1) For keeping herbs like cilantro, mint etc fresher longer, wash as soon as you get them home. Dry on a towel, wrap in a paper towel and store in a zip lock bag for longer lasting freshness.
2) I am sure this has happened to all of us. We buy fresh ginger and within a few days it becomes very dry. To avoid this, peel the ginger and store in a zip lock bag in the freezer.
3) When using lemon right out of the refrigerator, place in the microwave for 10-12 seconds and give it a nice roll on the counter with your palm. You will then be able to juice it easily.
4) An aunt of mine told me this tip for cooking whole pumpkins/butternut squash etc. Place the whole squash in the microwave for 7-10 minutes (or more for bigger gourds) and once it comes out, you will be able to peel it and cut it easily.
5) If you are planning to switch from white rice to brown for idlys and dosas, here is a tip on how to make the transition. To get accustomed to the change in texture and colour, start out by mixing both rices. If you usually take 3 cups of rice, start out with 2 cups of white and 1 cup of brown. The next time, take 1 1/2 cups each of white and brown, the next batch will have 2 cups of brown rice and 1 of white and finally you would have completed your transition to using only brown rice.
6) When making any type of payasam, please use a thick bottomed vessel or else the milk with stick to it and start burning. A cooker works the best. Avoid non-stick vessels too, as the milk tends to burn in those too.
7) Easy method to roast Rava/Semiya (Semolina/Vermicelli). Place rava/semiya in a microwavable plate and heat for a minute. Toss lightly with your hand and roast for another minute. It should be done!
8) To remove any strong smell from a plastic, airtight container, place some spices in it (cardamom/cloves etc) and leave the container open for a few hours.
9) When making a mixed rice like lemon rice, coriander rice, curry leaves rice etc., cook the rice ahead of time and spread it out on a plate, to cool. This way, when you mix the flavorings, the rice will not get mushy.
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