Store nail polish
bottles in the refrigerator to prevent the polish
from drying up.
To get a dry sketch
pen working again, pour three or four drops of hot
water into the sponge tube inside and wait a while.
If grilled doors or
windows start getting rusty, scrape off the rust
carefully and paint the area immediately. You can
also use a metal primer instead of paint.
To remove mud stains
from clothes, soak and wash them in water collected
after boiling potatoes.
To make Aluminium
vessels look good again, rub them with emery paper.
Mere washing can't remove the black stains.
If an onion is too
sharp in taste, wash, drain and toss into some
beaten curd. Add a dash of salt and pepper, it
becomes a tasty raitha.
To bake potatoes
crisp and brown, soak the peeled potatoes in hot
water for a while, pat dry and pierce all over with
a fork before placing them in hot fat along with the
If fish is to be
stored for more than a day, clean it, rub with salt,
turmeric and if liked, a dash of vinegar before
If dried herbs are
used in a recipe, crush them first to release their
Save the peel of
apples, cucumbers and peaches. Grind them and add to
the ingredients of a green chutney (coriander
leaves, green chillies, ginger, coconut, salt and
sugar). It makes a tasty and nutritious chutney and
when mixed with curd makes an unusual raita.
Never scrape burnt
leftovers from casseroles. Soak in a weak solution
of vinegar, salt and soapy warm water for an hour or
so. The stuck particles will come off very easily,
without scratching the dish.
cauliflower in warm salted water for some time to
get rid of the tiny insects sometimes present deep
inside the florets and not visible to the eye.
Adding a little dry
rice to sugar while grinding it, will keep it from
Easiest way to chop
raisins. Sprinkle some flour over them so they don't
stick. Cut with a small kitchen scissors as
Add a few pinches of
turmeric, a small spoon of ghee, to dal before
pressure cooking. This will impart a better flavour
to the dal.
Rub the soles of new
footwear (leather soled) with some sandpaper to keep
from slipping on polished floors.
Cut a small piece of
the base of flower stalks each day, and add a
capsule contents of B complex to the vase water, to
make cut flowers last longer.
Use a knife dipped
in hot water to smoothen the icing surface and
sides. Repeat the action till the whole icing is
Use varied coloured
doughs like green one above, to make shapes (leaves,
cherries, braids, etc.) and deep fry on low till
done. Decorate a variety of festive dishes like
baked casseroles, au gratins, pulaos, etc. with
them. Store in airtight containers for 2-3 days.
Add a pinch of soda
bicarb to the water to boil peas etc. faster and
also to retain their bright green colour.
Use a mixture of
lemon juice and glycerine in equal parts to dip
nails which are brittle and bruised to make them
stronger and shinier. Repeat process regularly if
the case is extreme.
vegetables in airtight plastic containers in the
fridge to keep from browning and drying up.
Add some salt or
vinegar drops while washing vegetables and greens to
make them clean and germ free, eg. cauliflower,
If curds have become
too sour to eat as is, tie as above for 3-4 hours,
add milk and use in raitas, curd rice, etc.
Blow out dirt from
devices of electronic gadgets, carved furniture,
etc., by blowing air in the following way. Use an
empty soft-plastic sauce dispenser bottle with a
nozzle. Press so that the air blowing out will blow
the dirt away.
Place some soda
bicarb open in a small shallow dish in the fridge.
This will disallow odours of one dish mixing into
another. Eg. milk and guavas.
Place a folded cloth
under any vessel which you have to whip in. You will
have a better grip of the vessel since it will not
slip over the worksurface. This holds good while
mixing cake batter, icings, whipping, etc.
Rest assured that
honey can never be adulterated. If warm water is
added, it will ferment. If any type of sugar syrup
is added it will solidify. Also, the older the
Fix candle in a
container. Fill half the container with water before
lighting the candle. This way, the candle lasts
longer and the overflowed wax is easier to remove
from the water. The container becomes easy to clean
Add contents of a
capsule of b complex to the water in your vase to
make the flowers last longer.
To freeze stock of
your choice, eg., tomato, mixed vegetable as above,
spinach, etc., prepare thick stock and cool to room
temperature. Transfer to icecube trays and freeze to
make solid cubes. Remove cubes and transfer to a
freezable polythene bag, with an airseal. Remove
excess air, seal tight. Store in freezer and use
cubes as required.
Make a concentrated
solution of bleaching powder and water. Apply on
stained surfaces and wash basins in a bathroom
(tiles, etc., not metallic), leave overnight. Wash
clean with water next day. Will keep the bathroom
places and crevices in ovens and waffle trays etc.
by using old tootbrushes dipped in soda bi carb.
Then wipe clean with a soft cloth.
Place tomatoes in
hot water for 5-7 minutes, before using for easier
peeling and better taste in any recipe where
tomatoes are required to be cooked.
