Basic Indian Cooking Tips:
I would love to share some of the basic Indian cooking tips, that I have learned from my Mom, Grandmother , Mil and of course from my own experience..:)
I’m certain, these easy tips will help you make life easier in the kitchen and with your overall health.
Peeling & Chopping:
1. To cut an onion without tears, chop it near a gas flame or cut it under running water or refrigerate onions for 5 to10 mins before chopping.
2. When hard boiling the eggs, add a pinch of baking soda to the water. This helps the shell to come right off.
3. Remove the stem of green chillies before refrigerating them. This helps green chillies to stay fresh for long time.
4. To peel the skin of the garlic buds easily, wash & soak in water for few minutes before peeling.
5. Also, by warming the garlic cloves slightly in the microwave, the skin peels off without any hastle.
6. If you want to cook keerai by retaining its green color, add ¼ tsp of sugar and cook without covering with lid.
7. While slicing brinjal / eggplant for cooking, put them in water with a tsp of milk. This helps the sliced brinjal to remain in dark purple color.
1. Bread crumbs can be made easily at home. Toast it in the microwave oven or tawa for 2 to 3 minutes and grind it in the food processor or blender to coarse pwd.
2. Store spices in a cool , dark place in your kitchen. Humidity , light & heat will cause herbs and spices to loose their flavor .
3. If your food dish, tastes very salty once it is done, add few pieces of diced potato slices, tomato slices or a tsp of sugar. This will absorb the excess salt and afterwards you can remove these potato slices.
4. To make thick curd, add a little cornflour paste to the milk while setting it.
5. I used to wrap vegetables & fruits in newspaper berore refrigerating. This helps the vegetables to stay fresh for long time.
6. Keep coriander leaves in a tupper ware box or in a muslin cloth bag. This will help the coriander leaves to stay fresh for longer time.
7. While preparing paneer at home, don’t throw away the whey water. It can be used for kneading roti, paratha dough resulting in sooper soft rotis.
8. If the batter you’ve prepared for pakora turned watery, don’t panic. Addition of a tbsp of ghee to the batter will give crispy crunchy pakoras.
9. Slice the potatoes into half and add a pinch of turmeric pwd before boiling. This helps the potatoes to cook fast.
10. Always use a flat bottomed pan for cooking, this helps heat to spread evenly, enhancing cooking faster.
11. Add a little salt while sauting onion and tomato, this helps onion tomatoes to get cooked soon.
12. While preparing sweets, add a small pinch of salt, this enhances the sweetness.to the dish.
For Idly, Dosa batter:
See the recipe for Idly, Dosa batter here..
1. To prepare soft idlies and crisp dosa, the measurement of rice & urad dal should be in the ratio of 3:1 and a tsp of fenugreek seeds.
2. Soak both rice and urad dal separately and grind them separately. Then mix the batter together.
3. While fermenting the Idly, dosa batter, don’t add too much salt. This leads the batter to smell sour, before it is fully fermented.
4. If you’re living in a hot country, the batter will be able to ferment within 4 to 5 hrs.
5. If you’re living in a cold place, the fermentation of batter takes more time. Still if the fermentation does not occur, keep the batter inside the oven with oven light on.
6. The consistency of the batter, should be fluffy and the batter should fall down easily from your spoon as you mix it.
7. For fluffy batter, grind urad dal soft and fluffy by adding water little by little in regular intervals while grinding. If a tsp of urad dal batter is dropped in a bowl of batter, it should floast, then it is the right consistency.
8. Addition of fenugreek / methi seeds , when soaking the rice, gives nice fragrance and aroma to the batter.
9. Adding some mashed poha or cooked rice, to the batter also makes idly amazingly soft.
To cook Dal & Rice:
1. While cooking dal for sambar, add a tsp of oil, a pinch of turmeric pwd, hing and fenugreek seed pwd . This gives a tasty & healthy sambar.
2. While cooking rice for variety rice, add a tsp of oil while cooking and remember to add a tsp of oil and fluff the rice gently by spreading them in a wide plate or bowl. This helps to keep the rice grains separate.
3. If you’re cooking dals for smashing, soak the dals for 30 mins before cooking.
4. For Basmati rice, soak the rice for at least 10 mins and drain the rice before cooking.
5. The rice and water ratio for cooking biryani is 2 :1 ½ . Pressure cook for one whistle in high flame and simmer for 5 to 7 mins.
Tips on microwave Cooking:
1. Never over-cook food, as it becomes dry and hard.
2. Never pile food on top of each other.
3. When food is spaced apart inside the oven, it cooks better, evenly and quickly.
4. While preparing tikkas or other tandoori items, place aluminium foil covering the plate beneath the rack, to collect the drippings.
5. Food cooks better in a round container than in a square one.
6. Use only the required amount of water while cooking the vegetables.
7. Do not cook eggs in their shells . ( pressure will cause them to explode)
Tips on Kitchen Cleaning:
1. To remove dirt stains in cooker bottom or vessels, add a small piece of lemon and ½ cup of water. Heat for few minutes and wash immediately.
2. To clean the dark black color and difficult stains from the stove top and kitchen platform, spray some oven cleaner , leave for some 10 mins and gently scrub them and wipe off with clean cloth.
3. Also you can spread some baking soda on stove top and spread lightly. Allow to remain for some 10 to 15 minutes and rub it well. You can see hard stains come off easily.
4. Use paper towels to clean up spills, especially juices from raw meat, poultry and fish. And immediately dispose of the paper towels.
5. Put a piece of lemon through your garbage disposal every day for a clean fresh smell.
6. Take care your pets don’t enter inside kitchen area.
7. The cutting boards should be cleaned thoroughly with hot soapy water and rinsed with clean water after each use.
8. Clean your refrigerator once a week and throw out the food items that are stored for longer period and could not be eaten.
9. Clean up your pantry once a month by removing all the spoiled and expired food items.
10. Remove coffee stains from china cups by scrubbing them with equal parts of vinegar and salt.
11. Try to end each day with a clean, empty kitchen sink.
12. A sponge is actually a great way to spread germs. I prefer using paper towels, that could be discarded after cleaning each surface.
13. To clean a blender, sprinkle few drops of liquid soap into it, fill halfway with warm water, cover and blend away the mess.
Tips on Microwave Oven Cleaning:
1. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, scrape up any large spills, then spray cleaner inside the oven , close the door and let it remain for overnight and clean it by morning.
2. Also, you can clean oven quickly by placing a handful of wet paper towels inside and run it on high for 3 to 5 minutes. The steam from the towels will soften the grime and it can be wiped off easily from the interior of the oven.
3. To deodorize, combine 1 cup of water with ½ cup of lemon juice in a measuring cup and heat it on high for 3 to 5 mins. Let it stand iin the oven for 5 to 10 mins before removing.
4. When food spills over on the floor of the oven, sprinkle a handful of salt on the mess. The spills can be cleaned easily.
Wishing you all a happy & healthy cooking..:)