KITCHEN QUERIES

Woman's Era - - Contents - – Savita Bhargava.

PRAWNS AND SHRIMPS LOOK SIM­I­LAR TO AN UN­TRAINED EYE, BUT are they the same, if not, how are they dif­fer­ent?

Prawns and shrimps may look sim­i­lar, and they are closely re­lated and of­ten con­fused. Bi­o­log­i­cally speak­ing they are ac­tu­ally dif­fer­ent species and have dif­fer­ent anatomies. Prawns are larger in size and have larger legs with claws on three pairs. They have branch­ing gills. Shrimps are smaller, have shorter legs and claws only on two pairs of legs. But what peo­ple call prawn or shrimp is ac­cord­ing to re­gion and coun­tries they live in. Prawns and shrimps have the same tex­ture and taste much the same. There­fore prawns and shrimps are of­ten used in­ter­change­ably in recipes. Though shrimps are the un­de­ni­able all-star of any coastal kitchen.

NOW THAT THE MON­SOON SEA­SON IS GO­ING ON PLEASE TELL US how we can beat the in­fec­tions and en­joy the rain?

Wash your hands fre­quently with soap and clean wa­ter. Avoid eat­ing out­side food es­pe­cially raw food. Al­ways wash your fruits and veg­eta­bles thor­oughly be­fore cook­ing. Use herbs and spices like gar­lic, turmeric, nut­meg, lemon­grass and black pep­per. Sip green tea or warm wa­ter in­stead of cold drinks. Sleep is also very im­por­tant, so sleep well for bet­ter im­mu­nity.

GIVE US A FEW TIPS TO STORE EGGS IN A RE­FRIG­ER­A­TOR.

If you think about wash­ing the eggs be­fore stor­ing them in a re­frig­er­a­tor, you are wrong. Never wash them as this would re­move the nat­u­ral pro­tec­tive coat­ing around the shell. Al­ways store them away from strong smelling foods, as egg shells have thou­sands of pores through which odours can be ab­sorbed.

Also al­ways store them with the nar­row ends down in the main body of the re­frig­er­a­tor and not in the door to en­sure that they keep a con­sis­tent and cool tem­per­a­ture. Left­over raw egg whites and yolks should be put in air­tight con­tain­ers and stored in the re­frig­er­a­tor im­me­di­ately.

N OW THAT THE WIN­TER OR THE STUFFED PARANTHA SEA­SON IS ap­proach­ing, please tell us how we can make a fill­ing of radishes.

This is a good ques­tion as the grated radish re­leases a lot of wa­ter when salt is added to it which makes the stuff­ing soggy and dif­fi­cult to stuff in the dough. To make a stuff­ing which can be stuffed in a parantha eas­ily – wash, peel and grate the radish. Mix in the re­quired amount of salt and keep aside for some time. Squeeze out the wa­ter and then add the other spices and mix well. An easy to use stuff­ing is ready.

PLEASE TELL US WHICH IS THE BEST SEA­SON FOR HOT soups and why?

Win­ter sea­son is the best time for soups. Be­sides be­ing de­li­cious, they are very healthy and helps pre­vent sev­eral win­ter – re­lated health prob­lems. Also, it is the best time for veg­etable juices, which not only taste good but are also great re­ju­ve­na­tors.

M OST CHIL­DREN AND YOUNG­STERS THESE DAYS ARE IN A hurry all the time, and want to spend the least time for a sit down healthy and whole­some meal. Can you sug­gest some al­ter­na­tives?

The sim­ple an­swer to your prob­lem is SOUP. Soups are the most healthy way to con­sume a wide va­ri­ety of veg­eta­bles, be­cause the vi­ta­mins and nu­tri­ents are not lost, as in over­cooked veg­eta­bles. Kids also pre­fer soups over cooked veg­eta­bles. So a mixed veg­etable soup con­tain­ing herbs like gin­ger, gar­lic, onion, co­rian­der and black pep­per and mashed dals or chicken be­comes a com­plete food in it­self. Top with lit­tle but­ter, cream or malai and serve.

ARE THERE ANY DOS AND DON’TS WHICH WE MUST KEEP IN MIND while pre­par­ing soups?

Yes, there are a few points which we should al­ways keep in mind while pre­par­ing any type of soup. For a re­ally healthy soup, no milk or cream should be added. Al­though it makes the soup tastier, it adds a lot of calo­ries. More­over, it binds and locks the nu­tri­ents in the soup which then can­not be used by the body. Also avoid adding re­fined flour or corn­flour to the soup to make it thicker, in­stead use tofu or boiled or mashed len­tils. Avoid us­ing packet soups, as only fresh soups help to pre­vent the var­i­ous win­ter- ail­ments.

I T IS VERY DIF­FI­CULT AND MESSY TO SEP­A­RATE EGG WHITES FROM yolks for var­i­ous recipes. Kindly sug­gest a sim­ple pro­ce­dure.

Yes this is dif­fi­cult, but nec­es­sary for some recipes. A small fun­nel comes in handy for sep­a­rat­ing egg whites from yolks. Open or break the egg over the fun­nel. The white will run through and the yolk will re­main. A tea strainer can also be used in­stead of a fun­nel.

FTER I COOK MEAT, I SET IT ON A PLAT­TER, COVER IT WITH A A foil and let it rest at least 10 min­utes as chefs rec­om­mend. But I al­ways end up with a plat­ter full of juice. Why does this hap­pen?

It’s nor­mal for meat to give off a lit­tle juice while it rests. . How­ever, if your meat is swim­ming in liq­uid, you might be cov­er­ing it too tightly and caus­ing the meat to steam. Be sure to tent the meat loosely with foil or just leave it un­cov­ered, about 10 min­utes for steaks and other small cuts and 20 min­utes or more for larger roasts. You might also want to buy a cut­ting board with a groove for col­lect­ing liq­uid.

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