Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Kitchen Bytes

Hi , I found these useful kitchen tips on a website. Hope you would find it helpful too!

  1. To remove the skin of almonds easily, soak them in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Putting 3-4 cloves in sugar container will keep the ants at bay.
  3. If you keep a piece of blotting paper at the bottom of the container, it will keep biscuits fresh for a longer time.
  4. Avoid the use of butter. It it is essential to use, use a butter containing low saturated fat or with plant stanols (which avoid absorption of cholesterol by our body) or similar substitutes.
  5. Apply some lemon juice on the cut surface of the apple to avoid browning. They will look fresh for a longer time.
  6. Apply mashed banana over a burn on your body for cooling effect.
  7. Apply a mixture of 1 pinch of chewing tobacco and 1 drop of water. Mix and apply directly and immediately to the sting; cover with bandaid to hold in place. Pain will go away in just a few short minutes.
  8. Slit karelas at the middle and apply a mixture of salt, wheat flour and curd all round. Keep aside for ½ hour and then cook.
  9. To keep celery fresh for a long time, wrap it in aluminium foil and place in the refrigerator.
  10. Place some chopped onion in the vessel having burnt food, pour boiling water in it, keep 5 minutes and then clean.
  11. Keeping a small piece of hing (asafoetida) in the same container will store chili powder for long time.
  12. Use a wooden board to chop. It will not blunt the knife. Don't use a plastic board, small plastic pieces may go with the vegetables.
  13. You can use dried coriander and mint leaves in coarse powder form in vegetable curry or chutney, if fresh ones are not available. To keep them fresh for longer time, wrap them in a muslin cloth and keep in a fridge.
  14. Put some boric powder in kitchen in corners and other places. Cockroaches will leave your house.
  15. Immerse coconut in water for ½ an hour to remove its hust.
  16. To chop dry fruits, place them in fridge for half an hour before cutting. Taking the fruits out and cut them with a hot knife (dip it in hot water before cutting).
  17. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin, place it in freezer for a few minutes.
  18. Make a small hole in the egg by piercing a pin before boiling it. You will be able to remove its skin very easily.
  19. Immerse the egg in a pan of cool salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh; if it rises to the surface, it is certainly quite old.
  20. Garlic skin comes off easily if the garlic cloves are slightly warmed before peeling.
  21. Avoid the use of ghee. If it is necessary, substitute it with canola oil. Even for making halwa, you can partly substitute it with oil.
  22. To keep the chillies fresh for a longer time, remove the stems before storing.
  23. To preserve green peas, keep them in a polythene bag in the freezer.
    Place a betel (paan) leaf over the leftover idli and dosa batter to prevent them from becoming sour.
  24. Do not beat idli batter too much, the air of which has been incorporated during fermentation will escape.
  25. If you add half a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds to the lentil and rice mixture while soaking, dosas will be more crisp.
  26. To ripen fruits, wrap them in newspaper and put in a warm place for 2-3 days. The ethylene gas they emit will make them ripe.
  27. Avoid deep frying. Substitute deep frying with stir frying or even bake. Don't pour the oil, but make a habit of spraying the oil in utensil for cooking. Heat the utensil first, then add oil. This way oil spreads well. You will use less oil this way.
  28. Don't throw away of the foods left over. Store them in fridge. Use them in making tasting dishes.
  29. If the lemon or lime is hard, put it in warm water for 5-10 minutes to make it easier for squeeze.
  30. Hang a peacock feather, lizards will leave your house.
  31. Moisten the base of the vessel with water to reduce the chances of milk to stick at the bottom.
  32. Keep spoon in the vessel while boiling milk at medium heat. It will avoid sticking the milk at the bottom of the vessel.
  33. Adding half of teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in the milk while boiling will not spoil the milk even if you don't put it in the fridge.
  34. Grind some common salt in your mixer/grinder for some time every month. This will keep your mixer blades sharp.
  35. Put a few camphor tablets in a cup of water and keep it in the bed room near your bed, or in any place with mosquitoes.
