Cooking tips-Here is a list of cooking tips that will make cooking easy for beginners. These are the cooking tips I have been following for long time and will surely be of help. Before moving to the random cooking tips be sure to check dedicated posts for tips on how to make soft rotis/chapathis, tips on how to make soft idlis, tips on cooking rice, tips on making dosa, tips for quick cooking, essential dry masala, Indian cooking-ingredients check-list.
I have collected these cooking tips from many Tamil magazines, some out of experience, few cooking tips from family and friends too. If you have any useful cooking tips or cooking doubts do leave it as a comment below and I shall try to update this page.
Random cooking tips
(I shall update/add new tips here as and when possible)
1.While making tea, always simmer the flame after adding tea leaves. Never let boil, that will reduce the taste and flavour of tea.
2. It is best to make tea fresh and use it immediately. Do not store tea decoction, it is not good for health.
3. To make filter coffee very tasty and flavourful add a very very tiny pinch of salt to the decoction before adding the milk.
4. If you excess have decoction add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and mix well. You can store the decoction for few hours and make coffee later. But filter coffee always tastes great with freshly made decoction and boiled milk.
5. Add few drops of oil while cooking rice to make rice non sticky. This works well especially if the rice is new and starchy.
6. While making mixed rice varieties like lemon rice or coconut rice, take the cooked rice and spread it on a plate. Add few drops of oil and fluff up with a fork or back of a spoon. Cool thoroughly before using in the recipe.
7. While making pulao or biryani, make sure to wash the rice very well till it runs clear of starch,soak the rice for at least 20 minutes, drain and spread on a plate for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
8. While purchasing toor dal, make sure it is not shiny. Shiny dal will take forever to cook and you cannot mash it easily. Similarly purchase only if the dal is small and flat.
8. While pressure cooking toor dal, add a small pinch of salt and turmeric powder. This helps in cooking the dal very well and easy to mash. Soaking the toor dal in water for 20 minutes before cooking also works well.
9. If you want to heat the leftover rice, sprinkle some water over the rice and simmer in pressure cooker for 5-7 minutes. The rice will be fresh and soft. More leftover rice recipes here.
10. Soak channa dal atleast for 30 minutes before pressure cooking. This quickens the cooking.
11. While cooking potatoes, add water to the pressure cooker and place potatoes in a vessel without water. By this method, potatoes do not turn mushy and crumbly after cooking. If the potatoes are very big, cut them into half and pressure cook for fast cooking.
12. If a recipe calls for chopped potatoes, place the chopped potatoes in water until use. This will avoid discolouration of potatoes.
13. Try to steam cook the vegetables as far as possible to preserve the nutrients.
14. Cut vegetables in uniform shape and size for any recipe. This will help in quick cooking and also save gas.
15. Cooking vegetable in high flame for brief time will seal the nutrients and also save fuel.
16. Keep chopped vazhaithandu in buttermilk until use to avoid discolouration. Do the same with vazhaipoo too.
17. Sometimes brinjal or eggplants will be bitter. You can keep the chopped eggplants in water and squeeze slightly before using.
18. To remove bitterness to an extent from bitter gourd, sprinkle some salt over the chopped bitter gourd, mix well and set aside for 15 minutes. Squeeze and discard the secreted water before cooking.
19. To break open the coconut easily, place it in cold water for 15 minutes.
20. Save grated coconut in ziplock bags in freezer. Grated coconut keeps well for more days.
21. If using frozen coconut for curries or chutneys, grind it with warm water or milk to make smooth and soft paste.
22. While frying onions, add a pinch of salt or sugar to quicken the cooking.
23. To retain the color of green vegetable like spinach, peas or evn to retain the white color in cauliflower, add 1/4 teaspoon sugar while boiling or blanching. You can follow the same while blanching tomatoes too.
24. To avoid okra or ladies finger slime make sure the okra is washed and dried thoroughly.
25. Add 1 teaspoon curd while cooking okra to remove slime.
26. To thicken vatha kuzhambu or sambar (when making for more people) dissolve 2 teaspoons rice flour in 1/4 cup water and add to the boiling sambar.
27. To thicken gravies or curries, dissolve corn flour in water or milk and add to the boiling gravy.
28. If you have excess water after cooking dal use it for making rasam or soup.
29. Oil temperature is very important for deep frying. Always deep fry in hot oil in medium flame while making snacks like murukku,mixture etc. If you fry in very high flame the snack will turn dark very soon and remain uncooked from inside.
30. While frying gulab jamuns, keep the flame low and deep fry till the balls turn dark golden brown.
31.Place a small piece of blotting paper in the container used for storing deep fried snacks. This will keep the snacks crispy and fresh for long time.
32. Use good quality home-made ghee for making sweets.
33. To soften butter faster for cakes or snacks, cube the butter and place near a warm vessel(pressure cooker) or hot water pot.
34. Add few spoons of hot oil to the dough to make snacks like murukku,pakora to make them more crispy.
35. Adding 1/8 teaspoon of omam/carom seeds to muruuku dough or bajji batter will increase the flavour as well ass aid in digestion.
Updated on 26/10/2017
36. If you have water remaining from cooking toor dal or moong dal, use it for making rasam or add to the dal itelf if making dal fry. This stock can also be used to make dal shorba.
37. Use a heavy bottomed pan for making milk sweets. grease The pan with ghee to avoid burning.
38. To set curd in winter keep in side the oven with power off.
39. Add some salt while roasting red chilies to avoid burning sensation.
40. To remove excess salt in sambar add a big piece of potato while sambar is boiling.
41. Rub a onion well on tava while making dosa. This prevents from dosa sticking on tava.
42. Add few drops of lemon or lime juice along with water while pressure cooking rice to get whiter non sticky rice.
43. Instead of corn flour add oats flour or poha flour s thickener in soups.
44. Adding a pinch of nutmeg powder along with cardamom powder gives nice flavor to sweets.
45. To soften butter faster, cut the block into cubes and keep it covered for 15 minutes.
46. To make white idlis wash the rice well for 3-4 times before soaking
47. It is best to use salt crystals rather than table salt for idli batter.
48. Keep cilantro leaves in fine muslin cloth inside fridge to keep them fresh for long time
49. Apply some lemon juice mixed with sugar on apples after cutting. This will prevent them from browning.
50. Setting curd in ceramic or earthenware increases the taste also yields thick curd.
Tips for perfect poori (Updated on 26/10/2017)
- The dough for poori should be little stiff than rotis. Also the poori dough should not be rested for long time.
- Adding a small amount of rava and a pinch of sugar to the dough yields crisp and puffy pooris.
- You can add 1/2 teaspoon ghee while making poori dough for flavorful and crispy pooris. You can also add groundnut oil.
- If you rest the dough for long time the poori will drink more oil
- To make puffy poori roll the dough with uniform thickness. The disc should be thicker than roti but not very thick.
- Temperature of oil is very important for making pooris. The oil should be hot but not fuming.
- Oil should never fume while frying pooris. Keep adjusting the stove as needed.
- After dropping the rolled dough in hot oil, gently press it. This will make the poori puff up.
- Do not stack the fried pooris.
- Instead of using flour for dusting you can coat the rolling pin with oil. This way the color of the poori will not be altered.