Basic Cooking Tips

Learn some basic cooking tips, tricks, short cuts and lot more to save time and avoid making mistakes when you are in kitchen thereby making your cooking enjoyable.

    Soak rice for at least half an hour before cooking.

    To prevent rice from sticking to the pot add 1

     1 tsp ghee or oil to the boiling water before adding rice.

    To test if the rice is cooked squeeze a grain between the thumb and index finger,if a hard starch particle remains rice needs a   little more cooking.

    1 cup of raw rice equals to 2 ½ cups of cooked rice.

    If a recipe contains curry leaves,lightly crush them before use for better aroma.Curry leaves can be dehydrated and stored.

    To use cluster beans with other vegetables lightly saute them before mixing to other vegetables to avoid the bitter aftertaste.

    The food to be fried should be at room temperature.

    Heat oil for deep frying to the right temperature,if oil is too cold the food cooked will absorb a lot of oil and If oil is too hot the food will brown too fast on the outside while the inside remains uncooked. To check the right frying temperature add a small piece of  bread to the hot oil if it browns in one minute the oil is ready for frying.

    For crisp results add only few items at a time to the frying pan sliding in from the edges of the pan.Donot try to cook too much at a time as this will result in lowering the temp of the oil and the item being fried may soak up too much oil.

    Food being fried usually drops towards the base and then rises to the surface,once food surfaces gently turn the food with a slotted spoon to cook evenly.

    To prevent discolouration of brinjals,potatoes etc while peeling and slicing,keep them immersed in water with little salt in it.

    When curry tastes over salty add little vinegar or lime juice.

    Always cut onions immersed in water to prevent tears from eyes.

    Add a pinch of salt to water while cooking a broken egg to prevent the white of the egg from coming out.

    Meat will soften earlier if cooked with a small piece of raw papaya.

    Before cooking cauliflour soak the cut florets in water for about half an hour with little salt and vinegar to loosen any dirt and kill the insects which might be hiding inside the florets.

    Sprinkle a pinch of sugar on a stuffed chicken before roasting to get a nice brown crust.

    Before cooking fish wash it with a paste of gramflour and turmeric to remove any fishy smell.

    Always keep a bottle of  ready made mayonaise in the fridge.It turns out to be very handy when you want to prepare sandwiches in a jiffy.

    Wrap sandwiches without cutting the sides,in foil or in a damp napkin to keep them fresh.Cut the crust only at the time of serving to prevent the edges from drying out.

    Spread softened butter on the bread slices,avoid melted butter as it will soak into the bread and make a soggy sandwich.

    Use a spoon instead of a knife to peel ginger,scrape against the skin,it will come off clean.

    Most handy equipment in the kitchen is a hand blender as it can be used directly in the cooking pot and is much easier to clean than a blender or a food processor.

    For handy salad dressings make salad vinegrettes in squeeze bottles, store in fridge and use when required.

    To make soft idlis mix a little amount of soaked sago to the idly mixture.

    Soak beans of different kinds and store in freezer in zip lock bags and just pull out a bag  and cook rajma or chola whenever you wish.

    To save time you can chop veggies on holidays and store in airtight containers in fridge for few days.

    You can make onion tomato gravy or white gravy or for that matter any other type of gravy in large quantities before hand and freeze in ice trays and later in zip lock bags in the freezer for upto 1 month to conveniently prepare quick meals.

    You need not knead wheat flour everyday to make chapatis.Knead enough dough to satisfy the need of your family for 2 to 3 days.

    If noodles or pasta sticks together after boiling,to seperate them pour normal cold water over them.

    Try to cook most of your everyday dishes in pressure cooker to save time and fuel.

   Before boiling milk coat the bottom of the vessel with little water to avoid the milk from sticking to the bottom of the vessel.

    Mix little vegetable oil and a dash of vinegar to ginger garlic paste before storing it in refrigerator to keep it fresh for long.

    Keep nuts in refrigerator to keep them fresh for long.

    After boiling noodle or pasta immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and also sprinkle some oil on them so that they donot stick together.

    When boiling tomatoes for sauce make a plus sign on top of each one to make it easier to peel them when they are cooked.

    If you forget to soak rajma or chana overnight,soak them in boiling water in a casserole for one hour with lid on.

    Soak potatoes in salted water for about an hour before baking to speed up the cooking process.

    Boiled potatoes are very versatile,always keep some handy in your refrigerator to make a quick snack for your guest, some potato recipe for your family,or a quick tiffin recipe for your  children in the morning.

    While cooking meat first cook it on high heat to seal its juices,then lower the heat and cook till tender.

    After taking out food from the freezer let it come to room temperature before cooking.

    For making soft and moist kebabs marinate your meats overnight in fridge before cooking.

    Always make chicken or lamb stock in large quantities and freeze in trays to make cubes which can be stored in plastic bags.Just pull out a bag to prepare a delicious soup for your family.

    For making creamy dressings for salads healthy substitute half the mayonaise with hung curd.

    While chopping herbs sprinkle some salt on the chopping board to stop them from flying around.

   After cutting corn off the cob using the back of the knife extract the sweet milk to thicken any corn dish.

    Wash veggies and fruits before peeling or chopping them to preserve nutrients.

   Donot throw away water used to boil veggies as it contain lots of nutrients,instead use it in preparing gravies.

    After cutting apples apply lemon juice to avoid discoloration.

   To keep corriander and mint fresh wrap in moist muslin cloth before refrigerator.

   Remove the stems of green chillies before storing in fridge to keep them fresh for long.

    Soak almonds in hot waterfor 15 minutes to peel the skin off.

   Wrap the fruits and vegetables in paper bags before storing in refrigerator.

  To make tikkis from potatoes boil them beforehand and cool them completely before use.

    To get a good colour in your gravy dish use ripe red tomatoes along with readymade tomato paste.

    To make ginger garlic paste use 3 parts garlic and 2 parts ginger by weight.

    Soak split dals for at least one hour before cooking to reduce the cooking time.

    Soak poppy seeds in hot water for 15 minutes before grinding.

   Use left over dal to make paranthas,rasam or sambhar.

    Beat curd well before using it in the masala for cooking.

   To make crisp pakoras add cornflour to the gramflour bater.

    Peel your veggies as thinly as possible to preserve its nutrients.

   While selecting brinjals for bharta select the lighter ones as the heavier ones have too many seeds that may give a bitter taste.

  In warm climates bananas tend to get overipe, to stop the process of ripening keep them in fridge,the skin may turn black but the fruit will remain firm.

    To make soft puris knead the dough with milk instead of water.

    Rub little oil to the grater before grating cheese to prevent it from sticking to the grater.

    To refresh stored green veggies soak them in cold water with few drops of lemon juice for 15 minutes,they will look bright again.

    When boiling pasta add 1tsp of salt per liter of water,the pasta will absorb only as much as it needs.

    Buy a good quality of olive oil,even a small drizzle will bring out the awesome flavour of pizza,pasta,salad etc.

    Always use sharp knife for chopping as it will work more efficiently.

   Donot over crowd the pan while frying as your food may get steamed instead of being fried.

    Always taste your food before serving to others.

   While boiling cauliflower add a bit of milk along with salt to retain its bright white colour.

    Always measure your ingredients carefully for baking as baking is a science.

    To get maximum juice from a lemon rub it in your palms for a while or microwave it for 10 seconds before squeezing it.

    Donot dress your salad when you are having a party at home instead leave it on one side and let your guests do it themselves.

    Reserve some of the water in which the pasta has been boiled to be used in the sauce for the pasta as it gives a little creaminess and body to the pasta.

    To reduce the heat of the chillies remove its seeds.

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