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Tips n Tricks

  • Excess tomato puree may be frozen in an ice cube tray. Remove frozen cubes and store in a sealable freezer bag, using as and when required.
  • If you are making an apple and banana fruit salad, add a pinch of crushed mustard seeds. It will prevent the fruits from turning black and also help retain their flavour.
  • Add a small piece of beetroot while making tomato puree; it will give it a bright red colour.
  • If you have stale ghee, do not throw it away. You can freshen it by boiling it with a little yogurt – two tablespoons of yogurt to half a kilo of ghee. Cool, strain and use it again.
  • If you want to freeze minced meat, press it as flat as possible in the freezer bag and then freeze. This way it will freeze and thaw faster.
  • If eggs are cracked, seal the cracks with cellophane tape. This way will stay fresh and keep as long as uncracked ones.
  • If using desiccated coconut in place of fresh coconut, soak it in a bowl with equal proportions of warm milk and water for about half an hour and then grind. It will taste as good as ground fresh coconut.
  • While making samosas or wontons, add a few drops of lemon juice to the dough; it will make them very crispy.
  • To keep green chillies fresh for a longer time, remove the stalks and place the chillies in a polythene cover and store in the fridge.
  • Leave an atta sieve separately in the kitchen sink. When washing cooking utensils and plates, you can use the sieve to filter food particles and leftover food items. This will help your sink to stay clean and also prevent a drainage block.
  • Before serving ice cream at a party, keep the serving bowls in the fridge. If the bowls are cold, the ice cream will not melt fast.
  • Add a cupful of vinegar to a mug of water. Clean your kitchen platform with it to keep ants away.
  • After cutting a jackfruit into two if you find it is not ripe, cover it tightly in a muslin cloth ; the fruit will ripen after a few days
  • To make softer dhoklas, add a little malai (cream) to the batter.
  • Freeze any left over coconut milk in an ice cube tray; can be used for curries later on.
  • Sprinkle chilli powder and asafoetida on papads before storing them. They will keep away ants and insects.
  • Add a little sugar to the dosa mixture to make them brown and crisp.
  • Leftover coffee can be frozen in ice cube tray and used later either to make cold coffee or hot coffee with hot milk.
  • Do not bother making small batches of wontons. They freeze well and are very handy as instant nibbles for unexpected guests. Make heaps and store!
  • Roast semolina for five minutes before storing in an airtight container. It will remain free from insects and worms.
  • To avoid layer formation on any thick liquid preparation while cooling (for eg. basundi, tamarind chutney, custard etc.), sprinkle some granules of sugar over the surface of the dish.
  • Always store aamras and other mango desserts in non-metal containers, because when stored in metal containers they may get discoloured.
  • Keep a square piece of sandpaper in your kitchen. It will give you a better grip on those hard-to-open jars.
  • When you bake cookies and they come out too hard, simply put the cookies in a bag with a piece of bread overnight. The cookies will absorb the moisture out of the bread and will be soft the following morning!
  • Always crush ice cubes before putting in an electrical mixer for blending as whole cubes being hard can damage the mixer blades.
  • To obtain thick yogurt set it in an earthen pot.
  • Do not use dried herbs in the same quantity as fresh herbs because the former are stronger in flavour.
  • Do not use fresh pineapple in gelatin-based desserts. Fresh pineapple contains an enzyme that prevents gelatin from setting. Use canned pineapple instead or boil the fresh fruit with sugar for ten minutes before adding to dessert.
  • Acids help proteins coagulate, so add either vinegar or lemon juice to the water used for poaching eggs to prevent them from spreading out.
  • While making pickles it is advisable to use sea salt rather than table salt.
  • Place rolled puris in the fridge for ten minutes before frying them, they will consume less oil and will be crisper.
  • Before cutting cookie dough into shapes, dip cutters into flour. Lift cutouts with a long, thin spatula. There’s less chance of distortion.
  • Do not use cold cooked potatoes to make salad. Because they will not absorb dressing well.
  • Store cherries away from strong-smelling foods, as they tend to absorb odors and deteriorate in flavour. To prevent them from drying out, keep them in a perforated plastic bag.
