There are generally two different types of cooking methods: dry heat and moist heat.
Dry-heat cooking methods are for those who are using air to cook their dish. This can be broiling, grilling, roasting and baking, sauteing, pan-frying, and deep-frying. When foods are cooked using a
Maillard Reaction: the process of sugar breaking down in the presence of protein. This reaction is not to be confused with Enzymatic Browning: a different type of browning caused by fruits and vegetables when they are cut, bruised, and or when a molecular relation between enzymes and phenolic compounds takes place–releasing a dark pigment called melanin. This process is also known as enzymatic browning.
A good example of enzymatic browning is when you first slice an apple, after a few minutes, the apple with start to slowly turn brown. This is an example of enzymatic browning.
Moist-heat cooking methods are for those who are using water or steam to cook their dish. An example of this cooking method is poaching, simmering, boiling and steaming. The overall goal to use the moist-heat cooking method is to tenderize and emphasize the natural flavor of food.
Some recipes require multiple cooking methods. Each of the methods mentioned can be applied to a variety of foods.