These tips from Chef Kshama are a great way to save time and look like a rock star in the kitchen.
Eating healthy means cooking healthy too. But it’s a myth that all cooking requires you to slave for hours over a hot stove. Chef Kshama, Head Chef of The Bar Stock Exchange and Mr Baoz, shares some simple yet effective tips and tricks that have held her in good stead.
Retain the vitality of green veggies
Love your green veggies but feel they loose colour and vitality after you boil them? Here’s a handy tip. When blanching green vegetables like spinach make sure the water is salted. And add the vegetables only once the water has reached boiling point. Put the spinach into the water and count to 10. Then strain and shock the spinach with ice water. This helps to retain the colour of the vegetables and, more importantly, the vitamins.
Stop squid from getting chewy
Squid can be tough to eat if it isn’t prepared well. To help tenderise the meat, soak the squid in milk. This prevents the meat from becoming chewy and tough, and retains its softness. Soak the squid in a covered bowl for at least an hour to see any noticeable difference.
Efficient way of preserving herbs
A great way to preserve fresh herbs is to freeze them in olive oil. You can chop the herbs or leave the large leaves and sprigs. Place the herbs in the wells of ice cube trays and pour in olive oil. Freeze overnight. Remove the frozen cubes and store them in freezer bags or containers. The next time you’re cooking these frozen cubes can come in handy as a herb-infused oil base.
For crispy onions
When shallow frying onions, sprinkle salt on them as this makes them sweat. Salt helps draw the moisture/water from the onions, helping them get brown faster. This way they’ll also turn out crunchier.
Photograph: Sunny mama/Flickr
Easy way to prevent apples from browning
Prepping in advance for a fruit salad but afraid your diced apples will become brown or oxidised? To stop that from happening rub the slices with a wedge of lime or sprinkle lime juice on the apple. If you’re storing the cut apples for quite a while, then store them in lime and water mixture.
Storing garlic right
Garlic is a key ingredient in many meals and is known for its strong flavour. It’s a culinary powerhouse that also combats sickness, helps reduce blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. It’s a staple in Indian households and storing it is therefore quite important. Don’t place them in an airtight container. Ventilation is key, so store garlic in bamboo steamer baskets. If you’re mincing garlic or any other strong herb in a blender, the pungent smell tends to remain. To clean the jar well, fill it with warm water a dash of liquid soap. Put the lid back on and run the blender for a minute. Rinse to remove the soap, and the jar is clean and odour-free!
Boiling the perfect egg
You wouldn’t think it, but a perfectly boiled egg takes patience and practice. Here’s a tip to help you get there quickly. Before placing the egg in the water, prick a hole in the bottom of the egg with a pin or thumbtack. Also, add vinegar or baking soda in the water while boiling eggs, as it makes peeling the eggs faster and easier.
Photograph: J Mark Dodds/Flickr