CARAVANNING IN INDIAN KITCHENS

51 quick fixes.
By Bindu Saxena
 “There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking for someone she loves.”
– Thomas Wolfe.
 Cooking is the first and foremost privilege of a woman. It should be safe, enjoyable and yet the product outcome should be such that you hear, “Wow, it’s yummy!”
Oftentimes, we mess up with our recipes and wish we had a trouble-shooter in our computer. Luckily in this arena help is available from mother, experienced family members, friends, and a lot from television shows. Sometimes, we do get a fortunate stroke of serendipity!
“A cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers,” Laurie Colwin rightly says.
Here are 51 quickfixes every woman will benefit from Happy cooking!
CARAVANnING IN INDIAN KITCHENS

Value addition
Working in the kitchen brings with it minor cuts or bruises. So first of all, let’s get us a homemade antiseptic agent. You just have to boil water for 20 minutes with some salt in an iron skillet and bottle it.
Kitchen work is a kind of handicraft. Hand health must be supple and smooth, so let the water in which we’ve boiled potatoes not go down the drain until you have dipped your hands in it for some time.
A homemaker needs to be fit, so keep your bad cholesterol down.
Drink regularly: 1 cup buttermilk in which 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 diced onion and 1/4 tsp. of black pepper powder is added.
A better eyesight is a boon: Boil together 2 tbsp. Fenugreek leaves, 1/2 cup moong dal and 1 onion. Drain and drink.
Now hit the kitchen for a delightful gourmet.
Clip and keep
Crispy pakoras: Add 1 tsp of rice powder to the batter instead of oil.
Crispier cutlets: Roll in ground cornflakes instead of bread crumbs.
Crunchy vegetable pickle: Pour hot vinegar over soft vegetables like cucumber.
Fluffy cake: Add a scoop of curd to cake batter (last ingredient).
Tastier halwa: Roast sooji with 2 spoons of besan and ghee.
Unusual filling: Mix salt, garam-masala, amchoor, roasted powdered (zeera, dhania seeds, red chilies), to crushed left over papads. Make paranthas with this stuffing.
Different sandwich: Mix malai , chopped onion, green chillies and salt. Apply on one slice. Cover with another. Now, bite.
Thicker malai: Sprinkle pinches of “Singhara flour” on well boiled milk.
Firm curd: While setting, put a small green chilli with a small slit into the milk.
Don’t throw: The scum after extracting ghee. Mix in the dough for soft, rich and tasty parathas.
Softer paneer: Use dahi/lassi instead of lemon.
Longer lasting coconut: Sprinkle salt on broken extra coconut.
Fresher lemon for a month: Put in a plastic box and keep in the fridge.
Free flow salt: Add rice-grains in the salt container to take the moisture away.
Spongy dosa: Add a few tapering ends of lady’s finger before grinding rice-dal.
Crispier dosa: Add a handful of beaten rice (Poha) to the batter.
Rice storage: Put some boric powder in container.
Quick peel: Soak garlic in water for 15mnts. Now peel.
Crispier groundnuts: While roasting, sprinkle a little water over them to prevent from getting burnt
CARAVANnING IN INDIAN KITCHENS

Coat vanaspati: To prevent the water from boiling over while cooking rice, noodles or macaroni. Coat the rim of the vessel.
Preserving almonds: Add 3-4 tablespoons of sugar to one kg almonds and store in an airtight container.
Handy onions: Fried sliced onions come handy when we have to make gravies in a hurry.
Crisper bhindis: A tablespoon of rice flour while frying bhindi ki sabzi helps un-sticking one piece to another and make it more crispy.
Enhancing upma: Add curd/ tamarind water instead of plain water.
Tastier thicker kheer: Adding 100 gm desiccated coconut for every litre milk along with the rice.
Snack from leftover rice: Grind rice to a smooth paste with a pinch of asfoetida, red chilli powder and salt. Press through sevian mould. Dry in sun and deep fry.
Kitchen dusters reek of oil? Soak in gram flour and water solution half an hour before wash.
Cleaner splashboard: Add a little turmeric powder to the oil when you fry vegetables or meat. It prevents oil splash and messy kitchen.
Want ghee to remain fresh? Put a lemon sized ball of jaggery in it.
Lingering odour: Fill the vessel with water; add 2 lemon slices, boil for a few minutes and wash.
Get rid of fishy smell: Add a few drops of cinnamon sticks in water while boiling prawns or any other fish.
Fishy smell on hands: Wash with lemon juice.
Add salt: To keep ground ginger, garlic, onion paste fresh for three days.
Quicken meat cooking: One whole beetle nut (supari) into the pot.

Butter smelling? Break into pieces, add some chilled milk. After an hour wash it with salted water. There you have refreshed tasty butter!
Curd turning sour? Drop 1 inch of dry coconut into it.
Excess oil in a curry? Place a bread slice for a moment. Take it out.
Bitter onions? Turn them sweet by soaking them in salted water for 5 mnts.
Dosa sticking to tawa? Rub with cut onion/brinjal or sprinkle salt.
Arvi overboiled? Don’t’ panic. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Now fry. No sogginess.
Burnt milk smell? Pour it into another vessel, add a pinch of soda bicarb and bring it to boil.
Preseerve coconut: Keep in freezer to keep fresh for long.
For less oil utilisation: Add half tsp of salt before deep frying.
Less fat more taste: To prepare barfi or laddoos; roast the gram flour in the oven.
Comfort while serving ice-cream: Serve ice-cream into individual serving dishes a few hours before dessert time and place the dishes in the freezer.
Poori snack: Mash leftover vegetables and mix them with flour dough. Add pepper, cummin powder garam masala chilli powder and little salt. Roll out little puris and deep-fry.
See your toddler turning gourmand: Use ice-cream cones to serve nutritious food like cheese, salad, fruits and set juice in ice trays. Use these cubes while serving instead of the regular ice cubes.