To make softer chapattis, take the flour, add warm water and some warm milk and knead the dough. Let it rest for 15 minutes before making chapattis.
Use heavy bottomed vessel for boiling milk and for preparations using milk like kheer. Before adding the milk, a little water can be added to the vessel to avoid the milk from sticking to the bottom and getting burnt.
Toasting nuts, rice, rava, and dal (lentils) before cooking with it increases its flavors considerably.
Before making any food item, read the recipe carefully and keep all the ingredients ready. Chop or slice vegetables if required. Measure the amount of liquid ingredients (like any sauce, milk, ketchup, oil, etc) and transfer them into small individual bowls. Prepare the paste or puree if required.
Do not throw away the nutritious leftover water into which vegetables were boiled. Use it to make a dough of paratha or chapati or for making gravies.
To make French fries crisp, first, deep-fry them until half done and then store in a container or cover with a plastic wrap and place in the freezer section of the refrigerator for 4-5 hours. Deep-fry again just before serving.
To peel the almonds easily, soak them in hot water for 10-15 minutes before starting to peel the skin.
To make your daily breakfast parathas more healthy and nutritious, add either crushed sweet corn, pureed spinach, grated radish, grated cabbage, fenugreek leaves or boiled and mashed vegetables while preparing the dough.
Use the excess dal water from boiling dal to make rasam. Similarly, after boiling vegetables if you do not want the extra water, the liquid can be used in gravies or for making chapatti dough.
Rub your hands in a stainless steel sink or vessel to remove the strong smell of onions or garlic.
When boiling potatoes or eggs, add a pinch of salt to the water. This will help peel the skin easily later.
To separate each string of noodles or any thin pasta, run it under cold water immediately after boiling and draining the water.
To give extra richness to Indian curry, use cashew nut paste, milk or poppy seed paste as base for gravy.
If you are going to cook dals for mashing, like for sambar, and your dal is poor quality and doesn’t get cooked easily, you can soak it as well for an hour. Add a drop of sesame oil and you can add dry red chilli. These things make the dal cook easily and softly.
To prevent diced eggplant (brinjal) and potato from turning brown, put them in a bowl of water.
If your curry or dal has become salty by mistake then do not throw it away. Just add peeled and diced half-raw potato in it and boil for 5 minutes and discard the potato. Potato absorbs the extra salt.
Add a pinch of sugar while boiling or cooking green leafy vegetables to retain their bright green color.
To make melt in the mouth paneer curry, soak paneer cubes in hot water for 10 minutes and drain them before using in the recipe.
While adding curd to gravies or biryani, beat it nicely and reduce the temperature before adding.
To retain the bright green color of spinach after blanching, immediately transfer them into a bowl of ice-cold water.
Punjabi curries taste best when you prepare it’s gravy a day before and use it to make a curry. Prepared gravy should be stored in the refrigerator to allow flavors of spices mingle together well.
Soaking the basmati rice is very important for any brand of rice, with a minimum time of 15 minutes to a maximum as much as you can. This makes the rice absorb more water and tastes less time to cook with less water, which means soft, separate grains.
Wash the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear so that the excess starch gets drained away and the rice is not very sticky after cooking.
To keep each rice grain separate after cooking and to retain its white color, wash rice 4-5 times in water and add 2-3 drops of lemon juice while cooking.
Minimum rice to water ratio from 1:1 to maximum 1:2. Pressure cook for 3 whistles.
If you are cooking rice for mixed variety rice, pressure cook rice, after the steam gets released, transfer rice to the broad vessel, add a tsp of sesame oil/ any cooking oil. If needed, add salt too. This helps a lot in separating the grains.
Be gentle while you mix. Before mixing, let it cool a bit for 5 minutes, then use a dosa flipper or any flat laddle for this purpose.
If you keep over mixing when it is steaming hot, it will get mushy or broken.
Storage (Refrigerating, Freezing)Tips:
Store nuts and dry fruits in the refrigerator to increase their shelf life. I also store coffee powder and health drinks in the refrigerator. In-room temperature, it gets hard due to the humidity in the air.
Keep coriander leaves in an airtight plastic box with a paper napkin inside to keep them fresh in the refrigerator for a long time (almost a month).
Remove the stem of the chilly while storing them whole. Another method is to make chilli paste and store it.
To store fish longer and fresher, clean it, apply some turmeric powder, lemon juice, and salt and put it in the freezer.
