Essential Tips

Read the recipe before starting and make sure all ingredients are ready.

A zester or microplane grater works great to make a ginger paste. Squeeze the ginger paste for a ginger juice to flavor your dishes.

To get rid of the burn smell, when you have burned your dal or vegetables, immediately transfer the dal or vegetables to another (uncovered) dish and place that dish over a pot of cold water.

Make sure not to reuse oil to avoid any mixing of flavors. Oil absorbs the flavor of whatever you are cooking. This is especially true if you frying foods using gram flour or spices.

Use a skimmer when you are frying as the holes that help in draining excess oil.

To boil up to six cups of milk, use a glass or corning dish and microwave. This will prevent the milk from boiling over and burning from the bottom.
When cutting vegetables to cook, make sure to cut them in equal and bite sized pieces. This allows for the vegetables to be flavored and cooked evenly.

Make sure to select the right size pan. If a pan is very small proportionally to the food you are preparing, it will be difficult to evenly cook the food.
Using a pan that is too big will cause the liquid in the food to evaporate too quickly.

The suggested heat in my recipes may vary depending on your particular stove, so use the suggested heat as a guideline.

Measuring vegetables and fruits using cup measurements can vary depending on whether raw, chopped, or cooked foods are used. For everyday purposes, it is best to approximate measurements. Remember the cup measurements are just guidelines.

Chaunk (also known as tadka or baghar) is a seasoning technique made with spices fried in oil or ghee (clear butter) and added to a dish to give it a distinctive flavor. Chaunk is added to a dish in the beginning or end. Chaunk has endless possibilities of combinations of ingredients. It is important to prepare chaunk the right way to ensure the proper release of flavor and aroma of the spices. Make sure to have all the spices ready before because the spices need to be added to the hot oil at just the right time. Mostly chaunks are comprised of cumin seeds (jeera) or mustard seeds (rai) or both. The best way to know if the oil is hot enough is to add one or two seeds in hot oil and if the seeds sizzle or pop up right away, the oil is ready. After the seeds sizzle, start adding the other spices.