If pizza sauce (or
gravies) has become very thin, thicken by adding 2
slices of dayold bread, run in a mixie to make very
fine crumbs. Using too much cornflour may make the
sauce taste pasty.
If curd has turned
sour, tie in cloth for a while (1/2-1 hour) remove
in bowl add enough milk to get required consistency,
beat well. The sourness will be gone. Use in raithas,
Rub mustard oil on
palms and soles to bring warmth to a shivering body.
Also use as massage oil for aching joints and
muscles. However, the smell may be a bit repulsive,
so add a few drops of perfume if desired.
Add a pinch of
turmeric powder to the oil before adding green
vegetables. The vegetables will retain their
greenness better even after cooking.
Rub used lemon
halves dipped in salt over greasy pans, and wipe
clean with an old newspaper before washing. This
will remove all the extra grease and make the
washing easier. You may even rub some flour instead.
When carrying many
food packets while travelling, use either
transparent polythene bags or put a name sticker on
each foil pack etc. so that guessing, opening and
searching is avoided. When food is used up, use
these bags to collect your litter on the way.
coarsely and use as nougat over cakes and icecreams.
Use nuts of your choice.
Blanch green leafy
vegetables ( fenugreek, spinach, etc.) in boiling
water for 2 minutes. Hold under cold running water,
press out excess water, store in freezer for about 2
weeks without spoiling.
Shake the vegetables
loose in the plastic bag before thawing, to
distribute the heat evenly.
Use tissue papers
for reheating fried snacks. Eg. samosa, vada,
kachori, bhajji, etc. The paper will absorb the
excess oil and moisture and keep the snack crisp.
Reheat on high for 1-1 1/2 minute.
Place a large bowl
half full of water, microwave on high till it comes
to a boil. Remove and clean oven with a moist cloth,
to remove grime and grease. Clean then as usual with
warm soapy water dipped cloth.
Round or oval
containers will spread heat more evenly in a
microwave oven than square, rectangular or odd
To get the best out
of saffron: Warm saffron before crushing (you may
use microwave: 10 secs on maxi.). Add 1 tsp. warm
milk and stir well.
Make a lovely
potpourri by drying your favourite flowers, herbs
and leaves between layers of paper napkins. Make
sure not do burn them. This may not last as long as
the ones made by the long traditional process.
For apt usage of a
microwave, compliment microwave cooking with
traditional forms. Do the boiling, frying and
seasoning part on a gas stove. While leaving the
baking, sauteeing, cooking, melting, etc. to a
Sometimes oil begins
to foam on heating to deepfry and rises dangerously
in the pan. To dissipate the foam add a marble sized
ball of tamarind to the oil.
To get rid of
dandruff apply the following mixture of once or
twice a week. Keep for 20-25 minutes before washing
off with a mild soap or shampoo. Warm together, 1
tbsp. curds, 2 tsp. oil and 1 tsp. lemon juice.
Soak burnt pans with
a weak solution of domestic ammonia and water. After
an hour rub with used lemon peels dipped in salt.
Wash with soap for a clean, clean pan.
If karanjias are
used after too many days and feel stale, warm them
for 1/2 to 1 minute in the microwave oven before
serving. They will taste freshly fried.
If you cannot get
hold of diwali diyas (lamps), make your own by mould
out of ordinary wheat flour dough, about a week
ahead, dry well and paint.
Don't throw away old
toothbrushes. They form excellent scrubbers for so
many places, eg. crevices in tiles, inlaid
furniture, grooves in vessels, sieves, meshes,
waffle irons, etc.
Do not throw away
unused chillies in vinegar while making a chinese
course. Blend, bottle and use to spice up soups,
Wipe mirrors first
with pieces of moist newspaper and then with dry
newpaper toget a clean, spotless mirror.
Keep is whole
cardamom or clove in the mouth to subside the
sensation of vomitting.
To remove cellotape
stuck on walls, etc ( eg. for posters) without
removing the paint, hold a warm iron over it for a
few seconds, then peel off slowly.
Put a handful of
salt in the rinsing water for glass and crockery for
a cleaner, crystal clear wash.
Add a cupful of
soaked poha to 5 cupfuls of rice soaked for idlis
and grind with the rice for softer and lighter idlis.
Make bread crumbs
from toasts and store some in the fridge. They come
in very hand for thickening gravies, especially if
you've landed up making them extra watery!!!
Always keep some
readymade gingerpaste and garlic paste in the
freezer. Comes in handy and enhances the flavor of
most dishes in a jiffy.
