Just like everyone I started to cook only after my marriage I used to cook basic stuff like rasam,chapathi or make tea but never stood and cooked full course meal,my maid used to clean up so I never knew how clumsy I was in kitchen until I got married.I used to have spices or vegetables all around me.It was my accident zone.I used to burn my hand most of the time since things were every where.My husband used to come and give me a good scream for being so irresponsible,then I slowly started to play around the kitchen more safe and organized to avoid all this.I used to pick things and immediately keep them back where they belong so that gave me more space in kitchen and fewer accidents now its become a habit I do it without my conscious.My kitchen looks good and clean now.A big thanks to him.
Like this I learned lot of stuff saving my time,how to plan dish for next day and how to keep the vegetables and other stuff fresh for longer period.Here its not like INDIA to buy fresh vegetable every day,we have to store vegetables for a week or two,so keeping them fresh is really important,well let me share what all I found useful in everyday kitchen.
Planning a meal:
- Always plan ahead what you want to cook the next day,open your fridge and check what all the vegetables available.
- If you see any green leaves choose them first because they tend to lose its freshness soon when compared to other vegetables,so cook them first.
- If you don’t see any green leaves then check what are all the vegetables remaining,if you see one brinjal,one carrot or any single kind of vegetable left try to fusion them and cook a new recipe or try sambar,all kinds of veggie go well with sambar.
- check if you have all the ingredients you need for that particular recipe previous night itself,this was no hassle in the morning.
- When you chop potatoes,plantain,brinjal they tend to change to brown colour so try immersing them in water with a spoon of curd added.
- If you want panner to be soft just remove them from cover add1 tsp of oil in pan & toss the panner for a minute and drop it in a cup of boiling water,leave for 5 min,then add to the recipe.
- Store vegetable in frozen zip lock or air filled plastic cover to help them stay for longer duration,I store peas,drumstick,curry leaves,garlic,onion from leftover to reuse later.
- Keep coriander leaves in a muslin cloth bag in the refrigerator. They will remain fresh for a longer time.
- Remove the stems of green chilies while storing them .This will help them to stay fresh for long.
- After peeling onions cut in half and soak in water for about 10 minutes before cutting to avoid crying.
- Soak almonds in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes .The skin will peel off easily.
How to make quick curd in emergencies:
- Take warm milk and put a tsp of curd culture and a whole green raw chilli with stalk in it. Cover and keep aside in a warm place. In 2-3 hours time , you have thick, tasty curds.
How to make panner at home:
- If the milk gets spoiled don’t throw them convert into paneer.
- Procedure to make soft paneer: Boil some milk ,add lime juice, curds or citric acid. Enough to set the milk curdling. When milk curdles completely strain in a muslin cloth, tie it and drain all the water off in 5 mins. press it with some heavy vessel to get a firm paneer. Keep for 30 min . Remove paneer from cloth and freeze it.
How to keep the vessel sparkling:
- If the kadai turn brown in colour just sprinkle some salt and soak the vessel for sometime and brush it off with clean water and wipe it completely dry with a cloth,I learned this trick form my maid she just turns the vessel like they were new one.
- If you want to remove that stinky smell from milk pan,spoons,or any container just add some cooking soda and soak it for 10 min,this defenetely was best when my kid was 6 months old and it helped to wash her milk bottle and her toys .
Tips on frying:
- crispiness-whenever you want the recipe to be crispy just add rice flour or semolina or corn flour more oil depending on the vegetable to get that perfect crispiness.
- For fluffy pooris- add semolina & rice flour a bit in poori dough to get that fluffy finish.you can make pooris in advance to one hr by placing on wet muslin cloth, if you have more guest.
- Always keep the fire in slow mode to avoid burning in food, cooking in slow flame helps the dish get evenly cooked and stores the nutrition.
- Always use big pan for gravies due to spilling,this will help in keeping the stove surrounding clean.
- Always slow the flame while adding dough let them rest for a min and then increase the flame to medium high.
- Ginger&garlic paste- always use garlic at pieces more than ginger because ginger is very strong it will make dish sharp and pungent. Make their paste and store in a glass bottle it will stay for 5 days add 1/2 tsp of oil too for longer duration.
- Roast pepper,cumin seeds,fennel seeds,cardamom,rava(semolina) in advance and store them in air tight glass for future use,this way its quick to add to recipes.
- Soak dal and rice in advance for 30 mins to get cooked quickly.
- Soak nuts 0r poppy seeds in mild hot water to remove their skin easily or to grind them into paste.
- Soak Potatoes in warm water with salt added to boil it quickly.
- Soak garlic in water for 2 min to remove their skin quick and easy.