Freeze Fresh Herbs-हरी बर्फीली सलाह


We all love herbs and their distinct flavours, however whenever we buy fresh herbs we do not use them all at the same time. It seems cumbersome to save them and keep them fresh until the next use. For me, it is really painful to see the herbs die down and then thrown away.

IMG_0706An easy way to use the herbs multiple times is that you can freeze fresh herbs by simply washing and chopping them while they are fresh and wet (no need to dry them out). Put chopped herbs in an empty ice cube tray. Put as much quantity in each cube as you would need for your average recipe. Add a little water to the cubes to help herbs freeze well and form the shape. Once frozen, store these cubes in the tray itself or in a freezer zip bag or container. When you use frozen herbs, you will find them in the same colour and as flavourful as they are when fresh.

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Flavourful Tip-ज़ायकेदार सलाह

thumb_IMG_0237_1024Bhuna Jeera, as it is called in India, roasted cumin seeds can add a distinct tangy flavour to any recipe. It can be used a spice while cooking and it goes really well when added to yogurt drinks, cocktails, fruit punches and salads. Prepare Bhuna Jeera (roasted cumin powder) at home by simply roasting cumin seeds in microwave for 1-2 minutes moving it every 30 seconds so that it does not burn. Grind the roasted seeds to a coarse powder and store in air tight container.

Energy Smart Tip-बिजली बचाओ सलाह

When baking a cake or using an oven for a recipe, consider using the same electric energy and your time to roast/bake/ grill ingredients for another recipe for another day. If you think hard, there will always be something that can be done like roasting an eggplant, potatoes, or another vegetable, or meat or nuts that can be stored in the refrigerator for use for another meal. Conventional cooking range ovens have enough space to accommodate several dishes on its racks, so make use of the space, energy and time.

This way not only you get better organized for the next meal, you help make the earth green, save some carbon footprint you may otherwise leave with using oven time and again.  To add to this, be Energy Smart and check out the off peak time for your province and plan using the oven at a time when it costs the least and you can save energy cost.

Replace Cream with Milk-हलकी फुल्की सलाह

Most exotic rich Indian recipes suggest using cream, butter and butter oil (ghee) but all of these can be replaced with more healthier and easily available alternatives. For example, in a conventional Butter Chicken or Daal Makhani recipe replace cream with milk to make the gravy creamy. For Daal replace water with milk and for Butter Chicken increase the amount of nuts (almonds or cashews whatever you are using).

Revive that creative side in you and try using coconut milk once in a while to give that distinctive flavour to a routine recipe.

Frozen Advice-बर्फ़ीली सलाह

In your daily cooking, consider replacing some fresh vegetables with frozen vegetables. Frozen veggies seal in more nutrition, colour and flavour as a result of quick freezing process (QFP) at the time of their packing when they are appropriately ripened and nutrition packed. Most fresh veggies are picked before they ripe, they may show signs of ripening by the time they reach the grocery shelf from the farm. They are however not as nutritious as they would have been if they were on the plant for longer.

Frozen veggies should be steamed or microwaved or pressure cooked to retain all nutrients. Never boiled or blanched.

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Browning Tender Veggies-एक सलाह – लेनी हो तो लो

Some tender veggies like cauliflower breaks away in the cooking pan as soon as it softens . To get the right colour and texture of the finished recipe for such ingredients, cook at highest heat level for first 5-10 minutes. Make sure to keep turning the ingredients occasionally so that some pieces get brown even though not tender or cooked fully. After you get the right colour and burnt flavour, alternate the heat to low to let the ingredients get tender and fully cooked. You may want to add a few drops of water when putting the heat at low to help tendering process and finish up the recipe.

Value Your Time-एक सलाह चाहो तो ले लो

Try using all the stove burners at the same time. Plan the use of burners in a way that the recipe taking the longest time is put on the burner first, and other recipes follow in descending order. This will result in all your cooking finishing at the same time and you can spend the saved precious time doing something else you love to do.

That Creative Streak-कुछ अलग करने की सलाह

On the day you feel creative –  Give a shot to this advice.

You can change the flavour of a regular recipe, caramelize ingredients by adding 1/2 teaspoon sugar to warm oil in the pan, once sugar melts and the drops becomes brown put in vegetables or other ingredients to cook.