My experiences in the kitchen-Part 2

kitchen tips and tricksFor a beginner in the kitchen all the activities will feel like a huge task. As you experience with cooking several dishes you start gaining confidence and the tasks start looking simpler and less complicated. Here are a few tips from my experiences in the kitchen in continuation to the previous posts that was shared.

Watch out for the tips and tricks that has to be managed while working in the kitchen.

Cutting or chopping vegetables

  • Sharpen your knife with a stone. Soak the stone in water and then rub the knife in an angle to get a better finish. Avoid the electric sharpener as much metal will be rubbed off in the tips and tricks
  • To avoid crying while cutting onions refrigerate  and then cut. If you have not refrigerated then  place an onion on the tip of the knife you use to cut the onion. No shedding of tears.
  • To avoid itching after cutting elephant foot take a small piece and place it on flame using a pincer. Your itching will minimize and gradually tips and tricks
  • Vara pindi / Banana stem dish is tasty. While chopping banana stem you need to remove the fibers that is present between the stem. Ideal method cut the inner white stem in ½ inch circular pieces. While segregating you will observe long hairy threads along with the circular piece. Roll this hairy threads on your finger and proceed to cut another circular slice. This way unwanted threads can be removed and finally hold 4 to 5 circular slices and chop them fine.
  • Do not throw away the water in which rice is washed prior to cooking. Raw banana , banana stem , banana flower chopped for torran i.e a dry vegetable dish: can be soaked in this water. This will avoid becoming black. Drain water and squeeze the ingredients well prior to cooking.
  • Add chopped Potato, brinjal (egg plant) ,elephant foot in water to avoid blackening. The actual color of the vegetable is retained.
  • To keep the green chillies fresh for a longer time, remove the stems before storing.
  • Wash and dry ladies finger prior to chopping. This will relieve you of stickiness.
  • Reduce bitterness of Karela. Slit karelas ( bitter gourd) length wise and apply a mixture of salt. Keep aside for ½ hour and then cook.

Cooking tips:

  • While boiling pasta and noodles, use some oil in the water to avoid sticking. When the noodles  are boiled, drain all the hot water and then add cold water. This way all the noodles will get separated.
  • 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.
  • Before cooking cauliflower florets soak them in warm salted water for a while to get rid of any tiny insects that may be present deep inside the florets and not visible to the eye.
  • A little rice flour added to bhajia batter will not only make the bhajias crisper but also less oily.
  • Always warm dry spices like cumin seeds, cardamom, cloves, etc. on a griddle before powdering. They will grind faster and the powder will be tips and tricks
  • If you want the onion to change color during sautéing on a low flame, add ½ tsp of sugar and you will see a coloration appear .

Safety tips:

  • If you are not using a chopping board, then it is advised to use finger gloves while cutting tips and tricks
  • Fry the fat of chicken in a kadai on a low flame. The oil that is collected can be stored in a clean and dry bottle. This oil is ideal to apply on minor burns in the kitchen. It gives cooling effect and heals faster too. Shelf life: 3 years

General tips:

  • If the lemon or lime is hard, put it in warm water for 5-10 minutes to make it easier for squeeze. Also lemon can be used while washing chicken, fish, meat to remove that raw blood smell, cleansing properties too.
  • To remove fish and meat odor from your hands rub with lemon rind.
  • Always keep dough (atta/ maida flour) covered with a moist cloth to avoid a dry crust from forming on it.
  • Crust removed from bread for making sandwiches etc., can be sun dried or oven dried and powdered in a mixer to form fine breadcrumbs. Refrigerate and use as required. You can make tikkis or use in tips and tricks
  • Commonly observed that jam bottle cap does not open as it is seal locked. Make a small dent on the cap with a knife to remove the vacuum and you will be able to open the cap.
  • Soak and cook dhals ,you can save cooking gas.  For more tips on gas saving methods check out- Great tips to save LPG in your kitchen.
  • Keep a scissor, bottle opener, stone for sharpening knives handy in the kitchen to avoid delays.

An organized kitchen is the key to work efficiently. Once a week organize the racks to ensure you get your containers and spoons on time.

Related reading:

My experiences in the kitchen-Part 1

How to Prepare Basic Garam Masala at Home

How to make Ginger Garlic paste at home

How to make thick curd

How to extract fresh Coconut milk at home

My experiences in the kitchen-Part 1

kitchen tips and tricksWorking in the kitchen is fun. If the day is hot and not going good you will end up with more mess. Here are few special tricks that I have learnt along with the art of cooking . I started off with great experiences and at times disastrous ones too during experimentation in the kitchen. I wish to share these tricks and kitchen tips to the beginners and newbies experimenting in the kitchen.