  36. When the noodles are boiled, drain all the hot water and add cold water. This way all the noodles will get separated.
  37. To avoid crying, cut the onions into two parts and place them in water for 15 minutes before chopping them.
  38. Wrap the onions individually in a newspaper and store in a cool and dark place to keep them fresh for a long time.
  39. Watch from the oven window to conserve energy because the oven temperature drops by 25 degrees every time its door is opened.
  40. Apply a paste of sodium bicarbonate and water on the walls and floor of the oven and keep the oven on low heat for about half an hour. Dried food can easily be removed.
  41. To keep paneer fresh for several days, wrap it in a blotting paper while storing in the refrigerator.
  42. Do not fry paneer, immerse it in boiling water to make it soft and spongy.
  43. Bake in microwave ovens. Wrap the papads in polythene sheet and place with dal or rice will prevent them from drying and breaking.
  44. To prevent the growth of fungus in pickles, burn a small grain of asafoetida over a burning coal and invert the empty pickle jar for some time before putting pickles in the jar.
  45. Keep the maize/corn seeds in the freezer and pop while still frozen to get better pops.
  46. To bake potatoes quickly, place them in salt water for 15 minutes before baking. Use the skin of boiled potatoes to wipe mirrors to sparkling clean.
  47. Don't store potatoes and onions together. Potatoes will rot quickly if stored with onions.
  48. To prevent formation of ice, rub table salt to the insides of your freezer.
  49. Add a few drops of lemon juice in the water before boiling the rice to make rice whiter.
  50. Add a teaspoon of canola oil in the water before boiling the rice to separate each grain after cooking.
  51. Don't throw away the rice water after cooking. Use it to make soup or add it in making dal (lentils).
  52. Add 5gm of dried powdered mint leaves to 1kg of rice. It will keep insects at bay.
  53. Put a small paper packet of boric powder in the container of rice to keep insects at bay.
  54. Put a few leaves of mint in the container of rice to keep insects at bay.
  55. Preserve the samosas in freezer. For eating, take out of the freezer two hours in advance and bake them over low temperature.Bake them instead of deep frying to make them fat free. Don't fry the filling potato masala.
  56. Put 2-3 cloves in the sugar to keep ants at bay.
  57. Use sprouted mustard seeds (rayee) and fenugreek (methi) seeds for your tadkas. Both of them when sprouted have more nutritional values. Also this add flavour to the dish and can be more beneficial, besides giving decorative look to the dish.
  58. To remove the skin of tomatoes, place them in warm water for 5-10 minutes. The skin can then be easily peeled off. When tomatoes are not available or too costly, substitute with tomato puree or tomato ketchup/sauce.
  59. Place overripe tomatoes in cold water and add some salt. Overnight they will become firm and fresh.
  60. Tamarind is an excellent polish for brass and copper items. Rub a slab of wet tamarind with some salt sprinkled on it on the object to be polished.Gargles with tamarind water is recommended for a sore throat.
  61. Use non-stick utensils. Use thick bottom utensils. They get uniformly heated. For electric stoves, use flat bottom utensils.
  62. Don't discard the water in which the vegetables are soaked or cooked. Use it in making soup or gravy.
  63. To keep the vegetables fresh for longer time wrap them in newspaper before putting them in the fridge.
  64. Chop the vegetables only when you are ready to use them. Don't cut them in too advance. It would spoil their food value.
  65. Place a raw peeled tomato in the bow, it will absorb the extra salt.
  66. To get yogurt in winter, place the container in a warm place like oven or over the voltage stabiliser.
  67. If the yogurt has become sour, put it in a muslin cloth and drain all the water. Then add milk to make it as good as fresh in taste. Use the drained water in making tasty gravy for vegetables or for basen curry.
  68. To keep the yogurt fresh for many days, fill the vessel containing yogurt with water to the brim and refrigerate. Change the water daily.
  69. To easily shred cheese, place it in the freezer for 30 minutes. The firmer cheese is less likely to make a melted mess on your grater.
