Party Planning Tips
The best parties are those that are planned meticulously in advance. Try out the following tips to make your event a gala affair.
Menu Planning : While planning a menu-combine into your menu a rice dish, an entree (main dish)& a salad or raita. You may include parathas too. A good menu should generally cater to the sweet and spicy tastes, say when your main dish is spicy, choose a raita that is sweet. this way you can ensure that your guests don`t end up eating only spicy or only sweet food. Also never make just one dish. If that one dish fails to appease your guests taste buds, they`ll go home hungry.
Keeping Greens Fresh: Leafy vegetables die within a couple of days even when kept in refrigerator. To keep them fresh for a longer period of time, clean & wrap them in paper. Refrigerate this bundle and the vegetables will remain fresh for a longer time.
Prepare a list of the things you need to do and prioritize. This will include shopping for ingredients and special items.
Keeping the work area clean : Work in a clean and uncluttered space. This will help you organize your thoughts better. It may mean clearing up the counter and table top space but it
will be worth it.
Reading cooking steps ahead of time : Many a times reading the recipe and familiarizing yourself with the cooking method is a great way of starting out.
Following the recipe to the T : Try a recipe once, the way it is recommended the first time. Make changes as you see fit the next time, this way you can taste the recipe as it was meant to be cooked.
Pre-tasting a recipe : Try to taste the recipe in a restaurant as you will have some idea of how it should taste.
Jotting down "Unusual items" : Make a list of the "special" or "unusual" items to your regular grocery list. Keep this list on your refrigerator as you plan your menu.
Shopping ahead : Shop for all ingredients and items needed the week before.
Fermentation of Dosa batter : If you live in a centrally air conditioned flat and want to make dosas, keep the dosa batter overnight in the microwave (switched off, of course), as the interior of the microwave will be warmer than the rest of the house. Also, a pinch of sugar into the batter gives a lovely brown color to the dosa.
Decorative Biryani Rice : While making Veg/Non-Veg Biryani, you can cook rice earlier, cool it and divide it into 3 portions - make each of a different color e.g Indian tricolor - coriander or palak rice can be bottom layer, then the biryani gravy with some nuts, middle layer white rice, then again biryani gravy with some nuts and the top layer can be kesar rice which will give the saffron color. It really looks very decorative and adds flavor to the dish.
To make soft tomatoes regain their hardness, put them in cold water to which a litre of salt is added. The tomatoes will turn hard in 10 mins.
Ginger Garlic Paste Freshness : Mix a pinch of salt to the Ginger/Garlic paste and refrigerate it for a fresh cooking . Paste will last longer and fresh for months.
Pre-prepare Ginger & Garlic paste : When you have free time, use it to prepare a bottle of ginger garlic paste, which can be used to be used later while cooking.
Making tasty Dosa: To make tasty dosas and idlis add a tsp of methi (fenugreek)seeds with the rice and dal when soaking.
Freezing Fresh Ginger : Then you buy fresh ginger, freeze it. When you need to use it use a cheese grater to get required amount u need, put rest back in freezer.
Pre-Preparing Masalas: Pre-Prepare most of your "masalas" ahead of time.
Defrosting First: First things first....Defrost the frozen foods first, then go on to doing the other cooking.
Safe Defrosting: Defrost sealed frozen food in the refrigerator on a plate instead of on your kitchen counter to prevent bacteria.
Prepare portions of a meal in advance: If there is a masala or paste or chopping of nuts that you can do a day ahead, do so as it will reduce the cooking time.
Methi pre-prepare for future use: If you are a fan of fresh methi (fenugreek leaves) then on a weekend you can clean them up and place the methi in a freezer ziploc bag and freeze it. It can be stored for months. You can use this to make a quick methi aloo accompanied with some sweet raita at time of emergency .
Crispy Samosas:To make crispy samosas add 1 tsp of rice flour to 1 cup of maida.
Crispy Pakoras: For crispy pakoras add little hot oil in the batter before frying.
Browning Onions: Add a little salt, onions become brown faster.
Quickly cooking half cooked rice: When you find that the rice which you are going to serve is not fully cooked, and you cannot add water again then ... add a small quantity of milk to it and steam it for some time the rice becomes soft without becoming smudgy.
Frying Fish: Put in a pinch of salt in the oil before frying a fish. The fish will not get stuck to the frying pan.
Frying: Always fry on a low or medium flame for even cooking.
Double or triple the recipe: if you are making an exclusive dish. This way you can divide it up and save some for another meal.
Cook a day ahead: Many Indian dishes can be made ahead of time. Store the food in Ziploc bags or your serving containers. In fact some of the dishes taste better the next day. For Example: Biryani. Use the double-bag ziploc freezer bags as they are frost resistant.
Store extra servings: Use Ziploc freezer boxes and bags.
Storing leftover rice: Rice is best stored in containers that can be re-heated.
Handy Dishtowel: Pull a dishtowel or rag partially through the belt loop on your jeans/sari. The towel is handy to wipe your hands on at any time, and you don`t have to keep looking for one when you need it most.
Ingredient Readiness: While cooking a dish, have all the ingredients on the counter top so that you don`t miss out on any of the ingredients.
Keeping the cooker clean: To keep the inside of the cooker clean place a lemon piece in the cooker while using.
Cleaning Turmeric Stains : Clean the turmeric stained area with few drops of lime juice.The acidic content will clear the surface.
Stained Coffee pot: You can clean the inner sides of the stained coffee pot with the egg shells. (dont throw away the boiled eggs shell). Be careful when you are cleaning.
Keeping cooking range clean: Put a Aluminium Foil on the Cooking Range top so that if there are any spills while cooking, it can be easily cleaned by simply replacing the foil.
Cleaning of Ginger: Ginger can be soaked over night and next day morning clean it with a tooth brush (with a tooth brush you can clean each and every corner) blend it and keep it in the fridge. this can be used anytime.
Assigning everyone tasks: If there are others in your house hold assign each person a specific task for the clean up. For example picking up the dishes or putting away the left overs or cleaning the table etc.
Individual servings for later: Store the left over in individual containers for future use.
Removing Ink stains: If you want to remove an "ink stain" you should wash it with unboiled milk.
Clearing a clogged sink : Clogged sinks can be unclogged in an hour when a cup of hot water mixed with a tablespoon of white vinegar and a teaspoon or two of baking soda is poured into the sink.