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When in your kitchen

(08/19/2013)

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor mentions a few tips to avoid the common mistakes most people make in different methods of cooking.

Ever wanted to make that perfect meal, without any room for spoilers? Often, most home cooks look up “perfect” recipes in the hope of knocking up the best spread ever, but feel crestfallen when they don’t achieve the perfection they had hope for. Well, it really isn’t about what ingredients you use; it’s more about how you use those ingredients and even the cutlery!

Here are some of the tips, to avoid those common mistakes, and turn a culinary wonder at your table:

* Add salt to salad just before serving. Else, if you add it earlier, the freshness and texture of the salad will be lost.

* Use only room temperature ingredients and equipment for making mayonnaise. Using chilled ones will result in curdling.

*Knead as light and soft a dough as possible for making chapattis for the best taste.

* Ensure you cut the vegetables evenly. Uneven cutting of vegetables results in uneven cooking.

* Use sharp and good quality stainless steel knives for precision cutting and chopping. Blunt knifes only increase your effort, time, and accidents.

* Cook cottage cheese (paneer) for short periods of time. Prolonged cooking will result in toughening of the paneer.

* Make sure you select the perfect variety of ingredient required to make a particular dish. Eg: Use only non-starchy variety of big potatoes for making French Fries.

* Make sure you understand the character of the ingredients you use. You need to know how they behave as individuals as well as when combined with other ingredients.

Eg: Mixing milk with a souring agent may result in curdling of the milk. Cooking of fish and prawns takes lesser time in comparison to cooking of meats and some vegetables.

* Roasting the gram flour before adding to kebab mixtures. Else, it will result in raw flavour of the gram flour.

* Marinade meats for ample time before grilling or cooking. Else, the meat will toughen and become chewy.

* Using special non-stick grill pans and tandoor-based cooking appliances for making crispy veg and non-veg starters, using minimum oil.

* Do not over bast ingredients while grilling. Else, it will result in oily texture and uneven grilling.

* Turning meats and vegetables too often while grilling, resulting in uneven grilling and texture.

* Do not add more masalas to a dish while it is still cooking. Add little masala while cooking, but taste the dish after it is done to check the seasoning. Only then, you may add more masalas if required.

* Using oil previously used for deep-frying, for cooking purpose, will result in fowl flavours in a dish. Always use fresh oil.

* Use premium quality non-stick cookware for oily dishes. It will help minimise oil usage. Else, you will land up adding excessive oil.

* Use silicone ladles and spatulas instead of metallic ones. They help retain the flavour of the dish better.

* Do not add butter in very hot utensils. Else, it will result in burning of butter.

* Do not cook green vegetables by covering them. It will result in loss of nutrients and colour.

* Discarding the cooking liquor while boiling of grams and pulses, resulting in important nutrient loss.

* Do not boil stocks. Only simmer them. Else, your stock will turn unclear and retain very little taste and nutritive value.

* Over cooking chicken in pressure cooker will result in tough and chewy chicken. Make sure you take expert help - your granny, perhaps.

* Do not add cold milk to hot roux (or vice versa) while making a white sauce. It will form lumps.

* Under-seasoning on iron griddles and over-seasoning on non-stick tawas, will result in problem spreading the dosa or pancake batter.

* Cool down the melted chocolate to room temperature before using it for chocolate making. Else, it will not set and taste as desired.

* Do not expose chocolate to warm temperatures while storing. Else, it will result in blooming (appearance of grey or white areas on the surface of the chocolate).

Source: Deccan Herald

MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.

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