  70. To cut grease and odour on dishes, add a tablespoon of vinegar to hot soapy water.
  71. You can clean darkened aluminum pans easily by pouring in two teaspoons cream of tartar mixed in some of water. Place on heat and boil for 10 minutes.
  72. To unclog a drain, mix a cup of salt with a cup of baking soda. Pour these into the drain, and then add a pot of boiling water.
  73. If you drop an egg on the floor, cover it with salt and let it remain like this for a couple of minutes. You will be able to easily clean the mess with a paper towel.
  74. Mix extra pastry dough, to the breadcrumb stage, and store in airtight container in refrigerator. Use as and when required, for simple and quick result. Same dough may be used in a number of tarts, pies, cookies and puddings.
  75. Warm garlic flakes slightly either in a microwave oven or on a griddle before peeling. The skin will come off easily.
  76. When mixing cake batter, icings or whipping any liquid, keep a folded cloth under the vessel. This will help you get a better grip of the vessel since it will not slip over the work surface.
  77. To get the full flavour out of saffron, warm it slightly before crushing (you may do so in a microwave oven for ten seconds on HIGH), add one teaspoon of warm milk and stir well.
  78. Wipe the blades of greasy knives with a peeled lemon. Then wash under running water. The greasiness will disappear.
  79. If karanjis get a bit stale, warm them for half to one minute in a microwave oven before serving. They will taste like freshly fried.
  80. A handful of well-soaked moong dal added to any salad will increase the proteins and make it extra nutritious.
  81. It will be easier to chop raisins if you sprinkle some flour over them so that they do not stick. Then cut with a small kitchen scissors.
  82. To smoothen the icing on a cake use a knife dipped in hot water and gently rub it over the top and the sides.
  83. A handful of salt added to the rinsing water for glass and crockery will not only make them cleaner but sparkling clear.
  84. You can eliminate tedious cleaning of the shelves of your kitchen cabinets if you line them with old newspapers. Just discard and replace with fresh ones.
  85. Ideally use a long handled spatula or spoon while stir-frying food in a wok. You will not burn your hands.
  86. Place a large jug filled with hot detergent water on the kitchen platform so that large knives, forks, spoons, spatulas, etc. can be put straight into the jug after use. Thus they will require only a quick rinse before use again.
  87. Crush chikkis coarsely and use as nougat over cakes and ice creams.
  88. When adding flour to any liquid to thicken it, first mix the flour in a little liquid to make a smooth paste and then add it to the rest of the liquid and stir well. This will prevent lumps from forming.
  89. To prevent chopped brinjals from getting discoloured keep them in salted water, till required.
  90. Keep grated potatoes in cold water to prevent them from getting discoloured. When required, drain, press out excess water and dab on a clean kitchen towel. Use immediately.
  91. To refresh old laddoos, heat them in a microwave for thirty seconds. The laddoos will taste as good and fresh.
  92. Use a wooden spatula to stir dishes like halwa, etc. while cooking, to avoid scratching of utensils. Besides it will be easier on the hands too.
  93. Whenever lemon slices are added to any tea, make sure to remove every single seed, or the tea will taste bitter.
  94. Add cardamom peels to the tea canister, instead of throwing them away. It will lend a very subtle flavour of cardamom to every cup of tea you brew!
  95. Crust removed from bread for making sandwiches etc. can be sundried or ovendried and powdered in a mixer to form fine breadcrumbs. Refrigerate and use as required.
  96. Add a few drops of salt water to banana chips while frying them as this will make the chips crisper.
  97. Do not throw away the water in which dal is boiled. Use it as a stock for a soup or even add to any gravy.
  98. Always warm dry spices like cumin seeds, cardamom, cloves, etc. on a griddle before powdering. They will grind faster and the powder will be finer.
  99. Always keep dough covered with a moist cloth to avoid a dry crust from forming on it.
  100. To unmould chilled dishes quickly, dip container halfway into hot water for a few seconds and then unmould.
  101. Icecreams set faster and better in aluminium containers. Also, place a thick plastic sheet or spread some salt under the container to keep it from sticking to the floor of the freezer.
