Some of the Useful things you may need while Cooking .
Phanch Phoron –mix in kalo jeera(nigella seeds),jeera(cumin),methi(Fenugreek) mouri (fennel).Store in a air tight container ,stays fresh upto 6 months.
Coconut milk-Take the meat out of coconut , add 2-3 cups of water grate it in a blender.This is the easiest way to get home –made coconut milk.
Garam masala powder-Grate in a grinder Cardamom(elaich) 10-15 ,clove(loung) 10-15 ,dalchini(cinnamon)2-3 sticks of 1inch long ,and a little less of Jwatri ,Boro elaich and 3-4 black pepper (optional,I generally don’t add them ,its better to add a dash of it while cooking ,gives a good flavor),stays fresh for 1year .
Khadhi -a yogurt based lentil gravy eaten with rice or rotis,mix in 1-2 cups of dahi/yogurt +1/2 cup of water (add more if you want a thin gravy)with 2tbs of Besan (gram flour)+1/2 tsp of holod(turmeric powder) and temper it with shoreshe(mustard seeds),shokno lonka(dry red peppers), curry leaves.This is as simple as it can be.You may add some grated fresh ginger,onion and methi (Fenogreek seeds)to it also for variation in taste.
Badaam chutney –you need posto (white poppy seeds),roasted peanuts(badaam),1 onion,1 green chilly (add more according to your affinity towards spiciness’),grind it all by adding little of water in a mixer.Serve with dosas,roti etc.
Blanching Almonds-Boil some water and take it off from the flame .Add almonds to the hot water and keep it there 10-15 mints.The skin will loosen thus making it easier to take the skin out.Even you can soak them overnight in water ,next morning its easy to peel the skin off .
How to toast walnuts-Preheat oven to 350 deg F.Spread Walnuts and brown it for 10-12 mintsfor crisp and crunchy.
Edible Flowers-Chive,lavender,strawberry, marigold, fennel and rose. Often you find that essential sabzi powder is not in your pantry ,in that case you can try making it in home ,all you need is little effort and a reliable mixer /grinder.
Coriander powder-roast dhone(coriander) in a kadai over lower flame for 5 mints ,let it cool off and then grind it well in a grinder.Same can be done to get Jeera (cumin) powder.
How to check for the purity of Honey-add 1drop of Honey in 1 glass of water ,if it settles down in the bottom of glass ,it’s a pure one and if it dissolves then chances are that sugar is added.
Now to some of the international cuisine.
Marinara sauce- a pasta sauce ,in short add chopped onion+garlic(3 cloves will do wonder ,can add upto 4-5)in 2 tbs of extra Virgin oil EVOO, tomato paste ,salt ,pepper ,a touch of sugar sprinkle dried rosemary and the wine (optional).Add chopped tomatoes cover ,simmer for 30 mints .Add water ,1 tbs of fresh oregano , 4 tbs freshly snipped basil.Simmer for another 15 mints.Butter your marinara sauce.When I don’t have the dried herbs I use dried Italian Seasoning also .
Italian seasoning-this seasoning is quite used in flavoring Italian dishes and its basically a mixture of Marjoram,Thyme,Rosemary,Savory,Sage Oregano and Basil.You can check them in your local grocery outlet under herb segments .Mix in above to get your home made Italian seasoning .
How would you substitute Buttermilk in baking cakes In a cup of milk ,add 1-2 tsp of vinegar and add to the cake batter as required.
Greek Seasoning-in short ,1 tsp of Oregano (dried),1 tsp of garlic powder (no –salt added),1tsp of salt ½ tsp of Pepper ,1/2 tsp of paprika (can add crushed flakes of red pepper),pinch of Thyme leaves.
A simple salad Dressing –mix in fresh curd ,mint leaves ,mustard powder,sugar and salt.Chop in some of the fruits or veggies you want ,toss in and serve .
How you would reduce spice from curry
If a normal curry turn out spicy and hot -
If you have added potatoes to the curry like a Chicken curry or Mutton Curry then,mash some potatoes and mix in well.
cut and chop a tomato finely and add it to the curry, adjust salt after adding tomato.
If the Pulao turn out sticky
A) If you are making the rice( make sure to take the vessel off the stove-top few minutes before rice is being properly cooked,rest will be cooked due to the heat/moisture the hot rice generally has) and then mixing it with cooked vegetables by layering method ..then it wont stick..
B) there is other method also ,fry the rice well with other spices for 5-7 mints ..and then add in vegetables ..cook at low ,slowly..inspite of these ,if it still sticks..
C) Add in some lemon juice while it still piping hot ...adding few tsp of butter also help..sprinkling some cold water also helps.try to keep open the vessel for few minutes after the pulao is cooked ,till the moisture escapes out and then cover it.Hope it helps ..