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Managing Your Time In The Kitchen

The Art or Science of Indian Cuisine is in the creation of  exotic recipes with a  handful of spices. Sounds easy ! But, it does take time to put together an Indian meal and therefore here are some things that might help you in your kitchen. On this page you will find helpful hints and tricks to make Indian cooking possible and part of your menu.  Effective management and time management is the key to saving time during food preparation. 

 

We have divided the Managing your time in 4 categories.

  1. Planning      

  2. Pre-Preparation 

  3. Cooking

  4. Cleaning

 

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Planning          Top

Planning your menu and recipe is a big part of being successful in making that recipe. 

Menu Planning : While planning a menu-Combine into your menu a rice dish ,an entree (main dish)& a salad or raita. You may include parathas too. A good menu should generally cater to the  sweet and spicy tastes, say when your main dish is spicy, choose a raita that is sweet. this way you can ensure that your guests don't end up eating only spicy or only sweet food. Also never make just one dish. If that one dish fails to appease your guests taste buds, they'll go home hungry. Tip submitted by Preeti

Keeping Greens Fresh: Leafy vegetables die within a couple of days even when kept in refrigerator. To keep them fresh for a longer period of time, clean & wrap them in paper. Refrigerate this bundle and the vegetables will remain fresh for a longer time. Tip submitted by Suruchi SumiTop

Prepare a list of the things you need to do and prioritize. This will include shopping for ingredients and special items. Top

Keeping the work area clean : Work in a clean and uncluttered space. This will help you organize your thoughts better. It may mean clearing up the counter and table top space but it will be worth it. Top

Reading cooking steps ahead of time : Many a times reading the recipe and familiarizing yourself with the cooking  method is a great way of starting out.   Top

Following the recipe to the T : Try a recipe once, the way it is recommended the first time. Make changes as you see fit the next time, this way you can taste the recipe as it was meant to be cooked.    Top

Pre-tasting a recipe : Try to taste the recipe in a restaurant as you will have some idea of how it should taste. Top

Jotting down "Unusual items" : Make a list of the "special" or "unusual" items to your regular grocery list. Keep this list on your refrigerator as you plan your menu.   Top

 Shopping ahead : Shop for all ingredients and items needed the week before. Top

Fermentation of Dosa batter : If you live in a centrally air conditioned flat and want to make dosas, keep the dosa batter overnight in the microwave (switched off, of course), as the interior of the microwave will be warmer than the rest of the house. Also, a pinch of sugar into the batter gives a lovely brown color to the dosa. Tip submitted by Sana Top

Pre-Preparation          Top

Retain green color of greens:  A  pinch of sugar while cooking green leafy vegetables like Palak etc. will help retain the fresh green color. Tip submitted by Sonia  Top

  Pre-Prep for Daals & Vegetables for FAST cooking: Soak any washed daal to be cooked for 1/2 hour before putting in cooker. It will cook faster. 

If u r using a pressure pan, then put the soaked daal directly in the pan & in a smaller vessel, put yr cut vegetable which takes time to cook in kadai, eg: Tondli, Parwal, Beans etc to be cooked. Put a lid  on this smaller vessel & put directly on top of the daal in the pressure pan & cook together for 3-4 whistles. This saves time for cooking each separately. After done, u just have to give the seasoning to the daal & vegetable separately. So cooking time is saved.

Add little salt to daal & vegetable before putting in pressure pan. This will give little flavor to the dish, when cooking in the pan. Adjust masalas accordingly when doing seasoning after removing from pan. Tips submitted by Neeta  Top

Too much salt in your dish !! Opps ! : In case you have added more salt than desired....add a ball of dough(flour)...keep the dish aside for 5-10 mins.  Tip submitted by Pooja Mehta Top

Decorative Biryani Rice : While making Veg/Non-Veg Biryani, you can cook rice earlier, cool it and divide it into 3 portions - make each of a different color e.g Indian tricolor - coriander or palak rice can be bottom layer, then the biryani gravy with some nuts, middle layer white rice, then again biryani gravy with some nuts and the top layer can be kesar rice which will give the saffron color. It really looks very decorative and adds flavor to the dish.  Tip Submitted by Chitra Bharath Top

To make soft tomatoes regain their hardness, put them in cold water to which a litre of salt is added. The tomatoes will turn hard in 10 mins.  Tip Submitted By Barbara D'Silva Top

Ginger Garlic Paste Freshness : Mix a pinch of salt to the Ginger/Garlic paste and refrigerate it for a fresh cooking . Paste will last longer and fresh for months. Tip submitted by Pricilla Samuel

Pre-prepare Ginger & Garlic paste : When you have free time, use it to prepare a bottle of ginger garlic paste, which can be used to be used later while cooking. Tip submitted by Anita

Making tasty Dosa: To make tasty dosas and idlis add a tsp of methi (fenugreek)seeds with the rice and dal when soaking. Tip submitted by Roopalee Patel

Freezing Fresh Ginger : hen you buy fresh ginger, freeze it. When you need to use it use a cheese grater to get required amount u need, put rest back in freezer.Tip submitted by Ian Wright

Pre-Preparing Masalas : Pre-Prepare most of your "masalas" ahead of time.    Top

Defrosting First: First things first....Defrost the frozen foods first, then go on to doing the other cooking. Top

Safe Defrosting : Defrost sealed frozen food in the refrigerator on a plate instead of on your kitchen counter to prevent bacteria.   Top

Prepare portions of a meal in advance :If there is a masala or paste or chopping of nuts that you can do a day ahead, do so as it will reduce the cooking time. Top

