April 9, 2007


I am killing two birds with one stone by posting "Kitchen Safety Moments" event hosted by Jyotsna of "Curry Bazaar" and posting some kitchen tips with a recipe for "MCT-Tipology" event hosted by Sushma of "Recipe Source".

Thank you Jyotsna and Sushma for hosting these events for April!:)(Late news!J doesn't have this event in April,so if she ever does a "Kitchen Tools" theme,this would be my entry to that again!:D)

Safety tips about the knives:
Most injuries in the kitchen are caused by knives.Let me start with some precaution we must take dealing with knives we all have in the kitchen.Most of us have more than one knife in our kitchen of course as we routinely cut,chop,slice etc.It's very important first of all to keep them away from the children on a high platform on the back of the kitchen counter so kids can not reach them or pull them on to themselves.
It's better to buy one or two expensive Knives with heavy handles for balance and with steel blades which lasts a long time and also keeps sharp.It is best to have a wooden block like below to store the knives of various sizes and lengths to keep them safe and tucked away.This block also keeps the sharp edges of knives cushioned inside so they don't get dull.

A wooden block to store Knives:

A handy Knife Sharpener:

You do need to buy a grinding wheel to keep your knives sharp.Do not use any other things or way to sharpen the knives.A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp edged knife,as a dull knife may slip as you struggle to cut with it and injure your hands and fingers.

A non-slip rubber backed chopping block or board:

Keep two separate cutting board for vegetables and meat,never cut on the same board to keep E Coli and Salmonella bacterias at bay.Always wash boards in hot soapy water,dry upright.Keep the knife's edge AWAY from you when chopping and when you are not using it.

If you have just one or two knives,store it in a drawer separately and do not reach for the top but take them out by the handle.

Use a serrated edged knife for cutting soft vegetables or fruits like Tomatoes and ripe fruits so you get a good grip on the smooth skins.Plain edges blades could slip on the skin and injure you.

Use a bread knife to slice bread or moist cakes so you don't misshapen them while slicing.Bread knives are made to slice neat and precise.NEVER put knives in the dishwasher.

Hand wash them with just some warm soapy water and wipe clean.Always use proper knives like paring knife for paring,chef's and Utility knives for chopping, bread slicer and do not use them as screw driver or can opener!Use a Potato peeler for peeling vegetable skins like Turnips,Beets and even carrots rather than knives.

This is my new toy.It's called Fresh prep "chop and mince" to mince veggies in the bowl itself,great for chopping Garlic without touching them.Another great idea is to use Kitchen scissors to chop herbs right into the dish and use scissors to cut slippery meat instead of knife.

Finally, how many knives do I have ,did you ask? More than 12 but only use 3 of those most of the time.My advice to you is don't be like me, buy only what you NEED! I also have a big meat cleaver to warn Arvind not to mess with me!! ;D

That's it from me for Knives safety in the kitchen.I am sure there are much more than these and I hope to see those at the round up of this event.Thank you J!!:)

Some kitchen tips for Sushma's Tipology along with a simple Dill Sambhar recipe!

These are the few kitchen tips I can give you about cooking dal drawn from my own experiences:

Whenever I cook any kind of dal directly in a pressure pan like Tuar dal or in a microwave like Masoor dal or Moong dal,I always add 1 tsp oil with water to prevent it from frothing and spillng all over or even blocking cooker vent which could be dangerous.Add a 1/4 tsp of turmeric too in the dal to give it a nice color and flavor.

