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Cooking Tips And Tricks

A small tip from a good friend or good chef can go a long way in making the right decisions while cooking or in the kitchen.  Here you will find tips on storing, cooking, cleaning and maintaining a well run kitchen. All these tips have proved to be very useful. We are in the process of bring you streaming video on many short cut methods used in Indian Cooking.

 

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To make time in the kitchen EASY, you have to spend some time for PRE-PREPARATION. This is crucial to a well organized kitchen. Use some of the techniques listed below to help decrease the actual cooking time. Thus making cooking a pleasure.

 

Tip Of the Day 

 COOKING TIPS 

  1. Avoid Sticky Rice     

  2. For Crispier Puris     

  3. Quick Tomato Paste Cubes 

  4. Eggplants Retaining Color     

  5. Remedy for Salty Curry    

  6. Ready To Use  Masalas

  7. Cutting an Onion Without Crying     

  8. Alternative To Fresh Coconut 

  9. Using Kitchen Scissors    

  10. Buying Lemons and Limes   

  11. Skinning a Chicken 

  12. Overripe Tomatoes    

  13. Trying New Recipes    

  14. Tips for Making Dosa

  15. Tip for making a soft chappati dough

  16. Retaining the "whiteness" of white rice

  17. Reheating left-over Rice

  18. Peeling a whole Garlic

  19. Peeling or scraping Ginger

  20. Dicing Onions

  21. Avoiding over-spilling milk when boiling

  22. Easy way to remove garlic skins

  23. Instead of Onion

1. Avoid Sticky Rice  

  1. Wash the rice a few times until the water runs clear. Remove all the water until no water remains. Let it sit for 20 minutes.  This will remove all the starch and help the rice to remain separate.

  2. Also adding a few drops of lemon juice to the rice while cooking, you will find that the grains of rice will tend to remain separate. Top

2. For Crispier Puris  Add a teaspoon of Semolina / Rava and 1 teaspoon of Rice flour to the wheat flour while kneading. Top

3. Quick Tomato Paste Cubes : Spoon tomato paste into ice cube trays. Freeze overnight. Transfer into plastic bags and freeze. Frozen cubes can be dropped right into curries.   Top

4. Eggplants Retaining Color  : When cooking eggplant add a spoon of milk to a bowl of water and add the cut up pieces to that water. The eggplant will  retain their color without becoming black.  Top

5. Remedy for Salty Curry : Wash a potato. Cut into two. Place a the two halves of the raw potato in the curry and it will absorb the extra salt.   Top

6. Ready To Use Masalas  Indian cooking requires a lot of pre-preparation. Make wet and or dry  the masalas ahead of time making extra portions. Divide the masala into the desired portions according to the recipe. Place the portions in Ziploc Freezer bags and freeze till the next time.  A great time saver....for next time you make the same recipe ! Top

7. How to cut an onion without crying ? Indian food requires a lot of onions sometimes. Use sweet onions. Peeling  and  cutting under running water, chopping near a gas flame, and refrigerating onions before chopping, all methods for reducing the volatility of the sulfide that causes the irritation.  Top

8. Alternative to Fresh Coconut  Ever try to break open a fresh coconut for making Indian chutney? Well, here is a great alternative. Out here in the US look for UNSWEETENED dry grated coconut. Make sure it is not the sweet kind. Add just enough water so that the coconut is covered with water. Use as directed in the recipe instead of freshly grated coconut.  Making chutneys will be a breeze.   Top

9. Using Kitchen Scissors Most Indian dishes require the use of freshly chopped coriander leaves as a garnish. Use the scissors to chop fresh mint, chilies and coriander finely and without any mess. Top

10. Buying Lemons and Lime Buy large lemons and  limes, they tend to be much sweeter. Make sure that the skin is thin, those are much juicer. To obtain more of the juice from lemons, limes or oranges, microwave on high for 30 seconds and then let stand for a couple of minutes before cutting and squeezing. Rolling them between your hand and the counter will also help release more juice.   Top

11. Skinning a Chicken with Ease Have you tried skinning a chicken? Well, always peel off a little part of the skin to start with and hold it tightly with a paper towel. The skin latches on to the paper towel and skinning the chicken...even the tough skin on the chicken legs becomes a breeze ! Try it.   Top

12. Overripe Tomatoes Dip them in cold water, add some salt and leave overnight. They will be fresh and firm to the touch the next day.   Top

13. Trying New Recipes  Remember....Try ONE NEW recipe at a time. Get all your ingredients together. Check the spices for freshness. Lay the spices and ingredients  out in the order that they are to be used.  Make a plan and get started with ONE easy recipe. Most of all make sure you have the time to make the recipe.  Do not try something new at a "rushed time".  Top

14. Tips for Making Dosa : To ensure that the griddle (tawa) is hot enough before spreading dosa, sprinkle a little water over it. If it sizzles immediately, then the griddle is hot enough. Wipe with a clean rag or half a raw onion and  proceed.   Top

15. Tip for making soft chappati dough. While making paneer from milk, don't throw away the paneer water. This nutritious water can be used for making soft dough for chapatis or can be used to cook dals.  Top

16. Retaining the "whiteness" of white rice : While cooking rice add a few drops of  lemon juice. The  color of the grains become bright white. Top

17. Reheating left-over Rice : Refrigerate leftover cooked rice in a well-sealed container. Reheat cold rice with a sprinkling of water in a microwave oven or in a covered pot over low heat.  Left over rice is great to have on hand for stirring into soups and broths and for making fried rice it's perhaps the world's best vehicle for turning leftovers into something fresh and new.Top

18. Peeling a whole Garlic : To peel garlic, place your knife flat on the garlic clove and whack with your other hand. The covering will burst open and the clove can be easily removed.  Top

19. Peeling or scraping Ginger : Peeling or scraping ginger with the back of spoon is an easy way to peel ginger. Scrape the ginger with the inside of a spoon, getting the edge of the spoon into the crevices of the ginger. The skin will come off with a gentle scrape.   Top

20. Dicing Onions : The best way to avoid crying when dicing an onion is to use a very sharp knife and to move as quickly as safety permits. 