  Methi pre-prepare for future use : If you are a fan of fresh methi (fenugreek leaves) then on a weekend you can clean them up and place the methi in a freezer ziploc bag and freeze it. It can be stored for months. You can use this to make a quick methi aloo accompanied with some sweet raita at time of emergency . Tip submitted by Milli Tandon      Top

Cooking          Top

 

Crispy Samosas :To make crispy samosas add 1 tsp of rice flour to 1 cup of maida. Tip Submitted by Ninnu Top

Crispy Pakoras :  For crispy pakoras add little hot oil in the batter before frying. Tip subnmitted by Sangeeta Bhabhra Top

Browning Onions : Add a little salt, onions become brown faster. Tip Submitted By Barbara D'Silva Top

 

Quickly cooking half cooked rice: When you find that the rice which you are going to serve is not fully cooked, and you cannot add water again then ... add a small quantity of milk to it and steam it for some time the rice becomes soft without becoming smudgy. Tip submitted by Mrs. Chaitali JadhavTop

Frying Fish: Put in a pinch of salt in the oil before frying a fish.  The fish will not get stuck to the frying pan. Tip submitted by Dorothy D'CostaTop

Frying : Always fry on a low or medium flame for even cooking. Tip submitted by Kartika

Double or triple the recipe : if you are making an exclusive dish. This way you can divide it up and save some for another meal.    Top

Cook a day ahead. Many Indian dishes can be made ahead of time. Store the food in Ziploc bags or your serving containers.  In fact some of the dishes taste better the next day. For Example: Biryani. Use the double-bag ziploc freezer bags as they are frost resistant.   Top

Store extra servings : Use Ziploc freezer boxes and bags.  Top

Storing leftover rice : Rice is best stored in containers that can be re-heated. Top

Handy Dishtowel : Pull a dishtowel or rag partially through the belt loop on your jeans/sari. The towel is handy to wipe your hands on at any time, and you  don't have to keep looking for one when you need it most. Top

 Ingredient Readiness While cooking a dish, have all the ingredients on the counter top so that you don't miss out on any of the ingredients.  Tip submitted by Pratibha  Top

More....Cooking and Tips & Tricks 

Cleaning           Top

  • Keeping drains unclogged : You can keep drains unclogged by pouring this mixture down your drains every week: one gallon of hot water, 1 tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent, and 1/2 cup of bleach.  Pour into drain and let the tap run with warm water for a few minutes afterwards.  Tip submitted by Gail
  • Keeping the cooker clean: To keep the inside of the cooker clean place a lemon piece in the  cooker while using. Tip submitted by Mrs. Archana Dode
  •   Cleaning Turmeric Stains : Clean the turmeric stained area with few drops of lime juice.The acidic content will clear the surface. Tip submitted by Aashna
  •   Stained Coffee pot: You can clean the inner sides of the stained coffee pot with the egg shells. (dont throw away the boiled eggs shell). Be careful when you are cleaning. Tip submitted by Anu
  •   Keeping cooking range clean : Put a Aluminium Foil on the Cooking Range top so that if there are any spills while cooking, it can be easily cleaned by simply replacing the foil. Tip submitted by Subita Choudhary
  •   Cleaning of Ginger: Ginger can be soaked over night and next day morning clean it with a tooth brush (with a tooth brush you can clean each and every corner) blend it and keep it in the fridge. this can be used anytime. Tip submitted by Sujatha Hiremath
  • Assigning everyone tasks : If there are others in your house hold assign each person a specific task for the clean up. For example picking up the dishes or putting away the left overs or cleaning the table etc. Top
  • Individual servings for later: Store  the left over in individual containers for future use. Top
  •  Removing Ink stains: If you want to remove an "ink stain" you should wash it with unboiled milk Tip submitted by Uma Sarpal    Top
  •   Clearing a clogged sink : Clogged sinks can be unclogged in an hour when a cup of hot water mixed with a tablespoon of white vinegar and a teaspoon or two of baking soda is poured into the sink. Tip submitted by Roopa   Top
Keeping drains unclogged : You can keep drains unclogged by pouring this mixture down your drains every week: one gallon of hot water, 1 tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent, and 1/2 cup of bleach.  Pour into drain and let the tap run with warm water for a few minutes afterwards.  Tip submitted by Gail

Keeping the cooker clean: To keep the inside of the cooker clean place a lemon piece in the  cooker while using. Tip submitted by Mrs. Archana Dode

  Cleaning Turmeric Stains : Clean the turmeric stained area with few drops of lime juice.The acidic content will clear the surface. Tip submitted by Aashna

  Stained Coffee pot: You can clean the inner sides of the stained coffee pot with the egg shells. (dont throw away the boiled eggs shell). Be careful when you are cleaning. Tip submitted by Anu

  Keeping cooking range clean : Put a Aluminium Foil on the Cooking Range top so that if there are any spills while cooking, it can be easily cleaned by simply replacing the foil. Tip submitted by Subita Choudhary

  Cleaning of Ginger: Ginger can be soaked over night and next day morning clean it with a tooth brush (with a tooth brush you can clean each and every corner) blend it and keep it in the fridge. this can be used anytime. Tip submitted by Sujatha Hiremath

Assigning everyone tasks : If there are others in your house hold assign each person a specific task for the clean up. For example picking up the dishes or putting away the left overs or cleaning the table etc. Top

Individual servings for later: Store  the left over in individual containers for future use. Top

 Removing Ink stains: If you want to remove an "ink stain" you should wash it with unboiled milk Tip submitted by Uma Sarpal    Top

  Clearing a clogged sink : Clogged sinks can be unclogged in an hour when a cup of hot water mixed with a tablespoon of white vinegar and a teaspoon or two of baking soda is poured into the sink. Tip submitted by Roopa   Top

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