1. I cook double the amount of dal and save half for another day to make my life easier and save some time!:D
2. If I am planning to cook the saved dal within two days I keep it in the fridge, otherwise I freeze it in a Zip lock bag.
3. Always wash the dal once and drain before you cook.If there is too much dal water after cooking,save it and use it as stock with other vegetables.
4. Adding one or two green chillies and few fresh curry leaves when pressure cooking dal gives it a nice flavor and irresistible aroma.
5. Never add salt or any tangy veggies like mangoes or Radish or sour greens with dal to cook.I have always found the dal undercooked or not soft enough to mash later.Cook them separately and then mix together.
6.Tuar dal is tougher to cook in the microwave than Masoor(red lentils) or Moong dal.
Once you add the spice powder like Rasam pd etc,do not boil the dal for a long time,it loses it's flavor.Add 1 tsp ghee to the dal after you take it off of the heat for the best flavor.
7. Dal always tastes good a day after when you let the flavor mingle for a while.
8. Last but not least,adding fresh grated or ground ginger is okay to some dals while it's cooking but not fresh garlic!I always saute Garlic in oil/butter/Tadka first before adding.I personally don't like the flavor of raw garlic in the dal, but tastes great when sauteed first!
Phew!! I thought I didn't have any tips and Sushma told me " No no Asha,you do have plenty" and she is right!:D

Dill Sambhar:

How to make Dill Sambhar/dal:
1. Cook 1 cup Tuar dal with about 3 cups of water,1/4 tsp turmeric,1 tsp oil until soft and mash until smooth.Add 1 bunch cleaned of hard stems and chopped fresh Dill leaves to the dal along with pinch of hing(Asafoetida)and keep it aside.
2. Heat 1 tbsp Canola oil,add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds,1 tsp cumin seeds,few curry leaves,1 red chili,then fry 1/2 onion minced.When reddish,add 2 minced garlic.
3. Add dal mixture,2 tsp tamarind juice,salt, 1 tomato or 1/2 cup tomato sauce and simmer.After 2 mins,add ground Sambhar masala pd and simmer for 2 more mins and take off the heat.Add 1 tsp ghee and mix.

Sambhar masala: Lightly toast 1 tbsp Coriander seeds,1/2 tsp Methi(Fenugreek)seeds, 2-3 dry red chillies,1" Dalchini(Cinnamon),2 cloves,4-6 Peppercorns and powder when cooled.

Note: No need to add Cilantro if there is any other type of greens in the dal.If it's just dal and veggies,you can add some.

Well..that's it this time around!:)


USHA said...

Hi Ashaji,

That was really very very informative post..with delicious dill sambar.
Excellent explanation of variety of knives...purpose too

Coffee said...

Thats it???!!!!!! is that really IT???!!!! Thats so much more than IT!!!!!!!!!! ASHA, where are your feet??? I must bow and touch them right now!!!!! You are one lady with some energy !!!!! When I am as old as you..... I wish to have all the energy you have right now !!!:)

I have book marked this post !!! :)

J said...

Hey Asha! I didn't know you had such a long post on knives alone!!! Very informative! And well written article. Seeing those pics of your knives, no one will dare mess with you!!!!!!!!! :))) I'll add this link to my existing post as I feel it is relevant. Also there won't be a safety moment in April, only in May.

FH said...

Thank you Usha.Dill sambhar is tasty ,hope you try:) Careful with the knives!

You are crazy Coffee!!HAHAHA!!!!Give me hug instead woman!!!
The minute I see your comment I start smiling!You are a kind blogger!:))
I thought there is a event ,but J tells me there is none.Dang!!!:D
Oh well..it's informative,Sushma could use it as well.
Thank you Coffee.We are taking a break this month's MBP,right?

J,you can do that,didn't know!:)
I just checked,May is Kids safety in the Kitchen by Meeta.I will contribute.Sushma could use this for her event,so problem:))
Thanks J! Don't mess with me,you are right!!;D

Sig said...

Asha, wow, amazing post :). I used to have about 25 knives before, but after we moved last time threw out everything and bought just 6 good knives, life is much simpler now. love your chop and mince scissors, need to buy that one. Hope you had a relaxing weekend...

Mishmash ! said...

AN experienced hand like you should be having so many tips to share with us and Sushma was right :) Guess what i have a set of knives which i dont use at all, that exceeds ur number and always wonder what i will do with all that, any tips for that ?;) just kidding :)


FH said...

