beginning cooks are boiling, simmering, sauteing, baking and roasting. Others are poaching, steaming, grilling, pan frying and deep frying.
Boiling food involves putting the food into a pan, completely covering it with water and heating it until bubbles form and roll across the surface of the water. Once the water is boiling, many recipes call for reducing the heat to low; this is a simmer. Hard-boiled eggs use boiling. Making rice requires first boiling, then covering and simmering. For pasta, the cook boils water first, then adds the pasta and simmers it.
To saute, the person heats a small amount of oil or fat in a pan, adds the food and cooks using medium-high heat, stirring until it is just tender. This method works well with vegetables such as onions and peppers.
Baking and roasting both consist of cooking food in a pan in the oven. Baking usually refers to grain-based foods, such as breads and cakes, though fish is also baked. Roasting refers to meats and vegetables. Dry roasting results in crispier food, while moist roasting involves covering and basting with water or pan drippings.