Kitchen queries

Woman's Era - - Short Story - – Savita Bhar­gava.

MY BROWN SU­GAR AL­WAYS TURNS ROCK HARD. CAN YOU HELP?

Of course I can, place the dried- out brown su­gar in a plas­tic con­tainer, add a slice of bread, seal it up and wait. In a cou­ple of days, the mois­ture from the bread soft­ens the brown su­gar, and it’s us­able again. In a pinch , you can al­ways put some su­gar in a bowl, top with a damp pa­per towel and mi­crowave on high for 20 sec­onds or so.

PLEASE TELL US WHICH IS THE BEST OIL TO COOK WITH I. E THE slimmest thing to cook with?

As far as calo­ries go, it doesn’t mat­ter- 1 tsp of any oil or but­ter has about 40. But the one you pick af­fects your over­all health. Choose plant-based, mostly un­sat­u­rated oils, be­cause it is im­por­tant to cook food in a healthy oil as oil plays an im­por­tant role in your health and well­ness. From olive to co­conut to flax, it’s no se­cret that oils are hav­ing a ma­jor culi­nary mo­ment. Good thing too, since most of them are rich in un­sat­u­rated fats that’ll help keep our body in tip top con­di­tion. Don’t spoil your culi­nary skills in con­fu­sion as the wrong oil.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TRICKS THAT YOU CAN TELL US TO BRING OUT THE flavour of veg­gies.

If you con­sider your­self a healthy eater, you’ve prob­a­bly come to rely on a few nu­tri­tious stand­bys like lean pro­tein, steamed veg­gies and whole grains. Noth­ing beats a hot, steamy veg­etable dish when you’re hun­gry. High heat roast­ing ( the dry heat of the oven) con­cen­trates veg­eta­bles’ flavour, caramelises their sug­ars and pro­teins, cre­at­ing a deeper, more de­li­cious flavour pro­file. To max­imise flavour and min­imise cook­ing time, you don’t need to add a lot; you just want to en­hance the fla­vors of the veg­gies, not cover them up.

One of the sim­plest ways to pre­pare fresh or even frozen veg­eta­bles is to steam them over sim­mer­ing wa­ter con­tain­ing any of the fol­low­ing; fresh herbs, gar­lic, ginger, salt and pep­per. As long as you do not over­cook them, steamed in– sea­son veg­eta­bles of­ten taste per­fectly won­der­ful as they are.

WHAT IS “ENO”? WHAT ARE IT’S USES AND PLEASE TELL US IF WE can make it at home.

“ENO” is a fruit salt, though no fruit is in­volved as such in it’s com­po­si­tion. The main in­gre­di­ents be­ing sodium bi­car­bon­ate and cit­ric acid. This fruit salt is com­posed of 60 per cent bak­ing soda and 40 per cent cit­ric acid.

Eno fruit salt is com­monly used both in the first aid box and also in the kitchen. Used for treat­ing acid­ity and the same eno salt is used for in­stant fer­men­ta­tion of food items such as idlis and dhok­las. Just mix bak­ing soda and lemon juice and home made ENO fruit salt is ready for use. For 200 grams of semolina, 1/ a 2 tea­spoon of bak­ing soda mixed with juice of 1/ 2 a lemon is re­quired to get the same bub­bles and fluffi­ness with­out the pun­gent smell of bak­ing soda.

MY PROB­LEM IS; I SNACK WHILE COOK­ING AND STILL eat a full din­ner.

The so­lu­tion to your prob­lem is; don’t fight the urge. In­stead make sure you have good graz­ing foods on the counter like cu­cum­bers, pep­pers, toma­toes, car­rots, cel­ery, cau­li­flower, beans and peas. (Dip them in salsa for some flavour). As com­pared to snack­ing on cheese and crack­ers.

WHAT IS THE DIF­FER­ENCE BE­TWEEN VEG­E­TAR­IAN, NON- VEG­E­TAR­IAN and ve­g­an­ism cui­sine?

Veg­e­tar­ian and non-veg­e­tar­ian cui­sine (cook­ing) are two com­pletely dif­fer­ent jobs. With veg­eta­bles, the touch, or hand of the cook, is like that of a painter with dif­fer­ent medi­ums- it is com­pletely dif­fer­ent from meats. The cook­ing time is shorter, the sea­son­ing is sub­tle, and you have to be very care­ful when cook­ing veg­eta­bles. There are many choices and you can do any­thing you want to do wit veg­eta­bles. It gives you an im­mense po­ten­tial for cre­ativ­ity. Even in ve­gan cook­ing you have im­mense po­ten­tial for learn­ing. You have to in­vent new so­lu­tions when you have to cook with­out but­ter, milk, pa­neer, cheese or eggs.

IN THE SUM­MER SEA­SON OUR EL­DERS TALK ABOUT HOW WE CAN keep cool by in­clud­ing “sattu” in our diet. Please tell us more about the so called “an­ti­dote” to the sum­mer sea­son.

As the sum­mer sea­son starts, we tend to con­sume what all looks ap­peal­ing like ice- creams and so­das, ne­glect­ing the tra­di­tional cool­ing foods like “sattu” which is a mix­ture of sev­eral pulses and flours. It is a hum­ble look­ing ver­sa­tile pow­der mix.

Sattu has count­less health ben­e­fits; it has a lot of fi­bre, pro­vides in­stant en­ergy and an ex­cel­lent source of veg­e­tar­ian pro­tein and a good source of cal­cium, man­ganese, mag­ne­sium, iron and vi­ta­mins like C and A. It has a low glycemic index to­gether with low sodium. It has a long shelf life.

WE ARE AL­WAYS BE­ING TOLD TO AVOID ALL WHITE COLOURED foods, but are all of them harm­ful for us?

Some colour­less foods- squishy bread, pas­tries, re­fined flour and low nu­tri­ent re­fined su­gar-de­serve their lessthan-stel­lar rep­u­ta­tions. But pale va­ri­eties like the choices here are packed with good­ness.

Add cream-coloured veg­gies and legumes to sal­ads and stews, and low–fat dairy in dress­ings and top­pings. Other things you can try: cau­li­flower, kohlrabi, ji­cama, parsnips and cel­ery root.

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