Hi Sig,you both are worse than e.I have learned my lesson ,now I just avoid going to that isle.Besides,I have 3 of my fav knives now which I use most,so no more!;D
Yup,blog roll free weekends are really working,I enjoy the free time!:)

Hi shn,I know!!;D I thought I don't have any tips,what do I do fir event?!Then it just started pouring as I wrote!;P

You know,you can give them to Good will.Lot of low income ppl shop there and buy them for few dollars while Good Will use that money on the poor! Every year,I clean the whole house and give sackfuls of stuff to them.Why throw it away if they usable? Just a tip!:0

Anonymous said...

Ashaji, the info on daal was really good since I make daal everyday - never tried cooking any type of daal in MW.

Just read your post on Khandavi - sounds easy but I bet it isnt ! I love khandavi and will try it untill I get perfect, what say ??

Seema Bhat said...

Good tips about safety tipes. I gottu get a good knife sharpener. Do you suggest any brand for this. Thanx for sharing the tip to prevent dal from frothing. 1 tsp of oil would do the magic. This is going to be very useful for me.

Sharmi said...

Hi Asha,
those tips are surely very informative and nice. the pic of the dill sambar looks so good.


Anonymous said...

Lots of good advice from The Aroma Kitchen, Asha! And that dill sambhar has got me wishing I had a bunch in the house right now! Yum, YUM :)

Coffee said...

<<>> (that was the sign me and my hubby used to use before marriage - to hug, when we would sms each other ;) )

I thought of a break for one month since so many events are on..... don't want to stress out everyone :) Will be back in may :)

Pooja said...

such an informative post.
if there is nay graduation in the cource of kitchen safely , , i think you must be the head of department. :)
really loved the post. some of the technique here i have leanrned by doing mistakes for once or more, it would have been nice if i have got this b4 2 years. well, you saved me from doing many more mistakes.... a real good post for safety moments.
we have so much to know from you ...:)
btw, just posted some snaps on blog. check out when you get free. now trying my hand on photography... let cooking be at side for some time :)) .

Sia said...

just 12 knives? he he he... i have only 3 and use all 3;) and one big knief for same reason as u have;) one LONG post on knives itself...~bow~ but franlky speaking its very informative for ppl like me who are walking dissasters:)
how was ur long weekend? hope u did get some time to relax. we went to chester. trafford center n cheshire oaks for shopping and shopped like crazy:) will mail u abt it later:)

Deepak Gopi said...

shape of the third knife is quite interesting.Do you know which is the favorite one in the Knife set ? the peeler :):):)

sunita said...

Asha...that is quite a lot of info...all gathered down the years , I presume...as for knives, I've got just four of them and I think they're enough...loved the sambhar recipe...thanks a ton for all of them...

FH said...

Hi Abha,except Tuar dal,you can microwave all the other dals.Tuar is tough to cook in MW!
Khandvi was easy,not that hard at all as it seems.Try it!:))

Seema,one I have is 'Kitchen Devils",works well with domestic knives.Don't buy one of those metal thing you sharpen the knife,good for chefs not for us!:D
I used to cook dal without oil,it would froth,spill over and dry bottom of cooker is so dangerous!Then one day,I added a tsp oil, and lo behold! No problems,it cooked very nicely!Try it.

You are welcome Sharmi.Good tips which is learnt by mistakes are hard to come by.Sushma did a good thing about tips.We get to learn so many from others.Enjoy:)

FH said...

Thanks Linda,I am sure I can learn much more from you!:)
Dill sambhar is even tastier the next day.Hope you try.

Coffee,that's so sweet!Secret hugs so parents can't know,eh? Very clever!;D
I like your event but yeah!Take a break and come up with a good one in May!Everybody into events these days,so many so little time!:))

FH said...