This may sound
funny, but when cutting lots of onions, to avoid
burning of the eyes, if you have swimming goggles
then wear them and cut. This will prevent the eyes
from watering. Subbu Balakrishnan
Keep an extra potato
or two handy. Boil in their jacket, drain dry and
keep in the fridge. Use in a jiffy when you to tired
to make tedious things. Either season with salt and
pepper or put slices in bread sandwiches or fry and
season or make a quick stir fried vegetable. The
potatoes will stay good in a refrigerator for 2-3
When cutting hard
vegetables like potatoes, beetroots or carrots, put
them in the microwave oven before cutting them into
slices. They will be much easier to cut. Subbu
Using earthen or
stone ware for setting curds will result in firmer
and better quality curd. Since they are porous they
absorb the excess moisture.
Just dip a small
clean rag in a teeny bit of any oil (edible too) and
rub on creaky hinges. You will experience quiet
doors and windows in a jiffy!!!
To break open the
coconuts easily (the brown ones..), place them in
the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. This would
seperate the shell easily. Ami B Shah
Rinse white clothes
in water to which some alum powder is added, for
To allow free flow
of sauce from a sauce bottle to a pourer, insert a
drinking straw half way, into the bottle and hold it
there lightly with one hand while pouring with the
Always add a tbsp.
of oil to plenty of water while boiling pasta of any
kind. It will keep them from sticking to each other.
Line the bottoms of
your kitchen cabinet shelves with old newspapers.
Instead of tedious cleaning, just dicard and replace
with fresh ones. Cheap and quick.
Pour a capful of
liquid bleach in a stained commode. Keep for 1/2
hour. Add soap powder and brush, for a sparkle.
If gloves are
inconvenient wear 2 old washed socks while doing
chores which are rude on the hands, like carwashing,
dish-washing, scrubbing, etc.
toothbrushes for quick cleaning of those corner and
grooves which are difficult to clean with larger
brushes. eg. bottles, bathroom corners, tile joints,
engraving on metals, etc.
Place a tsp. of soda
bicarb in a corner of the fridge in a small
crucible. This will keep smells of foods in the
fridge from permeating each other.
Use the water
drained from curdle milk to knead chappati dough.
They will turn out softer and whiter.
Soak jewellery (eg.
silver, copper, gold) in the water drained from
curdled milk for 15 mins. wash them with soap
afterwards. Get back the sparkle in them to look
Apply tamarind paste
and salt for greasy, or copped bottomed or brass
vessels, and wash. They come out much cleaner, and
Dissolve a 1/2 tsp.
of turmeric powder in hald a cup of hot sweetened
milk and drink for relief from cough and cold.
Repeat morning and night for a week.
Make a decoction of
tea leaves, mint, a bit of ginger. Mix in a dash of
honey, sip hot to give relief from chest congestion.
Rub the point of a
bee-bite with soft mud and salt made into a paste.
The swelling will subside soon, as also the poison
will not spread further.
A tsp. each of
ginger juice and honey to be warmed and taken just
before sleeping, to bring relief from severe cough.
Repeat every night for a week.
Sprinkle a mixture
of powdered cardomom and rock sugar (misri) over the
tongue, gums and inner cheeks to get relief from
mouth sores and ulcers. Repeat 3-4 times a day.
A clove and a
cardamom kept in the mouth while travelling, brings
relief to those suffering from motion sickness.
A drop or two of
eucalyptus oil add to water for steam inhalation
gives excellent relief in common colds.
Use the whey (water)
from tied curds to make softer chappati, paratha and
naans. Use this water instead of plain water to
knead the dough.
Always use a clean
pair of kitchen scissors to trim edges of bread.
Much neater and less messy edges as compared to
those trimmed with a knife.
Use a large
semiboiled potato to make a quick flower arrangement
if a flower holder is not available. Push sturdy
stalks of flowers into the potato at the required
angles. Do not keep for more than 2 days. Immerse in
water to which an aspirin is added.
Use the water
strained from the curdled milk (paneer) to soak your
dull silvers for 15-20 minutes. Wash well. They will
shine like new.
Use clean skins of
boiled potatoes to place as a soothing pack over
eyes to refresh and reduce their puffiness.
If there is a lot of
leftover paneer crumbs, dry in a warm oven. Fry till
crisp and store in the fridge. Soften in boiling
water, drain and add to thicken gravies of any
vegetables and curries.
Make tomato puree in
bulk. Transfer to ice cube trays and freeze. Put the
frozen cubes in a thick polythene bag. Store in the
freezer and use reddy puree cubes as required. Will
keep for over 3 weeks in the freezer.
Give a nice big
bright star on your kiddies' room calender every day
that he cleans out his lunch box fully!! See his
Use minimal of
wrappers, foils, etc. which they may litter or make
messy if wrongly handled.
Replace sweets and
candy with a few dry fruits like almonds, etc. for
after lunch munching. So much healthier.
kids' lunch bag with lemonade instead of water once
or twice a week. They'll be thrilled.
Rub a piece of lime
(used) inside the lunch box to get rid of strong
odours (like garlic) before rinsing off.