Handy Kitchen Tips

1.  Removing garlic skin is tedious and can consume a lot of time, especially when you’re in a hurry. Warm garlic cloves in the microwave slightly and you’ll see the skin peeling off without difficulty. Also, you can submerge them in water for about 10 minutes before peeling the skin.

2. Add a pinch of turmeric when cooking dal, it will hasten the cooking process.

3. Wrap bananas in a newspaper and then refrigerate them to keep them fresh for long.

4. Do you wonder why your home-made fries don’t turn out to be as crispy as the ones you eat at a snack bar? Try this trick. Cut the potatoes into thin strips and deep-fry (half done). Cool the fries and store them in the freezer for 5 to 6 hours. Make sure they are covered with a plastic wrap. Fry them just before you have to serve them.

5. It is better to use round dishes in the microwave oven rather than square or rectangular dishes as round dishes spread heat faster. Rectangular dishes cook food more on the ends and less on the inside. So always opt for round, shallow and straight-sided dishes when cooking food in the microwave.

6. Wash the grains a few times until the water runs clear. Remove all the water and let it sit for 20 minutes. This will remove all the starch and also won’t make the rice sticky. You can add a few drops of lemon juice to the rice while cooking it to ensure that the grains do not stick to each other.

7. To retain the bright green colour of leafy vegetables, add a pinch of sugar while cooking them. You can also put the vegetables in ice cold water, as soon as you blanch them. When cooking eggplant, add a spoon of milk to a bowl of water and add the chopped pieces to that water. The eggplant will stay dark purple.

8. Pressure-cook tomatoes with salt to taste. When cool, churn them in a mixer and strain the juice. Deep freeze the juice in an ice tray. Place the juice cubes in a box or a plastic bag and store them in the freezer. Use them to make tomato soup, vegetables and gravies when you’re falling short of time or have run out of tomatoes.

9.  If you see yourself standing in front of the stove guarding it till the milk boils, here’s what you need to do. Before you pour milk into the pot for boiling, rub butter along the top edge and the inside lip of the pot. Due to this, the milk won’t overflow when it foams up.

10. If you have read the recipe wrong and ended up adding a tablespoon of salt, rather than a teaspoon, don’t despair. You need not throw it away. Excess salt in any dish can be brought down by adding diced potatoes, tomatoes or a teaspoon of sugar.

11. Onions are a great addition to a dish but chopping them can be frustrating, as they bring you to tears. Try peeling and cutting onions under running water or try chopping them near a gas flame. Refrigerating onions before cutting them is also a good idea.

12. The next time you make paneer at home, do not throw away the remaining water. Keep it for further use in cooking. Whey (paneer water) is full of protein, calcium and digestive aids. It can be used for kneading soft dough for chapatis or for making soup. It not only adds more taste to the dish, but is also very nutritious.

13. Do you shove lemons in the refrigerator in those flimsy supermarket plastic bags? Lemons, if stored at room temperature can only last a week before they start hardening. To preserve lemons for a longer duration, coat them with coconut oil and refrigerate them in an open container.

14. When you’re making pakoras or vadas, see to it that you do not add extra water to the batter. In case the batter turns watery, there are chances of oil splattering when you try to fry it. Do not panic or throw away the batter. Add a tablespoon of ghee to it and the batter is ready to be fried.

15. Putting 3-4 cloves in sugar container will keep the ants at bay.

16. Apply some lemon juice on the cut surface of the apple to avoid browning. They will look fresh for a longer time.

17. Put some boric powder in kitchen in corners and other places. Cockroaches will leave your house.

18.  If the dough sticks to the rolling pin, place it in freezer for a few minutes.

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. To keep the chillies fresh for a longer time, remove the stems before storing.

21. If you add half a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds to the lentil and rice mixture while soaking, dosas will be more crisp.

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