Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cooking Basics - Beginners

Boiling Milk
Always use a heavy bottomed vessel. Otherwise clean up will be hard work. Fill upto 3/4th of the vessel. Keep flame at low or sim to boil milk on stove top.Stay near the stove to see that milk doesnt not over boil and spill.

To boil milk in microwave
Use microwaveable ceramic or corningware vessels. Same way fill only 3/4th of the vessel. Set High for 4 mins for 34 Oz(1Ltr) and let set for a minute inside the microwave and then remove it.

Making Curd
Boil the milk and let it cool. Do not try to make curd while the milk is hot. Forming curds in USA especially in the colder regions needs 24+ hours. So if you need more of them, prepare ahead.

Option 1
Get some curd from a friend or from store and use the culture to start making curd. Add atleast 2-3 tbsp of curd to the milk (34 oz)
Option 2
Take one lime and squeeze out the juice and add to a 1 cup boiled milk after it becomes warm. This will serve as a starter culture to make good curd. Initially this curd will not taste good, but use it as a starter to make perfect curd. The next cycle will be good.

Curd Making Tip
For colder places add curds to the milk while milk is warm to the touch. For tropical climates add curds after the milk cools down, because the curd will turn sour soon due to the hot temperatures.Allow curd to set for atleast 6-8 hours in tropical temperatures and atleast 12-14 hours in cold temperatures.

Cooking Rice
Long grain rice(Riceland/Blue Ribbon/similar brands of raw rice)
For every cup of rice - add 2 cups of water to pressure cook.

Basmati Rice
For every cup of rice - add 1.5 cups of water to pressure cook so that you get a fluffy non sticky output.

Sona Masoori
For every cup of rice - add 2.5 cups of water to pressure cook.

Important Tips
1. Never add sugar to milk in the stove while boiling. The milk will go bad. Always add sugar to milk after it has been taken off the stove.
2. Never add salt to uncooked rice. The rice will not cook properly.
3. Never add jaggery/brownsugar to uncooked rice. Even if you keep for 10-15 whistles the rice will not cook.
4. While cooking lentils(dals) like channa, black channa, rajma etc. Pressure cook them with a pinch of turmeric but do not add salt.
5. Do not open the pressure cooker while the steam is still brewing in it. Always remove the whistle and then let it cool to open.
6. Turmeric has medicinal properties. Always limit the use of turmeric to a pinch or 1/4 of a tsp. Overuse is not a good thing as it changes the flavor of the recipe.
7. When you are new to cooking, reduce the salt you add, required according to the recipe. Finish the recipe, taste it and then fine tune it.
8. Spice and salt can be added later but it is difficult to reduce salt & spice in a dish with too much of it.
9. Try all new recipes in small quantities and multiply the quantities to make bigger batches if it works out correctly.
10. It is best suggested to keep all the ingredients ready, measured, cut and in order to make cooking easier.

Note: All Oz used in the posts are US fl.oz. 1 Cup = 8 fl.Oz