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How to boil water , and other simple tips ,to cooking in the time of Corona Quarantine

Caution : This article could possibly save lives. Yours as well as those living with you.
Now that I have your attention, let us begin. In the past few weeks of social distancing, people have had to get self reliant like they have never needed to do before. And with every food delivery, take away, and restaurant in the vicinity closed down, and also cooks and maids being asked not to come to work, we suddenly find ourselves in the kitchen.

Once the least used room in the house, now is a creative outlet as well as an experimental laboratory of sorts. Well, I am here to say that cooking a meal, is as simple or as daunting as boiling water. Thus, today we learn how to boil water , and it should help you prep; breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I guarantee, that with just this article of boiling water for different things, you will survive.
This article is so important, you may want to print it out and stick it on your refrigerator, or on top of your stove top.

How to Boil water for boiled eggs: Take eggs ( from the fridge or from a case), pour cold water into a saucepan, and cover the raw eggs up till 1 inch above the eggs. Now on high heat bring the water to a rolling boil. Rolling boil means the water should be bubbling . cover the saucepan with a lid , and switch off the heat. For soft boiled eggs, keep eggs for 6-7 minutes in the hot water. For hard boiled eggs 8-10 minutes in the hot water. remember the wqater is NOT boiling on the stove for 6 minutes, you have to turn off the stove, and let the eggs just sit in the hot water. after the delegated time, immediately remove the hot water, and pour ice cold water over the eggs to prevent them from overcooking.

How to boil water for tea : Tea is another one filled with multiple versions, and one of the heartening news is , they all kind of taste alright, but here is the most common way. Take cold fresh water, bring to a boil, add tea leaves, shut the heat, close the saucepan with a lid, and let the tea leaves steep in the hot water for 3 minutes. Pour this tea liquid in cups, add hot milk and sugar to taste. (do you see some similarities between making tea and boiling eggs? Both start with cold water, but in eggs we add the eggs right in the beginning, but here we add the tea leaves ONLY AFTER tea comes to a boil )

How to boil water for mashed potatoes: Most important is to have the same sized potatoes. If you have big potatoes cut them to equal pieces as the small potatoes. So that you have the same sized potato pieces. You may peel the potatoes before or after boiling, I prefer to keep the peel on. Add potatoes to cold water, bring to a boil on high heat, and then reduce heat to simmer. And close the pan with a lid. After 15 minutes, pour out the water and keep the lid on the pan and wait for the potatoes to cool on their own.

How to boil water for Pasta : Start with room temperature water, add salt and oil to the water, and bring water to a rolling boil. Once the water comes to a boil, now add the pasta. One hand full for each family member, or 100 gms worth of Pasta per person. Keep the stove on. Stir the pasta around in the salted water so that the pasta doesn’t stick to each other. No need to stir too need to cover the saucepan with a lid.  The oil in the water too will prevent the sticking . after 11 minutes, drain the water out. Add little more oil to the drained pasta to prevent from sticking. The pasta should be Al Dente, meaning having a slight bite to them. Now you can toss the pasta in some herbs, or add a creamy sauce, add to soups , salads . the options are endless.

How to boil water for Maggi noodles: Now, for instant noodles, I have seen a lot of people getting confounded . let’s start with what not to do , don’t add maggi to cold water. first take the EXACT amount of water mentioned on the packet, put on high heat and bring water to a boil, THEN add the instant maggi noodles and the masala once water comes to boil. After adding noodles, turn down the heat to a simmer. Do not close Maggi with a lid , because the water needs to evaporate. But, if you are cooking thicker instant noodles, like the Korean Nongshim Ramen then at this stage, you have to put the lid, because these noodles are inherently slightly soupy.

How to boil water for rice: With rice , especially the absorption method, two things are important; timing and ratio. For long grain white rice use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice, for short grain white rice 1 ¼ cup water for every 1 cup of rice, for brown rice, use1 ¾ cup water for 1 cup rice. Soak any rice for 15 minutes before cooking and throw that water, to reduce the starch in the rice and give fluffy rice. But rice with room temperature recommended amount of water, heat on high heat, once water comes to a boil, put on simmer, and cover with a lid. Do not remove lid for 18 minutes for long grain white rice, 15 minute for short grain rice, and 45 minutes for brown rice.

How to boil water for dal: For dal, I prefer to cook it in a pressure cooker. Wash dal, soak for 10 minutes. Add 2 cups or more of water for every 1 cup of dal. Add salt and turmeric at this stage is optional at this time, but I prefer it. Pressure cooker the dal with water for 15 minutes or two whistles.
How to boil water for khichdi : Khichdi being the national dish, also one of my favourite one pot dishes for the lockdown , I though we could give an advanced boiling routine for khichdi. 1 cup rice , plus 1 cup dal, plus 6 cups of water. So for every cup of grains (rice and dal ) add 3 cups of rice. Now put all of it in a pressure cooker, add salt to taste and turmeric powder, and pressure cook for 20 minutes or 3 whistles. The idea is to have a mushy mix of grains.

And just like that, with the help of a stove top and boiling water , you can now make breakfast ( tea and eggs), lunch ( dal, rice, khichdi) , evening snack ( maggi ) and dinner ( pasta). The Earth provides us with all that we need; like fire, water, and the earth from which most food is got, add a bit of human touch and you are sure to combine, Earth , Fire and Water to make a beautiful alchemy called home cooked food.


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