  102. Avoid cooking sour dishes (like tamarind based dishes) in a non-stick pan as the sourness will remove coating faster.
  103. Always use a standard set of measuring instruments for your cooking. This will save a lot of time on approximations, and additions-deletions. Also it will avoid searching for measuring gadgets at the last moment.
  104. To avoid dishes from burning when being cooked in a handi, place a tawa (griddle) underneath.
  105. While making ghee add betel leaves. They give a pleasant aroma as well as increase the shelf life.
  106. If the jam has got solidified add a little hot water to the amount of jam you need and stir.
  107. While making mango juice add little milk. The juice will not only be tastier but more nutritious.
  108. Instant noodles when crushed and deep-fried, make an excellent topping for soups, salads, etc.
  109. Warm cardamom pods very lightly, cool and deseed. These seeds will powder more easily.
  110. Use ground sugar to make thick shakes etc. So that the sugar dissolves quickly and completely in the cold milk. If pouring out colours etc. turn out to be a messy job, use a clean ink dropper for this purpose.
  111. Rub brinjals with a little salted oil after slicing to avoid discoloration.
  112. Keep a little powdered cashewnuts handy in a bottle to thicken gravies, milk, etc. in a hurry.
  113. While cutting jackfruit apply little oil to the knife as well as your hands. It will cut easily and prevent your hands and the knife from getting sticky.
  114. Chop green chillies, etc. either with a steel knife or steel scissors. Do not use iron knives since the paste will tend to turn blackish later on.
  115. Soak lemons in lukewarm water before slicing and squeezing them in order to extract maximum juice.
  116. Peel vegetables and fruits thinly as a major chunk of nutrients lie just beneath the skin. Peeling them thickly would result in a loss of these nutrients.
  117. To retain the nutrients in vegetables, scrub and wash them in several changes of water before chopping. Once chopped immediately immerse them in gravy.
  118. Don't throw leftover vegetables. Use them as a stuffing for making paranthas.
  119. While storing the excess dough in the refrigerator coat it with a light layer of ghee or oil. This shall prevent the dough from getting dry.
  120. Large or mature carrots can have a slightly bitter taste. To avoid this, slice them lengthwise and remove the core before using.
  121. When buying eggplants, select those that have a nice glossy shine. Avoid ones that are dull in colour for they will be overripe and bitter.
  122. Use a potato peeler to create cheese peels for garnishing salads, soups etc.
  123. After chopping garlic or onions, run a lemon quarter over the knife blade and the chopping board to remove the odour.
  124. When the chillies are required to be ground it is best to soak them beforehand so that they soften and make a finer paste.
  125. Mash about six cloves of garlic and add to half a cup of butter. Then add chopped chives or parsley, form into logs, wrap in plastic and freeze. Slice as needed to add to meats or vegetables or use as a spread on bread.
  126. Basil leaves are tender and bruise very easily. So never chop them with a knife, but tear them lightly with your fingers just before using.
  127. If vegetables are cut uniformly, they not only cook evenly and impart a good flavour but also retain their nutritional value and look good.
  128. If walnuts or fresh coconut flesh is to be taken out as a single piece from their shells, keep them in hot water for five minutes and then break the shell.
  129. To detect the freshness of the egg, drop it into a basin of cold water at least double the depth of the egg. It is freshest if it sinks straight to the bottom on its side. If it hangs on its end but is still under the water, it is stale but still usable. If it floats on the surface, it is bad and should not be used.
  130. Lettuce when cut with a knife get discoloured along the edges so they should always be torn by hand.
  131. You can add garlic, rosemary, dill or any other herb to wine vinegar and use it to flavour a salad, vegetable or main dish.
  132. When you flatten a chicken breast, it not only gives it a uniform thickness but also tenderizes the meat by breaking down some of the fibres.
  133. Do not add baking soda to beans to soften it because it actually prevents the beans from absorbing moisture and may also destroy some nutrients.