  • To get the best out of saffron: warm saffron before crushing (you may use micro wave: 10 seconds on HIGH). Add a teaspoon of warm milk and stir well.
  • Use a plastic scrubber (round ball type) to scrub potatoes, beets, carrots etc. The mud and dirt comes off the crevices and curves easily. Keep the scrubber exclusively for this purpose only for obvious reasons of hygiene.
  • Add a few pinches of turmeric powder and a teaspoon of ghee to the dal before pressure-cooking. This will impart a better flavour to the dal.
  • Add a cupful of soaked poha to five cupfuls of rice while soaking for idlis and grind. You will get softer and lighter idlis.
  • Add a few fenugreek seeds (methi) to toovar dal while pressure-cooking. This makes the dal easier to digest.
  • When preparing meat cover the pan with a deep lid containing water, so that hot water is readily available whenever required. Beside, this helps the meat to cook faster and prevents the stock from evaporating quickly.
  • To make celery crisper, put it in a bowl of water and add ice. Leave it in the refrigerator a few hours.
  • Do not use any metal utensils for preparation of pickles. Use earthenware vessels and wooden ladles for mixing and serving pickles.
  • Fish cooked in earthenware vessel tastes better than that cooked in metal pans.
  • Place three four cloves in sugar this will keep the ants form entering in sugar.
  • Skimmed milk is better suited for patients. It can also be used to prepare curd and several other dishes.
  • Fresh eggs shells are rough and chalky, old eggs are smooth and shiny.
  • If the juice from fruit pies overflows while you’re baking, sprinkle some salt onto the spill. The juice will then burn to a crisp, making it easily removable.
  • When working with dough, don’t flour your hands; coat them with oil to prevent sticking.
  • Let cookies cool completely before storing. Store different types of cookies in separate containers so that they retain their original flavor and texture.
  • When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar as it brings out the natural sweetness from corn.
  • Don’t wash risotto rice before cooking because you’ll lose starches vital to the dish. Instead, toast the rice in olive oil or butter so that each grain is lightly coated. This way, the rice will absorb the cooking liquid gradually and release its starches slowly — necessary for creamy risotto.
  • Always cover your pasta pot after putting the pasta. It will return quickly to a boil and prevent your pasta from sticking together.
  • For a quick glaze for sugar cookies, beat an egg white until just frothy and brush over the unbaked cookies. Sprinkle with sugar and bake. This will give your cookies a shiny, sweet crust.
  • Keep the garlic bulbs in a cool, dry place as garlic needs air circulation. Do not store them in a plastic bag or refrigerator.
  • Do not reheat oil to may times as it will make it more saturated, which is harmful to health.
  • While deep-frying anything make sure the oil is heated properly as otherwise the food will absorb a lot of fat and become greasy.
  • It is better to steam vegetables than boil them. Boiling can cause a loss in taste and colour.
  • You don’t need to add additional water while cooking green leafy vegetables like lettuce, palak, cabbage, amaranth because they have enough moisture content of their own which enables cooking.
  • Wash your hands well with warm, soapy water after handling chillies.
  • In order to ripen the tomatoes, put them in a paper bag pierced with a few holes and let them stand at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
  • When melting chocolate, make sure all the equipment are completely dry. Any moisture in the utensils/container may cause the chocolate to stiffen. To rectify the error, stir in half to one teaspoon of melted shortening for every ounce of chocolate.
  • In order to minimize the cooking time, chop chocolate bars into squares or smaller pieces before melting them.


  • KonstantinMiller said:

    Hi! I like your srticle and I would like very much to read some more information on this issue. Will you post some more?

  • Deepti (author) said:

    Hey we will be posting few more Tips and tricks in this column soon. Till then go through the recipes and let us know how do you find them? 🙂

  • subodh said:

    I had simply typed ” indian gravies tips and tricks ” on google…

    one tip for you,
    try making Garlic Kheer (whole garlic cloves)!
    or Chicken Burfi (of mince chicken)
    use your all tips,

    you might be having an idea for this
    try out….

    i always like trying unusual combinations in my own recipes !

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