Indian cooking involves lots of masalas, powdering and grinding in the cooking process You can save time and effort, also learn from experiences rather than inventing the wheel again.

Frying papad at home:

  • Prick at least two holes to avoid papad bulging. Store in tight containers to avoid fried papad becoming soft.
  • Place unfried papad in the refrigerator.  To prevent stiffening and breakage of the papads once the cover is opened, place the unfried papads in a polythene cover this will prevent stiffening and breakage.

Boiling milk:

  • Dispense packet milk into container and only then place on the stove. If not the milk catches at the base leaving a burnt smell. Low or Medium flame should be maintained while boiling milk.
  • While boiling milk at medium heat stir the milk with a spoon. It will avoid milk sticking at the bottom of the vessel.

Handling hot oil:

  • While frying puris in oil, immerse in oil and then press with a flat spoon such that the puri will puff like a ball. Do not leave the dough for a long time, it’ll absorb oil. Instant frying is the key to avoid oil absorption for tips and tricks
  • To check oil is hot, put a small piece of the dough / batter. If it comes up boiling,  the oil is hot enough to fry. If the batter is lying at the base, oil needs more heating.
  • To cool the oil and avoid fumes after frying activity, switch off flame and put 8-10 cooked rice into the oil. It will absorb the heat.
  • Fry papad in medium flame. To retain color of fryums while frying, heat the oil sufficiently, lower the flame completely and then add fryums to avoid the deep brown color

Cake baking tips:

  • Weigh and add quantities while you plan to make a cake. Measuring can be tricky and the cake baking will not be accurate.
  • If you plan to add soaked nuts and raisins while baking. Coat them with All purpose flour (maida) and then add when the baking is half way through. This will avoid the nuts and raisins reaching the bottom.
  • After applying butter on the cake tin, sprinkle maida and then pour the batter. The baked cake will come off easily.

Making soft idli and crispy dosa

  • If you add half a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds to the lentil and rice mixture while soaking, dosas will be more crisp, idlis will be tips and tricks
  • Apply ghee in the idli tray prior to dispensing the batter. The idlis will come away freely without sticking at the base.
  • To check tawa has become hot , sprinkle few drops of water. If it sizzles with steam coming out it  indicates tawa is hot.
  • Rub slices of onion on dosa tawa (griddle) before spreading dosas. This will avoid the dosa from stubbornly sticking to the griddle or tawa.

Preparing cutlet with a crispy covering

  • To prevent oil foaming while frying cutlets- use only egg white. Make a small hole on one end of the egg. Let the egg white flow freely into a bowl. Whisk the egg white thoroughly and the process will not be tips and tricks
  • To get a crispy covering for your cutlets, powder fresh bread. Dip the cutlet balls in egg white (pepper and salt included) and finally coat with powdered fresh bread.
  • If you have to make cutlets in a hurry and have no breadcrumbs use semolina for coating them.

There is a popular saying, “ The best way to win a man’s heart is thru’ his stomach”. You can also win the hearts of your family members by cooking good and healthy food.

Remember to cook as per the need. Avoid wastage as there are thousands of people going without a meal every day.

Related reading:

How to Prepare Garam Masala at Home

How to make Ginger Garlic paste at home

How to make thick curd

Simple way to prepare fresh Moong gram sprouts at home

Healthy and Delicious Sweet Corn Paratha

July 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Parathas-Chapathi

sweet corn parathaSweet corns are available during winter days. In monsoon people usually have corn roasted by at road side vendors. Sweet corn is mostly steamed and eaten with a garnish of lime juice and salt. Sweet corn is full of vitamins and fiber. Sweet corn can be included in your wheat dough to make delicious sweet corn paratha.

Here’s the recipe for sweet corn paratha also referred to as Makai ki roti.

Ingredients for Sweet Corn Paratha:

  • Wheat flour: 2cups
  • Sweet corn: 1 cup
  • Green chilly: 2 nos ( chopped finely)
  • Coriander leaves: 3 tsp (finely chopped)
  • Ajwain ( Carom seeds or Bishop’s weed): ¼ tsp
  • Ginger-garlic paste: ¼ tsp
  • Cooking oil / Ghee: 4 tbsp
  • Salt: as per taste
  • Water: as required

Procedure for preparing Sweet Corn Paratha:


