Tips to Tackle Tight Spots

Simple ingredients in your kitchen that can be used to make life easy.

Having ants all over your kitchen? Keep the peel of cucumbers wherever you see them. Ants do not like them and will disappear.

To get clean and clear ice boil the water before freezing.

To make your mirrors shine clean them with spirit or wipe them clean with tea decoction.

Sat on a chewing gum by mistake and stuck with it? Keep the fabric inside the freezer for a few minutes and pull it out.

Soaking white clothes in a bucket of hot water with a some lime slices for about half an hour will help in making them sparkling white.

Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the last rinse to make hair shiny.

Chew gum while chopping onions to avoid tears.

While cooking cabbage the smell that emanates puts off a lot of people. Drop a piece of bread into the pan and the smell will disappear.

Sprinkle black pepper in places frequented by rats and you will see the last of them.

To remove ink stains rub the affected part with a generous dose of toothpaste and let it dry fully. Then wash thoroughly.

To peal the skin off sweet potatoes in a jiffy soak in cold water after boiling.

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Paanagam or Paanakam – A traditional Health Drink

Paanagam in Sanskrit means Sweet Drink. It is offered as ‘neivedhyam’ or ‘prasaad’ to Lord Rama on his birthday – Raama Navami, that is celebrated on the 9th day [ Navami ] of the Chaithra Month of the hindus.
It can be made very quickly in easy steps [ just add & stir] and devoured even more quickly [ sip,sip,sip…]. Paanagam has great health benefits and tastes divine. Jaggery is rich in mineral salts and iron which help in strengthening the nervous system and preventing anemia.
Dried ginger powder or sukku as it is known in Tamil Nadu aids in digestion and its intake benefits people of all ages.

On the whole a very soothing and refreshing drink for summer.

Ingredients:

Jaggery – 1/2 Cup grated
Dried Ginger Powder – 1/2 tsp
Cardamon – 1/4 tsp
Salt – a Pinch
Lime – 1/2
Pachai Karpooram/ edible camphor. – a small pinch
Water – 3 cups

Method :
Add jaggery to water with rest of the ingredients.
Squeeze in the Lime.
Stir continuously till jaggery dissolves completely.
Strain and serve chill.

Tips:
Adjust quantity of lime and jaggery to suit your taste buds, depending on how sweet you want it to be.
If you feel the jaggery is not clean enough, you can mix it with water bring it to a boil, strain and mix rest of the ingredients after cooling.

Mixed Vegetable Pickle

Ingredients:

Chopped vegetables – 4 cups
This can include Cauliflower, Carrot, Peas, Bitter Gourd, Lime, Capsicum, Raw Mango, Beet root, Beans & Lime.
Small onions – 10 nos optional.
Garlic – 10 pods
Ginger – 50 gms
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
Powdered Fenugreek – 2 tsp
Chili Powder – as per spice requirement
Sesame Oil – 1 cup
Lime juice – 4 big lemons
Asafeoetida – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste

Method:

Wash all vegetables thoroughly and pat them dry. Dry it under the fan for a while to get rid of moisture if any.
Cut into small cubes. Carrots and beetroot can be gated too.
Heat oil in pan and add Mustard. When it splutters add the small onions, ginger and garlic.
Fry for a while and add Asafoetida.
Add rest of the vegetables and all other ingredients and fry in low flame for a couple of minutes to remove moisture completely.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Add lime juice after it has cooled down and mix well.
Transfer to a dry jar and store inside the refrigerator.

Tips:
If you add plenty of Raw Mango you can reduce quantity of lime juice.
Ensure there is sufficient oil to cover the pickle. This helps preserve it longer.
Vegetables should be totally dry before using them.

TIPS FOR BETTER COOKING – PART – II

1.To make dosas easily rub the tawa with an onion cut into two.

2.If the dosa batter gets stuck on to the tawa add salt to a little bit of oil and rub the surface with this mix. You can make the next dosa easily.

3.Immerse lime in hot water for a few minutes before extracting juice to get the maximum juice.

4.For making crisp potato chips, slice and place the potatoes in a white cloth, tie it and drop it in boiling water and immerse for five mins. Remove slices and put them in cold water to which salt has been added. Your chips will be extremely crisp.