  134. When buying zucchini look for one with a firm texture and glossy bright colour. Any zucchini that feels limp has lost flavour and texture.
  135. To rejuvenate muffins that have been sitting around for a while, heat them in the microwave oven just long enough to warm them.
  136. Citrus skin contains oils that have intense flavour that can brighten up many a sweet or savoury recipe.
  137. Never defrost fish, chicken or meat at room temperature - the surface temperature rises to a point where bacteria can multiply before the centre is thawed.
  138. Fish has a tendency to leave its smell in the pan. To eliminate fish smell put used tea brew and boil it for ten minutes and smell should be gone.
  139. In order to get rid off the unpleasant odour due to accumulation of food scrap in a refrigerator, place a fresh slice of bread which will absorb all unpleasant odour.
  140. Used milk glasses should be rinsed with cold water instead of hot water before washing, as hot water cooks the milk and makes them harder to clean.
  141. Unsliced stale bread can be refreshed by sprinkling it with water, wrapping it in a foil and heating it in the oven on 200 ÂșC for about five to ten minutes.
  142. To prevent lump formation in a salt container, put little rice granules at the bottom of the container, as they will absorb the moisture from the salt.
  143. Use milk instead of water to knead puri dough. Puris will become soft and luscious.
    When cutting meringue pie, dip knife into ice cold water as this will prevent meringue from sticking to knife.
  144. To make whipped cream retain its peaks, add one teaspoon of honey before whipping.
  145. If mushrooms are very large, the stalks are likely to be tough; therefore they should be discarded. Always tear rather than cut oyster mushrooms.
  146. When using cooked or raw garlic as an ingredient in dishes that will be stored for several days, be sure to remove any small green shoots found in the centre of the cloves. These shoots have a slightly bitter taste, which develop over time and can be imparted to the finished dish.
  147. Do not throw away the lemon after squeezing the juices out of it. Put it in the pressure cooker when cooking. This will prevent the inside of the cooker from turning black. Dry lemons are also effective.
  148. Rub the surface of a chopping board with a halved lemon to get rid of onion, garlic or fish smell. It works for the hands too.
  149. Warm the filter slightly before use while preparing coffee decoction. This will prevent clogging and will facilitate the easy and quick flow of decoction through the filter.
  150. A Broiler chicken should have short drumsticks (thigh bone), thick bones, flexible breast bone and firm pink flesh, weighing around 0.4 to 0.7 KG.
  151. Lamb (White Meat) requires more cooking in comparison to Mutton (Red Meat). If Lamb / Mutton is slightly underdone, it is not harmful, but Pork meat should always be thoroughly done.
  152. Avoid washing grill top with water, instead use rock salt and oil on hot grill and wipe it with a cloth duster before use, it ensures non stick (seasoned) grilling all the time.
  153. The strength of flour (atta, maida) can be determined by the amount of water it absorbs while kneading. See to it that kneading is given its due importance while making the dough. More the absorption better is the flour strength-wise resulting in a better product.
  154. Do not discard the cut away skin of pineapple, it can be used to make an alcoholic or non- alcoholic drink. The simplest is a drink, made by simmering the skins with water, sugar or honey and a little lime juice. When cool, strain out the solids, and add chopped fresh mint, serve this juice chilled.
  155. If there is less butter for making sandwiches, you can extend it by beating in some fresh milk (100 ml per 150 gm butter). Add the milk in a thin stream to the softened butter, beat with a wooden spoon or in a blender / food processor.
  156. Roll ripe bananas in a bed of chopped nuts or scraped fresh coconut or desiccated coconut and freeze. This treat tastes and has the texture of an ice cream and can be served as a special and healthy treat to children specially during the summer season.
  157. To remove the odour of onions from your hands after cutting or slicing onions, rub a little milk, then wash with a little soap.
  158. Do not throw the paper wrapped around butter in the original packing, this can be used instead of greaseproof paper to line your cake moulds.