Soak beans in bulk and freeze it. That way you can make quick curries and side dishes quickly. Also, you can sprout the beans and freeze it.
Wrap the fruits and vegetables in the newspaper before refrigerating to keep them fresh longer.
Store onions, garlic, potatoes and tubers in open space with good air circulation to prevent it from rotting. Also, do not store onions and potatoes together in the same container.
To keep ginger-garlic paste fresh for long period, mix oil and salt while preparing it and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
To keep green leafy vegetables fresh for 5 to 7 days, chop them and store in a thick plastic container in the refrigerator.
Put 3-4 cloves in sugar tin (container) to keep ants away.
Always keep the bananas separated from the other fruits to avoid quick ripening of fruits.
Store spices away from sunlight in a closed dark place to retain their freshness and aroma longer.
When frying, the oil should be in the correct temperature. If its too hot, the outside will get browned up too quickly before the inside gets cooked. If it is not hot enough, the fried food will absorb too much oil before getting cooked.
Choose any oil with neutral flavor like vegetable oil, refined sunflower oil, canola oil etc. for frying. Oils with a strong flavor like olive oil or coconut oil will change the taste of the fried food.
To reduce the amount of oil absorbed by the food when fried, add a pinch of salt to the oil before frying.
Before deep frying vegetables or fish or meat, pat it dry completely on a kitchen towel or using a paper napkin. This will ensure that it gets fried properly and tastes better. Also, there will be less oil splatter since water is oil worst enemy.
To make crispier puris that stay puffed up longer, add a little rava to the wheat flour while kneading.
To make crispier bajjis (pakoras), add a little cornflour or rice flour to the gram flour while making the bajji batter. Also, add some hot oil to the batter.
Use a deep vessel to fry chicken to avoid the splashing of oil and juices all around the place. Use long tongs to put the food to be fried carefully in the hot oil.
When frying mushrooms, add salt only after it has browned. Similarly adding salt to the chicken also slows up the browning.
When doing any seasoning, fry mustard seeds, peppercorns etc. until they finish popping. The dals should change color to a light golden brown. Only then the seasoned oil will be very flavorful.
While it is not at all advisable to reuse fried oil, some people still prefer to do it. In that case, strain the oil before using it again to remove all fried bits and pieces.
Peel and cut the onion into two halves and soak in a bowl of water for 15 minutes before chopping them. This will save you from burning eyes and runny tears.
For peeling garlic easily, separate the cloves and soak it in water for 15 minutes. Another option is to put the cloves in a closed jar and shake vigorously for a minute. Most of the skin comes loose and the rest can be removed easily.
For chopping dry fruits, freeze them for an hour before cutting. This is also true for meat and processed meat like bacon, pancetta etc.
Do not wash the mushrooms with water as it will absorb the water. Clean it with a damp cloth instead. This way the preparations will not be soggy.
To peel the skin of almonds, tomatoes or peaches, simply soak in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. The skin can be easily removed.
To remove the corn from its cub, hold it straight with one end on the bottom of a big vessel. Then strip the corn with a knife. This will prevent messing up of the entire place.
When cutting raw banana, potatoes or eggplant, soak it in water to avoid discoloration. Similarly, to prevent apples, avocados, bananas or peaches from browning, add lemon juice.
Before grating cheese, apply some oil in the grater to prevent it from sticking. Also, spray the cup with oil before measuring honey so that it comes out fully without sticking.
Quick Fix Tips (For Busy Days) :
Tomato paste or sauce can be used instead of fresh tomatoes. This saves a lot of chopping time.
Soak chickpeas in boiling water if you forget to soak it ahead of time. In this way only 2 hour of soaking in needed.
Make ginger garlic paste in bulk and put it in the fridge. Similarly, make a green chilly paste and keep in the fridge. This saves a lot of cooking time.
You can also make a big batch of chapatti dough using your grinder atta attachment or food processor. Divide into smaller portions, put in zip lock bags and freeze it. Whenever you need, take one bag, thaw it and use. This stays good for more than a month.
While chopping vegetables, chop in a bulk, use what is needed and put the remaining in the fridge for later use. Chopping a vegetable at a stretch saves a lot of time.
Whenever you boil potatoes to make some extra and put it in the fridge. This can be used to make stuffed parathas, cutlets etc.
Use the microwave to saute onions, tomatoes and to cook up the vegetables.