5.Want to make crisp Pakodas? Add a bit of ghee and curds seasoned with salt and mix the batter.

6.You can also add powdered ground nuts to the besan batter to make them extra crispy.

7.Adding a pinch of salt to turmeric powder or Chilli powder will help in preserving them longer

8.If you have run short of curds to make curds, you can make use of lime juice.

9.While storing coconuts ensure the ‘kudumi’ portion is upright. It will stay good for a long time.

10.Branches of Goose Berry trees can be cut into 3 – 4 pieces and dropped inside a well with salt water. These branches remove the salt from the well water.

TIPS BY: MRS MIRA BALACHANDRAN; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

TIPS FOR BETTER COOKING – PART – I

1.Add salt to water while cooking greens [Keerai] to help retain the color.

2.A few drops of lime added to rice while cooking helps in making it look brighter and White.

4.Having problems in cooking Tur Dal? At times we will find certain varieties of Tur dal requiring longer time to cook and we would discover this only after a couple of days of trial by which time it will be too late to return the dal to the store. Add a small piece of coconut to the dal and cook to see the difference.

5.Add a piece of ginger while cooking cabbage or cauliflower to avoid the strong aroma that it emanates normally.

6.While mixing dough for Pooris add sugar to get puffed Pooris that stay crisp for a while.

7.Adding a few pepper corns to oil will help in keeping it fresh for a longer duration.

8.Soaking / immersing Cauliflower in salt water half an hour before cooking [after removing the leaves and stem] will help in getting rid of small germs or worms.

9.Wash onions after peeling the skin off to avoid eye irritation and watering.

10.Idli or Dosa batter will not go sour if you add a few dry chillies to it.

Tips by Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

Sundal: Kondai Kadalai [White Channa / Chickpea ] Sundal

Ingredients:

White Channa / Kondai Kadalai – 200 gms

Salt – To taste

Green Chilies – 2 or 3 finely chopped

Grated Coconut – 3 heaped tlbsp

Grated raw mango – ½ cup

Oil – 2 tsp

Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp

Curry Leaves – a few

Lime juice – optional

Method:

Rinse and soak the chana in water overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Cook the soaked chana with a little water in a pressure cooker with the weight on in medium flame for 25 minutes.

Pour oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add curry leaves and green chilies and sauté for a few seconds. Then add the cooked chana along with required salt and cook on low flame till the moisture / water is fully absorbed.

Switch off the stove and add grated Mango and mix well.

When it is fully cooled add grated coconut. If required add lime juice as per your taste.

This is an any time snack that is extremely healthy

Tips:

Some do not like to bite into green chilies. In that case put pieces of coconut in a mixer, add the green chilies to it and grind coarsely. Depending on the how spicy the green chilies are add or reduce their quantity.

Magical Mint Juice

Mint or Pudina, as it is popularly known in India, at once conjures up cool and refreshing images in the mind. For centuries this herb has been used as both seasoning as well as for its medicinal properties. Right from chewing gum and mouthwash to toothpaste and ice creams Mint is a popular flavor.

A chilled glass of Mint Juice combined with a dash of lime is heavenly and gives respite from the hot, summer days. Mint juice can also be had with lime, honey and pepper topped with ice for that soothing effect. It is a naturally flavored drink that does wonders to energize a tired body. Lime juice supplies the required amount of Vitamin C

Mint Juice

Ingredients:

Pudina (Mint)  Leaves – 1 Cup [Washed and cleaned]
Sugar – 1 Cup
Water – 1 Cup
Ginger – 25 gms crushed coarsely
Lime juice – as required
Pepper Powder – optional

Method:

Heat Water and Sugar and bring to a boil.
Lower flame and let it boil till sugar completely dissolves.
Remove from stove. Add Pudina leaves and ginger to the sugar syrup.

Keep the container closed for an hour.
Strain through a fine filter. Store in refrigerator.
When required take one part of syrup and mix with two parts of water. Add lime juice as required to give a tangy taste.
Add a pinch of pepper powder if you like.

Tips:
A dash of green food color can be added to give a green tinge to the syrup. Children will love the bright green color.

This syrup should be consumed within a day or two. If you wish to make in large quantities you can add preservatives to make it last longer.