1. Why don’t any of the recipes have onion or garlic?
This is a personal preference; I was raised in a family that did not eat onion and garlic. This was a common practice for hindu and jain families. To this day I don’t enjoy the taste of onion and garlic. I feel their flavor is so strong that other flavors in the dish are lost by onion or garlic. I suggest, that you practice cooking without them so you can taste the other flavors, and then add them. I am not advocating that you stop cooking with onion and garlic, but I am teaching cooking the way I enjoy eating my self.
2. Can I make changes to your recipes?
Feel free to make changes with the ingredients any way you like. You have your own taste and will be more familiar with what you have in your pantry when you are ready to cook. Cooking should be entertaining and making changes is always fun.
Different recipes were created by a person like you and me, who has given them different names. I enjoy teaching these traditional recipes as I know them and giving suggestions, including answering email about the recipes, but creativity is an important and satisfying part of cooking so please experiment.
3. How to store cilantro (green coriander) for 10 to 12 days?
After much experimentation, I find its better not to wash cilantro until you are ready to use it. Before refrigerating, chop off the heavy steams and remove the leaves that are going bad. Pat dry the cilantro. Wrap the cilantro in the paper towel and store it in a paper bag. I like using brown paper lunch bags.
I have been able to store cilantro for almost 10 to 12 days.
4. Butter Paneer Masala
Another frequently asked question is why do I call this recipe Butter Paneer Masala when I don’t use any butter in this recipe. Personally, I call this recipe Paneer Masala. I have had lots of requests for Butter Paneer Masala, so I researched this recipe and discovered that butter isn’t used. My recipe uses yogurt instead of cream to “butter up” the paneer. Also you can add blended cashews to “butter up” the paneer. I feel better and healthier using yogurt.
5. What type of food processor do I use?
I use a food processor made by Kitchen Aid and am extremely happy with it. Investing in a quality food processor is important. My Kitchen Aid food processor has lasted me over 10 years.
- KitchenAid KFP720OB 7-Cup Food Processor with 3-Cup Mini Bowl
- KitchenAid KFP750OB 700-Watt 12-Cup Food Processor
6. Where can I buy a pizza/baking stone?
I bought my pizza/baking stone on Amazon. You can find pizza/baking stones at any store that specializes in kitchen products, or at Sears, Wal-Mart, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
I recommend this one:
7. What type of pots and pans should I buy?
I like to use heavy pots and pans, which can prevent your food from burning at the bottom of the pan and also allow the food to cook better. Calphalon cookware and Hard-Anodized pans work great.
I recommend the following:
- Calphalon Tri-Ply Collector’s Edition 12-Inch Everyday Pan with Lid
- Calphalon Tri-Ply Collector’s Edition 3-Quart Chef’s Pan with Lid
- Calphalon Simply Calphalon Nonstick Hard-Anodized Aluminum 4-Quart Covered Chef’s Casserole
- Simply Calphalon Nonstick 12 Inch Jumbo Fryer
- Simply Calphalon Nonstick 11 Inch Square Griddle
8. Why do my rotis become hard and dry?
The number one reason why rotis become hard is because after each individual roti is made, they should be covered immediately so the steam keeps the rotis soft. Many people wait until all rotis are made and then cover them. The second reason your rotis may become hard is because the dough is not completely kneaded and pliable.
9. Why are my gulab jamuns hard and why do they break when frying?
Gulab jamuns are often hard because the dough is not soft enough and are cooked on too high heat. Gulab jamuns should be cooked on low heat. Gulab jamuns will tend to break because of too much baking soda added to the recipe.
10. Why are rasgullas too hard?
- In general, the paneer needs to be kneaded more to smoothen dough, or paneer needs to be squeezed a little more or they did not cook long enough.
- Viewer Jaya explains very well, “I knead the paneer for 3 – 4 minutes until the paneer is almost smooth and rolls into a smooth ball like soft dough. Knead it by dragging the palm of your hand down hard on the paneer. Keep scooping it back to together and knead more. If the paneer is too crumbly, add a teaspoon of water. Don’t be delicate, you really have to work the paneer for a few minutes to get it smooth.”
11. How do I freeze the samosa?
It is a good idea to freeze samosas; it comes out very handy for snacking or parties. The trick is to half fry the samosas before freezing them. Only fry them until samosa’s shell becomes lightly gold. Wait until samosas are at room temperature, and then bag them in zip lock bags. When you are ready to eat, fry on medium heat. Samosas will stay good for 2 to 3 months.
12. Why does dosa stick to my skillet (tawa)?
There are a few reasons why this happens:
- Batter was not creamy enough.
- Skillet was not hot enough, you could check if the skillet is ready by putting a few drops of water on it. Water should sizzle right away.
- Wiping the skillet with a few drops of oil before making the first dosa will help stop the dosa sticking to the skillet.
13. What is the best way to store vegetables?
In order to extend the shelf life of green vegetables like zucchini, cucumbers, squashes, and green beans, wash and dry the vegetables and wrap them in paper towel or put them in paper bags before refrigerating.
14. Why do I use Sooji (samolina flour)?
Many of you ask why I like to use sooji. For many of my recipes I add sooji to add crispness or to give flour a coarse texture.
When I use sooji with all purpose flour (plain flour or maida), it adds crispness and flakiness to dishes like samosa, kachori etc.
I also like to use sooji with basen (gram flour), when a more coarse basen is required. I don’t stock and I don’t expect you to keep or buy coarse basen as it’s rarely required. For example coarse basen is used for basen burfi and boondi ladoo. It’s easier to add sooji to regular basen as a substitute to coarse basen.
For the same reasons I add sooji to whole wheat flour.