Tips (Under construction)
These are some tips I learnt from my experience while cooking, some from my mom/ MIL and few from magazines.
(You can read the tips and know, but please do not copy and re-publish in your websites! Thank you for understanding…)
- Keep a pan separate – one for making dosas and one for making roti. (As after making roti, you may not be able to make dosa,it will get stuck to the pan)
- When you are going to make dosa, take required amount of idly batter in a vessel, add little water to make the batter to pouring consistency. This makes it easily and evenly spreadable batter,perfect for dosa.
- When you are going to make dosa, donot apply oil first, first spread the dosa and then drizzle oil over it. Because, if you add oil first, then u may not be able to spread evenly and thin.
- Do not scrub(with metal scrubber or scrubber) the dosa pan while washing it. Just gently wash with water and use soap only if needed. And use a sponge for cleaning.
- If your dosa is not getting golden brown, add a tiny piece of jaggery or 1/4 tsp of sugar to the batter.
- If you want nice dosas, add ghee, it makes a lot of difference. But restrict yourself with only one or two for health reasons.
- Also just use 1/2 tsp of ghee and 1 tsp of oil per dosa, instead adding too much of ghee.
- Always use melted ghee. It makes you consume lesser.
- If you want to make onion uthappam, spread thick dosa and top it with chopped onion. After turn over, cook in medium flame to get golden roasted uthappam.
- Always iron skillets are better for this kind of dosa than the nonstick ones.
Idly Batter Tips
- Make sure the batter is light in weight. It is possible by grinding urad dal fluffy, by adding water little by little in regular intervals.
- The more airy your urad dal is, the lighter your batter and so is your idly.
- You should be able to see airy bubbles in the urad dal batter while grinding. If you drop a tsp of urad dal batter in a bowl of water, then it should float. Then its is correctly ground.
- Grind both batters separately and then mix. Then only you will get more volume of the batter.
- If you live in a hot temperature country, try keeping the batter for less time to ferment.
- If you are living in cold temperature countries, grind the batter and keep it inside the oven with oven light on. It will help in fermenting.
- Add a fist full of cooked rice while you grind rice, this will give extra soft idli.
- Another tip to get dream soft idli is to soak a fist full of poha/aval or sago/javarisi along with rice.
Cooking rice for pulav and mixed rice
- Soaking the basmati rice is very important for any brand of rice, with minimum time of 15 minutes to maximum as much as you can. This makes the rice absorb more water and tastes less time to cook with less water, which means soft, separate grains!
- Minimum rice to water ratio from 1 : 1 to maximum 1 : 2. Pressure cook for 3 whistles.
- Let the flame be in high until steam comes and then cook in medium flame to get whistles. If you cook in high flame through out, there may be water at the bottom. If you cook in medium flame through out, chances of rice getting sticky.
- If you are cooking rice for mixed variety rice, pressure cook rice, after the steam gets released, transfer rice to broad vessel, add a tsp of sesame oil/ any cooking oil. If needed, add salt too. This helps a lot in separating the grains.
- Be gentle while you mix. Before mixing, let it cool a bit for 5 minutes, then use a dosa flipper or any flat ladle for this purpose.
- If you keep over mixing when it is steaming hot, it will get mushy or broken.
- For sambar, toor dal(thuvaram paruppu) is main factor. Choose best brand/ quality dal. Flat dal gets cooked easier.
- Use water ratio 1 : 2 and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles in medium flame.
- While pressure cooking dal for sambar, the optional items you can add are turmeric, asafoetida, one red chilli, few drops of ghee or sesame oil.
- Sesame oil and red chilli helps in easy cooking the dal.
- Once pressure is released and while it is still hot, mash the dal well. If there is water, drain and reserve and then mash as it will be easier.
- To get a tasty sambar like the one in restaurants, use a tsp of ghee while you are frying onion for sambar.
- Use small onion the best for sambar.
- Adding a 1/2 tsp of jaggery enhances the taste.
- Add few torn curry leaves after you switch off the stove and close with the lid.
- Asafoetida is also an important ingredient for flavourful sambar.
- For tiffin sambar, tamarind and salt should be mild so that we can relish lots of sambar with the tiffin, it should be *drinkable*.
- For sambar for rice, everything should be more and balanced.
- If your sambar is too tangy, add more dal if you have any or more sambar powder and water.
- If too spicy, add more tamarind and boil again. Or you can also add bit more salt if it can be balanced.
- If too salty, add a potato and boil. The potato will absorb the salt.
VATHAL KUZHAMBU/ PULI KUZHAMBU TIPS
- For this kind of kuzhambu, it is always good to use more tamarind. But it is important to balance the spiciness and salt. So add more sambar powder and salt accordingly.
- Adding jaggery enhances the taste, but only a peanut sized.
- Other flavour enhancers that you can add towards the end and switch off the stove are fenugreek seeds roasted and powdered, black pepper powder.
- Using sesame oil for seasoning this kuzhambu is also a great tip.
- Cut curry leaves very finely and use while tempering. This makes the kuzhambu very flavorful.
- Use kashmiri red chilli powder, extra, for lovely colour.
- Use Rice flour, not more than 3/4 tsp for thickening the kuzhambu, towards the end.
COOKING RICE, PASTA AND DALS
- For basmati rice, I always soak it as much as possible hours. Minimum 1/2 hour to maximum 4 hours. This makes the rice absorb water and takes less time to cook and we can use less water to cook as well. Since it absorbs water, it gets cooked soft and moist.
- Same for pasta. I soak pasta overnight if I am going to cook for my kid the next morning for his lunch box. Morning I just boil water with salt and add the soaked pasta, bring to boil. Ta…da…! The pasta is cooked at no time! This works only for the authentic pasta, not the thin variety pasta we get in India.
- If you are going to cook dals for mashing, like for sambar, and your dal is poor qualitly and doesnt gets cooked easily, you can soak it as well for an hour.
- Add a drop of sesame oil and you can add a dry red chilli. These things make the dal cook easily and softly.
- I usually add turmeric and asafoetida while cooking dal for my sambar.