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21 hacks for the 21st century NRI Kitchen

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

I love good kitchen hacks, especially when it makes life easy and saves $$$. I religiously recommend some of these hacks to my daughters, friends and my wider NRI Kitchen community. While most of these have been tried and tested in kitchens in India and the world over, some leave room for improvement. I share this with no reservation and keen to hear if you have any new hacks or tweaks that would help us all in this community.

1. Keep Poories in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before frying to ensure they are not too greasy and rise well when put into the hot oil.

2. Want to have some soft chapatis? Add some milk to the chapati/paratha dough while kneading. Also, cook chapatis on high flame to ensure they remain soft for long.

3. Microwave lemon for 10-20 seconds to get more juice out of it easily.

4. Don’t throw away squeezed lime. Wipe the kitchen sink with the used lime to clean it and remove any odour.

5. Remove mint, coriander and curry leaves from the stem and store them in an airtight container in the fridge so that it lasts longer.

6. In order to peel off garlic flakes easily, chop the top and bottom end of the clove and microwave for 10-20 seconds.

7. Shallots rot quickly, especially during monsoon. To extend its life and prevent rotting, keep shallots (small onions) in the fridge in a paper bag.

8. To peel off shallots easily, put them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.

The peel will slide off easily.

9. While caramelizing onion, if it goes too brown, put an ice cube in it. The water will evaporate quickly and the onions will not caramelize further.

10. Add a pinch of salt to caramelize onion quickly.

11. Remove bananas from the bunch and cover the end of the banana with plastic wrap to extend its life by a week.

12. Ripen bananas quickly by storing them in a paper bag.

13. Unsure whether the egg is fresh? Put it in a bowl of water. If it sinks, it is fresh and lies on its side. If it is a little old, it will sink, but stand upright. If it floats, it’s better to throw it in the trash. The reasoning behind this tip is that eggshells are porous and allows air to enter inside them. If it floats, it is because there is a lot of air in it, which has penetrated over a course of time.

14. Remove eggshell from boiled egg easily by adding a pinch of baking soda or vinegar into the water while boiling.

15. Use eggshell to scoop out any small piece of eggshell that has fallen into a bowl or frying pan. Eggshells act as a magnet to draw the smaller pieces fallen into the bowl.

16. Peel hard-boiled eggs in a batch by shaking them inside a plastic container with a lid. It might not look pretty, but the job will be done in a flash.

17. In order to warm a plate of food uniformly in a microwave oven, place the food in a doughnut shape without anything in the centre.

18. In order to prevent rust formation on your cast-iron utensils, apply a coat of oil on it.

19. Scrub cutting board with salt and apply lime to clean it and remove any odour.

20. Check if the baking soda is still good to use by mixing a tsp. of it in hot water. If it still bubbles, the baking soda is good to use. Or else, replace it with a new one.

21. Baking powder is a very versatile item that every kitchen should have. It is the best bet to clean tough stains in the kitchen sink, on blender tops, inside of the oven etc. Make a mixture of vinegar with baking soda into a toothpaste-like consistency. Apply it on the surface you want to clean and leave it to dry for 12-24 hours. Then, wipe it off with a damp cloth.

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