Handy Kitchen Tricks

Here are a few quick fixes for cooking mistakes, some handy tricks and creative solutions that can save you time and effort in the kitchen…

When working with chillies

Before chopping chillies, rub your hands with vegetable oil to prevent them from absorbing the chilli oils and burning.

Rice that you have bought tends to be sticky when cooked

A teaspoon of lemon juice added to boiling rice will keep the kernels separated.

The gravy is lumpy

To smooth lumpy homemade gravy, try blending it vigorously with a wire whisk. If there are still lumps, whirl the mixture in a blender or food processor. If necessary, reheat before serving.

The soup/curry is too salty

Add a raw potato to the soup and boil for a short time. The potato will absorb some of the salt. Remove and discard the potato.

The recipe calls for eggs at room temperature and yours are refrigerator-cold

Dunk them in lukewarm water for 5 minutes before use.

Your pasta is stuck together

After draining the pasta, before you plunge it quickly back into boiling water, add a pat of butter or a tablespoon of oil. Drain; your pasta should come unstuck. You could even add oil to the water before you add the uncooked pasta.

Season as you cook

Instead, of waiting until after your dish is cooked, add seasoning as you cook. Your food will taste more flavourful. An extra pat of butter or a bit of oil can lighten strong flavours, and lemon juice will reduce the excessive saltiness.

Help butter melt fast

Keep your butter in the freezer and then grate it for baking and pastries. It mixes into the flour easier and melts quicker.

While baking you suspect the baking powder is old

To test baking powder for staleness, add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to 1 cup of hot water. If the mixture bubbles a lot, it’s good; if not, throw it out.

If you’re making sugar syrup and don’t want it to crystalise

Add a pinch of baking soda to boiled syrup to prevent it from crystallising.

To store bananas for smoothies

Always freeze bananas without their skins because they’re a problem to peel when frozen for great smoothie additions.

To get rid of burnt food odour

Boil a small amount of vinegar on the stove or simmer a pot of water with a few whole cloves
in it.

To cleanse your kitchen of cooked fish smell

Simmer a pan of water on the gas stove with spices like whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, or allspice, or cut up a lemon and simmer the slices in a pan of water.

To keep your stovetop sparkling

A solution of vinegar and baking soda will easily remove cooking oil from your stovetop.

To give your refrigerator a thorough clean-up

To clean exterior and interior walls, dissolve 2 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water and wipe all surfaces. For stubborn spots, rub with a baking soda paste. Be sure to rinse with a clean, wet cloth.

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