  • Remove the corn from the cob and grind in the mixer to form a smooth paste.You can even grate the cob and remove the pulp.sweet corn paratha
  • Add the sweet corn pulp into the dough along with 1 tbsp of oil.Knead the flour to form a hard flour.
  • Cover the dough with a wet cloth and let it remain for 20 to 30 mins. The dough will become fluffy and will set.
  • Smoothen the dough by kneading for a few minutes.
  • Make small rolls (size of a lemon} and roll the dough with a rolling pin. Dip the balls into wheat flour to avoid sticking to the base.
  • Put 2 drops of oil a little wheat flour and fold the paratha at 1/3 length. Place the other 1/3rd length over the first fold. Fold both the open end one over the other like a handkerchief.
  • Dip the dough into wheat flour and with a rolling pin to make a thick paratha. Make sure the spread is even i.e not too thick nor thin.
  • Heat a tawa / pan and apply little oil on the pan. Place the paratha on the pan. When one side is heated flip the paratha.
  • Apply oil / ghee on the top side. Flip the paratha and apply oil on the second side too.
  • Maintain low heat to avoid burning of paratha. You will observe the paratha is golden brown color indicating it has cooked.
  • Prepare the sweet corn parathas with the remaining dough and place it in a hot pack-casserole or serve them hot.

A good combination with green peas curry, kaju curry,mixed vegetable curry. You can also Makai ki roti serve with raitha, pickle or chutney.

Delicious and healthy Sweet Corn Paratha is ready to serve. You will enjoy the taste and also benefit with the vitamins and fibers that are within the Sweet corn. The aroma of carom seeds and the flavors while making the parathas will increase your appetite.

Please add a comment and, if you like the post, feel free to share it with your friends.

Chatpati Chammandhi for Idli-Dosa

July 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Chutney varieties

chatpati chammandhi for idli-dosaChammandhi or chutney is an essential part of a menu in South Indian homes in addition to Sambhar. There are several varieties of Chutneys and Sambars made in South India.

The recipe I’m sharing today is a chatpati chutney loved by my kids and they empty the tiffin box clean. Chatpati Chammandhi is a great combination with Idli-dosa. My son shares his tiffin box and his friends also have given me compliments on this chutney and on few other dishes.

Ingredients :

Idli dhal: ½ cup

Ginger: 3 table spoon (chopped)

Garlic: 3 small cloves ( chop into fine pieces)

Curry leaves: 1 sprig

Onion: 1 small

Dry Red chilli:3 nos ( cut them into halves)

Jeera: ½ tsp

Jaggery: 3 table spoon (crushed)

Tamarind : size of a big lemon

Oil: 2 tsp

Salt: to taste

Procedure for preparing Chatpati Chammandhi for Idli-Dosa:


  • Soak tamarind for 30 mins. Use warm water to speeden the process. Make a thick pulp.Remove all strands.
  • Heat oil in a flat pan, add Idli dhal. When idli dhal turns color add onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, jeera, dry red chilli .Roast the ingredients on low flame.
  • Remove from flame and allow to cool.
  • Grind all the fried ingredients, crushed jaggery, tamarind pulp, salt to a fine paste.
  • Chutney is ready to serve. You can apply on one side of the dosa and roll for their lunch boxes.

Chatpati Chammandhi is ideal for tiffin boxes as the consistency is thick and therefore less chances of spilling. Once a batch is made my kids will have it with vada, kuzhi paniyaram and complete the stock.

Quick to make recipe. No need of coconut and will last for 2 to 3 days. All the ingredients are commonly available in every house hold. Try this recipe and just watch. Your kids are going to demand for more quantity.

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Panikoorka Pakora-An Ayurvedic treat

July 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Snacks & Salads

panikoorka pakoraI’m sharing a recipe which has great medicinal value and is a remedy to treat cough, cold and minor ailments. Panikoorka is an Ayurvedic herb, the leaves are used for treating common cold, cough and fever in babies and adults. There are references in Ayurveda of the usage of this herb.

Panikoorka can be consumed in different ways to minimize the bitter taste and strong odor.

The botanical name of Panikoorka is Plectranthus amboinicus. In India it is known as Indian borage, in Hindi known as Patta ajavayin, in Tamil – karpooravalli and referred as navaryila in Malayalam.

What with the rainy days ahead this is a good way to eat remain healthy by including Ayurvedic herbs in your diet.

Ingredients :

Panikoorka leaves: 8 nos

Onion: 1 big ( chopped finely)

Chana powder (Bengal gram flour): 1.5 cups

Chilli powder: ½ tsp

Salt: to taste

Water: to make batter

Oil: 1 cup( for frying)

Procedure for preparing Panikoorka Pakora:

Panikoorka PakoraMethod:

  • Wash and finely chop the leaves.
  • Mix Bengal gram flour, chopped leaves, chopped onions, chilli powder, salt and required water to make a thick batter.
  • Heat oil in a pan. When hot, drop one table spoon of batter mix and fry on medium flame.
  • Drain onto a kitchen paper towel.
  • Serve hot panikoorka pakoda with tomato sauce, tomato ketchup or tangy dates chutney.

A simple and quick recipe indeed with few ingredients and high medicinal value.
Read this article: Panikoorka, The Natural Remedy for Cough, Cold and Fever