Kitchen Tips

I would be adding interesting cooking tips that have helped me around the kitchen. Hope you would find them useful too.

Tip from our dear subscriber Ruby Mitra:

To store ginger for longer periods, clean well and pat dry completely. Store in the freezer in Ziploc bag and grate easily when required without thawing.

Add ½ teaspoon of asafoetida / hing powder per 250gms of red chilli powder and turmeric powder, prevents little balls of moisture from forming at the top of the container, especially in humid weather.

Adding 4-5 cloves per kilo of sugar before storing in an airtight container helps prevent the ants from getting at the sugar.

Using a tablespoon of regular white Colgate toothpaste with a few drops of water and a gentle scrub, helps get rid of stubborn grease on a frying pan & light burn stains on the reverse.

Squeezing a wedge of lime over cut apple and banana helps to prevent them from darkening.

If there is too much salt in a dish while cooking, add potato to absorb the excess salt or neutralize it with some yoghurt or milk.

Yoghurt, papaya act as natural meat tenderizers leading to more succulent meat when done appropriately for the right amount of time. Lemon juice, wine, vinegar, pineapple (acids) also aids in tenderizing, but if overdone, will toughen the meat instead.

Coca-Cola, Soy sauce and baking soda are other popular meat tenderizers in western cuisine.

When a recipe like pancakes, asks for egg yolks and whites to be separated, I find it much easier using cold eggs straight out of the fridge.

Also when the eggs are cracked on a flat surface (as compared to the side of the bowl), it reduces shattering of the egg shell.

To make pretty ice cubes for parties, I pour boiled & cooled water into the ice trays & then place a lemon/orange slice or rose petals or a sprig of mint before freezing it.

Makes for crystal clear ice cubes with pretty designs.

Always store your potatoes in a cool dark place away from your onions to avoid them sprouting due to ethylene gas.

Onions can however be stored with garlic easily without any issues.

To avoid bananas from ripening too soon, cover the stem end with plastic wrap.

To peel potatoes quickly, drop the hot potatoes into an ice bath for 2-3 minutes and watch how easily the skins slide off.

To avoid the onion stinging your eyes while chopping, cut it lengthwise avoiding the root area completely. Chopping the root off first causes it to bleed & sting the eyes.

To blanch tomatoes, I usually make a cross cut at the bottom of each tomato and then gently drop them into boiling hot water for 5-8 minutes. Then drop in ice cubes to freeze them instantly. This helps in easy peeling.

Limes stay fresh much longer when wrapped in kitchen towel paper and stored in an air tight container.

To get tired and limp greens such as lettuce, spinach, cilantro or mint looking refreshed, soak the leaves in some ice cold water for about 5 -10 minutes before actual use and watch spring back to life.

A spoonful of sugar added to spinach while blanching for two minutes, or most other vegetables while stir frying most certainly helps them to retain their natural bright colour, provided you do not overcook them.

Chilling your cookie dough (for all drop style cookies) in the refrigerator for anywhere from 2 – 24 hours allows the ingredients to emulsify, allowing the flavours to intensify giving you more moist, softer, chewier and thicker cookies. Warmer the cookie dough flatter the cookies.

To retain the freshness of green chillies for a longer period in the refrigerator, gently pluck off the stem from the chillies and wrapping them in kitchen tissue paper, store them in an air tight container.

Mixing rice flour (make a paste with water) into thick coconut milk extract prevents it from curdling in the pan. Always add it at the end and switch off the flame after 15 -20 seconds. Overboiling causes coconut milk to split & curdle.

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