HAHAHA!! Pooja,I would give a A+ in a jiffy! We all have to learn by our mistakes,that's life.I accidentally have learnt some tricks and tips too!:))I will check your blog later today.It's 8am now,got to send the kids to school first:)

Hi Sia,that's where you were!Trafford center ,I have been there,I think I have a photo too somewhere!Good for you.Arvind was on call all 3days,so didn't do anything except the usual shopping.Kids had 10 days off and started school on Monday:)
You are smarter than me!I see a good lokking knife and buy it,then realize my knife was better!!I know it's stupid,but I have learnt not to give in now!:)See you later.

FH said...

Hi Deepak,that knife slices the bread like a dream!:))It's perfect,other than that you can't do anything else with that!I love peeler too,a great tool for getting the peel off of most veggies:)

4-5 knives are more than enough Sunita!:) I just collect multiple of everything,like I have 5 blenders and two mini choppers!!!Craaazy!!:D
Try the sambhar,it's really tasty:)

Richa said...

hi asaa aka the knife collector ;-)

I do have a couple of good knives and one special for cutting pineapples, that is from chicago cutlery. I used to avoid cutting pineapples before i got that, now it's a breeze.
wow what a compilation of tips, will be very useful to everyone, thanks.

FH said...

HAHAHA!! Richa,that was funny!I am collector of everything it seems!;D

I do like specialty knives like the one you said,they make certain jobs easy!:))

I love Oneida and Chicago cutlery as well!

Bong Mom said...

Asha -- Amazing post on those knives. I really need that info. Maybe you should tell me what different knives to be used for what. I like the one to chop veggies in the bowl

Pravs said...

I just have 4 knives at home and i feel that itself is too much. Chop & mince scissors will be very handy for me. Thanks for the wonderful tips.

FH said...

Sandeepa, I love that curved knife for slicing bread,serrated for chopping Tomatoes,5" utility knife for chopping small veggies,8" Chef's knife for large veggies:)
Meat cleaver is for meat to cut bones etc.I use scissors to chop herbs and to cut half frozen meat,it's easier than struggling with soft meat!:)

Hi Pravs,you are welcome.4-5 knives are more than enough!I just keep buying bcos it looks good in the store!;D

Anonymous said...

BigS! I have missed so much on Aroma! I have been on the hunt for a good recipe for Khandvi and my search ends here!
I love my set of knives too, though I barely use 2 or 3. My husbands loves the chef knife and I heard him say one day 'If something happens to this knife someday, I will surely miss it a lot'! I have never heard him say anything in those lines for me ever:))
Good dal tips too. And that reminds....I have sent my Bread tips to Sushma. I am not sure about the kofta. Though originally Middle Eastern, my recipe is purely Indian. And the event is all about Middle Eastern recipies. I have sent a mail to Meeta anyway, asking her if it is ok. Thanks and please please dont stop reminding me. I can never keep track of these events and I usually never post keeping an event in mind. Phew! long comment. I could have as well written this as a post on my space and sent you a link! Will look out for more yummies in FH tomorrow.

FH said...

HAHAHA!! Hema,these husbands will never say that about us unless we are not around anymore!:D
Koftas came to India from Arab world anyway.I saw lot of Kofta recipes sent to her,so I am sure she will add it.I will remind you about events,don't worry!:)
Tamil dish for RCI and a greens dish for JFI are due 25th and 30th this month!Start cooking:)
Try Khandvi ,it's yummy!:)

Anonymous said...

Kofta Accepted!

FH said...

Told ya!!!!;D

Start cooking Tamil dishes and Greens now!

Kajal said...

Hi Asha,
Good tips for kitchen safety. Very nicely explain of all kitchen items.
But it is danger to come at your home you have so many type of knives.
Sourly no thief is coming at your home.
Dill sambhar is very nice recipe. I will try it.
Vinita is some problem to comment you. She says me in my comments.
Please check it.
Thanks for sharing.:)

KF said...

Informative!You explained all in a good way.I liked all..Thank U dear.

