(Last Updated on : 23/06/2011)
Cooking tips can be a quick solution to various problems that arise in the kitchen. Try the tips and enjoy being in the kitchen. These tips will in managing food items like bananas, chocolate, tomatoes, onions and various ingredients like baking powder, salt etc. The section is alphabetically divided to allow easy access to the ingredient.
* Make one cup of dal, add atleast 2-3 cups of water, depending on the type of dal.
* Soak whole pulses overnight and other dals for one hour before cooking. Always add hot water to the gravy to enhance the taste. Add 1 Tbsp of hot oil to the dough for making Kachories or Kulchas.
* Use heavy bottomed vessels to make desserts, in order to avoid burning.
* Make desserts with full cream milk, to get thick creamy texture.
Whenever curd is to be added to the masala, it should be beaten well and added gradually.
* Never discard water in which vegetables are cooked, use it in gravies, soups, rasam or kolumbu.
* Onions and masala are fried in the cooker body itself, raw vegetables are added to that with enough salt and water. Cook under pressure according to the cooking time of the vegetable. This method helps us minimise our cooking time, use of utensils and nutrients are also preserved.
* Poppy seeds are used in grinding; soak it in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes, if you are grinding it in a mixer grinder.
*With the boiling milk, always add a little water at the base of the vessel to avoid the milk from sticking at the bottom.
* Add a tsp. of hot oil to homemade pastes of garlic, ginger or green chilli, along with salt to make it last longer and taste fresher.
* Store the raisins in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for much longer. Pour very hot water over them if they had hardened, after that drain them immediately, and spread on a paper towel to dry.
*You can leave a spoon in the vessel in which the milk is being boiled at low heat so that it does not get burnt at the bottom
*Immediately after boiling noodles put them in normal cold water to separate them each.
*If you forget to soak chana/Rajma overnight. Just soak the chana/Rajma in the boiling water for an hour before cooking.
* Potatoes soaked in salt water for 20 minutes will bake more rapidly.
*Process of roasting is a dry heat method of cooking - it does not use water. The flavors roasting draws forth result from the process of browning. As the surface of the meat browns, and its juices and fats drip down and brown on the surface of the hot roasting pan, it adds to the flavor of the meat. Add a few drops of lemon a tsp of oil to rice before boiling to separate each grain.
*Never discard the water in which vegetables are cooked, use it in gravies or soups.
Put tomatoes in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave it for about 5 minutes. Take out one by one, piercing them with a sharp knife, the skin will peel off easily.
Tips about using various ingredients:
1. To avoid browning of apples after cutting, apply a little lemon juice on the cut surface. The apples will stay and look fresh for a longer time.
2. Keep coriander leaves in a muslin (cheese) cloth bag in the refrigerator. They will remain fresh for a longer time.
3. Wash vegetables before peeling or cutting to preserve the water-soluble vitamins.
4. Peel vegetables as thinly as possible to preserve the minerals and vitamins.
5. Soak potatoes and egg plant after cutting, to avoid discoloration.
6. If you boil vegetables in water, do not throw the water, keep it to make gravies.
7. After peeling onions cut in half and soak in water for about 10 minutes before cutting to avoid crying.
8. Soak almonds in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes .The skin will peel off easily and so there is no need to soak them overnight.
9. Chopping/Cutting on a marble slab will blunt your knives. So use a wooden cutting/ chopping board.
10. Remove the outer leaves and husks from the corn (bhutta). Holding the corn upright with the flat end firmly in a board, take a sharp knife and run it down between the kernels and the cob to strip them away.
11. Wrap the fruits and vegetables in newspaper before refrigerating to keep them fresh for long.
12. Chopping dry fruits - Freeze them first for one hour & then dip the knife into hot water before cutting them.
Tip on frying the foods:
1. Smoke Mustard oil first before using for preparing vegetables etc. Heating to a point till light white smoke emerges from it. This would remove the potency from the oil.
2. Poori can be rolled and place between well-rinsed wet muslin cloth at least an hour ahead and can be Fried before serving.
3. To make pooris more crispy add a little rice flour to the wheat flour while kneading.
4. Pakodas will turn out crisper if a little corn flour is added to the gram flour (besan) while preparing the batter. Heat the oil thoroughly before adding seasonings or vegetables.
5. Add some hot oil and 1/2 tsp of baking soda in batter while making pakodas.
6. When coconut is used in grinding masala, do not fry for a longer time.
7. If you are making patties or tikkis of potatoes, always make sure that the potatoes are boiled well in advance and cooled before you use them. It would be better if they can be refrigerated for a short time. This helps the starch in the potatoes to settle down and the tikkis will not be gooey. .
8. Sprinkle a little amount of salt in the frying pan before adding bacon to fry. That way it will not splatter all over.
Important points about preparing gravy:
1. Always use ghee or vanaspathi instead of oil, which gives a good flavour to the gravy. If oil alone is used, it does not get separated easily from the ground mixture, as ghee separates from it.
2. Fry the ground masala in reduced flame, so that it retains its colour and taste.
3. Little plain sugar or caramelised sugar added to the gravy makes it tasty.
4. When tomatoes are not in season, tomato ketchup or sauce can be successfully used in the gravies.
5. To retain colour in the gravy always use ripe red tomatoes. Discard green portions if any.
6. Good variety chillies and chilli powder also gives colour to the gravy. Try to use long variety of red chillies. Dry it under sun for few days and powder coarsely at home. Always the coarse powder gives good taste in gravies and pickles.
7. While using ginger and garlic paste in curries, always use garlic at 60% ratio and ginger at 40% as ginger is very strong and may make your dish sharp and pungent.