  159. Can-openers function better when dipped in hot water.
  160. To measure honey, coat the measuring spoon or cup with a little oil, this will help in honey sliding off easily from the spoon or cup.
  161. To remove tea or coffee stains from pots or cups, rub the stained area with a little salt and rinse afterwards.
  162. To remove a spoonful of honey from the jar easily, slightly heat the spoon, the honey will come off easily.
  163. To remove the lemon rind from a grater run a straight bladed knife across the grater and remove the rest with the help of a toothbrush.
  164. If you want to avoid using colour in tandoori chicken, use lime water and turmeric instead.
  165. To make vinegar last twice as much, divide the vinegar in two bottles and add water which has been boiled, after a week it will come up to full strength again.
  166. You can create your own tea bag by putting the required amount of tea in a muslin bag on a string and adding it to the pot , you can remove this bag easily when the tea has steeped enough and it helps not only in cleaning, but also the leaves can be easily scattered in the garden.
  167. To remove unpleasant odours from the oven, place a wide pan with warm water in which used tea leaves have been added and leave it to stand in the oven for some time. Even a bowl of warm water with vinegar or lime juice does the trick.
  168. Always use 2 bowls for breaking 2 or more eggs. Use one bowl to break one egg at a time and collect the clean broken egg in the other. If an egg is bad, then that can be identified and thrown and not mixed with the rest.
  169. One teaspoon of vinegar added to oil while deep frying foods will prevent them from absorbing too much oil.
  170. Give extra colour to tomato soup or sauce by adding a slice of cooked beetroot.
  171. If after cooking you find that the soup is too thin, you can thicken it by adding a mashed boiled potato.
  172. When making cutlets you can substitute dry breadcrumbs with finely crushed cornflakes.
  173. Grease your baking tray and dust with flour before pouring in your cake mixture. The cake will come out easily when baked.
  174. To prevent raisins or fruits from sinking in cakes and puddings, coat them with dry flour and add to your batter, they will not sink to the bottom during baking. If nuts are to be placed on the top of cakes or biscuits, dip them in milk first. They will not fall off while baking.
  175. Before removing the cakes from the tins, leave it for five minutes to shrink. Always turn it out onto a clean towel and then reverse it on a rack or a flat plate to avoid any markings on the cake.
  176. To get light spongy idlis, do not stir the batter when pouring it in the moulds. Instead, mix it well the night before.
  177. Chapattis would come out very soft if a little rice flour is used while rolling out the dough.
  178. Add a knob of butter to spaghetti or noodles after draining them so that they do not stick together.
  179. Coat cutlets with a fine powder of roasted chickpeas if you have run out of breadcrumbs. You can also coat them with semolina.
  180. If soda bicarbonate is not at hand, add a pinch of fruit salt to pakora batter to make them soft and fluffy.
  181. To prevent gummy noodles, rice and macaroni, add two teaspoon of limejuice or cooking oil to the water before cooking. This prevents them from sticking together.
  182. Vegetables cooked with their skin retain a larger part of vitamins.
  183. Low heat is best for cooking eggs because too high a temperature toughens the egg white and shrinks the protein content.
  184. A few pieces of tender raw papaya added to meat while cooking helps to soften it.
  185. When adding beaten egg to meat loaf or meat balls, etc. reserve a little for brushing or coating the surface. This prevents cracking of the surface and gives a uniform brown and attractive colour.
  186. Save cooking cost by pressure-cooking chicken and mutton and then proceeding with the recipe.
  187. If your chicken curry is too hot, add sufficient curds to make the taste and flavor milder.

1 comment:

soccer widow said...

Thank you for your helpful kitchen hints, Roopa. I can't wait to try the tip using tea to remove the smell of fish in a pan- a problem I hadn't yet solved. Regarding getting dough off a rolling pin- I prefer to use a little extra flour to rub over the rolling pin, the inside of the bowl and my hands if there's dough stuck to these. It makes crumbs that then get dusted into the bin and saves making a gloopy mess in the washing up.

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