Anonymous said...

The ideas are very useful to a person who cooks irrespective of the gender. May i add some more food items. If yes please confirm to my e-mail anandnagar2005@yahoo.co.in.

PUSHPA, Hyderabad, India

FH said...

Hahaha! Thanks Kajal,you can come to my house,I promise I won't hurt you!;D
Hope you try the Sambhar,it's tasty.I saw Vinita's comment at FH yesterday,it's working!:)

Hi KF.thanks.I enjoyed this post very much.Gald you all liked it as well:)

Hi Pushpa,welcome to Aroma:))
Thanks,it's true.Many men cook these days,sometimes better than us!:D
I will e mail you later,love to have some Hyderbadi dishes:)

sunita said...

I want some of that chutney on my toast now...well maybe not now, it's afternoon here...but morning would be really nice...

FH said...

Hi Sunita,you can have it any time you want.It's yummy,smells and taste like apple pie!:)

Anonymous said...

Dear Asha,

I had been out of town for a week so saw your post today...And they are so precious tips....see I told you "You sure have lots of tips"....We all know how great a cook you are...Thanxs so much Asha for these lovely tips..I am sure they would definitely come very useful in my cooking...


FH said...

Hi Sushma,good to see you back:))
Hope you got e mail for this entry.Thanks for reminding me that I do have tips!I am thinking of tips for next month already!It's great event,can't wait for the round up:)

Foodlovers said...

Hi Asha,
I have visited your other blog...not this one..just came across & liked it very much....
Good info on Knifes & there use , Have to see this chpe & mince knife...
i too cook the dal the same way you do...store for next day...its really helpful....
I love Kadhi will try this week ...
Would love to come back here...
Food Lover

SJ said...

Thanks for all the info - others before me have already commented on everythign iw anted to say :-). Though asuper thanks for the tip of 1 tsp oil while boiling daal. I have this problem quite often and will try it next time I make daal.

Unknown said...

Nice knife post Asha! I have some 15 knives too, and i do use most of them, and they are safely tucked away into the knife block...no kids so far at home so I do carelessly leave them around sometimes...

I liked your Dal tips too - i must say you are so TIRELESS - and I'll give you a hug instead (saw your reply to coffee LOLLLLLLLLLLLL

FH said...

HeHe!! Thanks N for the hug and for reading my comments at Coffee!

You use all 15!! Good for you.I probably use at least 5 knives regularly,rest of them are just a waste of space!Hope you had a great weekend:))

Anonymous said...

Asalamu alaikum
ashaji,,my wife is young 18 nd poor in coking.but she loves cooking.right now she is in india.when i read ur marvellous article it reminded me of my wife,,bout what she always wanted to be like u.....the xpert.i want her to learn all my favourite dishes,,like koftonn ka salen,,,,,faluda,,mirchiyon ka saalen,,malai kofta,,,morgey mussallam,,,,palek paneer nd lots more if u can help both of us me nd my wife then pls reply me..thanx lot 4 help

FH said...

Salaam Bhai,
18 yrs old!!She is young but she will learn quickly if you encourage her with your kindness!:)
I will definitely try to post all of them if asked for but will take time though.I have Mirchi Salan and Malai Kofta already,go to my recipe Index to find them.You can add meat to the same sauce if it is vegetarian.
I will cook the rest some time later.Keep checking the Foodies hope blog too rather than this blog.
Thanks and leave your first name next time so I will know who you are:)

Melvz said...

You have a very nice blog. You're very keen in details. If your looking for the appropriate kitchen knife? I've created an informative site about kitchen cutlery which has more than 500 classified sites. My ambition is to deliver the info. you looking for in 2 clicks.

FH said...

Thank you M and L. I do me best. I have too many knives already but I will check out that site, thanks for the info!:))

Raaga said...

Ashakka: Please check this: http://recipeshere.blogspot.com/2009/03/sambhar.html