  1. Cut off the end of the onion end with the small roots sticking out. 

  2. Cut it into half lengthwise, so that the end that is still together is cut into half. 

  3. Now remove the skin and may be one of the layers to clean the onion. 

  4. Holding your knife parallel to the cutting surface slice the onion parallel to the cutting surface so that you are making slices that are 1/4 inch from each other. Remember to never make a cut that would break through the end of the onion. The onion will come apart if you slice through the bottom end. Remember to never make a cut that would break through the end of the onion. The onion will come apart if you slice through the bottom end.

  5. Turn the onion. Make lengthwise slices remembering not to cut all the way to the end . The onion will still be in one piece and look like half an onion. 

  6. Turn the onion and chop the onion all the way to the back of the part that is still together. 

  7. You will have perfect small dices of onion

  8. Now chop the other part of the onion the same way.

Finely chopped onion is a very important ingredient for many Indian curies.  Top

21. Avoiding over-spilling milk when boiling : Before pouring milk into a pot for boiling rub butter along the top edge and inside lip of the pot. When the milk foams up, it will stop over spilling when it hits the butter. Top

22. Removing the garlic skins : Use 'Jar Openers'- round flat pieces of rubber. Put the clove of garlic in the center of the jar opener and fold it in half over the garlic. Then press down with your hand while rolling it back and forth over the garlic. Top


23. Instead of Onion : If anyone does not like or want the strong taste of onion, you can use cabbage in the recipe for the same taste and good recipe. Tip submitted by Jyothi    Top

 

CLEANING TIPS

  1. Cure Garlicky Hands   

  2. Quick BBQ Grill Clean Up    

  3. Cleaning A Messy Blender 

  4. Removing Strong odors on your hands

  5. Cleaning Cilantro

  6. Cleaning scratches on wood furniture

  7. Cleaning Coffee pots

1. Cure Garlicky Hands : Immediately after chopping raw garlic or after a marinating process, rub your fingers thoroughly with the bottom of a stainless steel spoon under running water. Then wash your hands with soap. The metal magically neutralizes the garlic fumes!   Top

2. Quick BBQ Grill Clean Up :  Spray the cooking grill with non-stick spray before placing the grid over the coals.  Food won't stick nearly as much as it does on an untreated grill.   Top

3. Cleaning A Messy Blender : To clean a blender,  add a cup of  warm water, run for a few seconds. Now add a drop of dishwashing detergent and another cup of water and blend. Let is sit for a few seconds. Rinse clean.    Top

4. Strong odors on your hands (such as onions or fish) can be removed by lightly wetting your hands and then sprinkling on baking soda. Rub the soda all over the hands, then rinse the soda away -- along with the odors.   Top

5. Cleaning Cilantro : Plunge into a sink full or pot full of cold water. Swirl around a few times and let sit for a while. The sand, dirt, and other debris will settle to the bottom, and the leaves will float to the top and can be removed. Repeat the procedure if the cilantro is very dirty.   Top

6. Cleaning scratches on wood furniture : Rub the same color crayon as the wood on to the scratch. This will  fill the scratch. Then clean with mayonnaise. The scratch will disappear.  Top

7. Cleaning a coffee pot : Pour a handful of table salt into the dirty coffee pot. Use a dish towel or sponge to rub it around and on the stains. Rinse clean.  Top

STORING TIPS

  1. Cilantro     

  2. Flour      

  3. Ice-Cream  

  4. Potatoes 

  5. Avoid Staining Tupperware

  6. Storing Cilantro & Mint leaves

1. Buying and Storing Cilantro When buying Cilantro/Coriander leaves at the store, shake out the extra water and dry with a paper towel. Do not rinse until just before using, then rinse well.  Storing: As soon as you bring cilantro home from the market, stand it upright in a glass of warm water to give it a final drink, then wrap a wet paper towel around its roots (it will last longer with roots intact). Store in a paper towel in the vegetable crisper drawer.   Top

2. Storing Flour :Retain the freshness of plain flour, semolina and gram flour by  storing them in the refrigerator and they will remain fresh for a  long time.    Top

3. Storing Ice -Cream : Store the ice cream container in a big Ziploc plastic freezer bag. This will stop ice crystals from forming when it is in the freezer.   Top

4. Storing Potatoes : Store potatoes in a cool dark place. To prevent potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes! This will prevent the potatoes from budding. Change the apple every week.   Top

5. Avoid Staining TupperwareBefore storing tomato-based sauces or Indian curries with lots of turmeric powder or other foods that can stain, spray your plastic storage container with nonstick cooking spray.   Top

24. Storing Cilantro & Mint leaves : Clean, wash and chop cilantro or mint leaves finely. Fill each cube in a ice cube tray with the finely chopped cilantro or mint leaves. Top each cube with cold water and freeze. The cilantro or mint cubes can be dropped into curries etc. on an as needed basis.  Tip submitted by Meenal   Top

 

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