Making Sour Cream at Home | How To Series| Kitchen Hacks

When you love to cook, especially everything from scratch, learning about these small but important things is not only imperative but also gives me a high.

Making Sour Cream at home is just so simple. Just so amazing !! And again costs you one fourth of what you buy from the market.
Homemade Sour Cream stays happy in the refrigerator for a month and it gets thicker and thicker and better and better with time.
Please make sure that both the cream and the buttermilk are at room temperature when you are making sour cream. This is important for best results. If the ingredients are cold, the sour cream will take much longer to thicken or may not thicken properly.
A lot of friends and my readers have been asking how to make sour cream at home. Finally, here it is:

Sour Cream
Ingredients
2 cups or 400 ml Light Cream, at room temperature
2 tbsps cultured Buttermilk, at room temperature
Procedure
1. Place the cream in a medium sized glass bowl.
2. Add the buttermilk and mix well.
3. Cover tightly with cling wrap and keep in a warm place for 24 hours, until thickened to a custard like consistency.I keep it inside my microwave.
4. After 24 hours keep the bowl in the refrigerator for atleast 24 hours before using the sour cream. The sour cream may continue to thicken in the refrigerator.

How To Make Buttermilk 


Take one cup milk at room temperature.
Add 2 tbsp of Vinegar and let it stand for 10 minutes.
Buttermilk is ready. 
Use it for beads, scones, cakes, sour cream etc.

Happy Exploring !!

Homemade Yoghurt | How to series | Kitchen Hacks

Well yes, most of you who would see this post first would wonder what happened to me ?? Especially friends in India. Yoghurt is an intrinsic part of every Indian Household. It is something we take for granted here in India. We have all grown up seeing our mothers setting yoghurt every night for probably as long as I can remember !! Then why am I talking about it here ??

Life is so truly a learning…each and every day. Just recently I learned a new and sure shot way of setting curd. Something I had never known. This especially works well when the weather is cold and the curd refuses to set properly.
The chilli does the trick here.

You will need:

Warm milk to set the yoghurt.
Add the starter – 1 tsp of yoghurt. Mix well.
Drop in a whole green chilli.
Cover and set in a warm place like your oven / microwave.

I also cover my yoghurt dish with a thick cotton blanket.

The curd should be set in about 4 hours time, depending on the weather conditions.

Sundried Tomatoes | How To Series | Kitchen Hacks

Homemade sun dried tomatoes are the best !! And they are so so so easy to make. Not only that, you can also create variations according to your tastes.

So sun dried tomatoes are tomatoes that have lost most of their water content after being dried in the sun for about 4-8 days. After they are dehydrated, they get this very interesting leathery chewy texture with a burst of flavour.

I sundry regular tomatoes as well as cherry tomatoes. They not only add so much flavour and character to pastas but also to salads, especially the cherry sundried tomatoes.
So there are two ways of doing this:

Sun Dried Tomatoes the Natural Way:

1. Chop the tomatoes into wedges or slices.

2. Spread them on a tray.

3. Sprinkle some salt and cover with a muslin cloth.

4. Keep in the sun. Remember to take them inside in the evenings.

5. Repeat this procedure for anything between 4-8 days and your sundried tomatoes are ready.

On the flip side the problems with this method are:

1. Birds can come and ruin the tomatoes.
2. Tomatoes invariable catch fungus.

This works well only when the sun is really really harsh and you live in a place where you get strong direct sunlight for atleast 4 hours a day. With a lot of us living in apartments nowadays, this could get a bit tricky. Plus it is time consuming. If you want you sundried tomatoes for dinner then this is not your method.

Sun Dried Tomatoes in the Oven:

Err….we mean dried tomatoes in the oven or dehydrated tomatoes but doesn’t it so completely lose it’s exoticness instantly the moment we take away sundried. Hence we prepare them in the oven but still call then Sun Dried tomatoes 😀 !!

1. Preheat oven to the lowest temperature setting for 10 minutes, if you use a convection oven, even better.
2. Chop the tomatoes into wedges or slices.
3. Line a baking tray with silver foil, and spread them on it. Sprinkle some salt on them.
4. Place it in the oven in the middle shelf and roast for 3-4 hours.


Now in this process you can do a lot of variations:

– While placing the tomatoes on the baking tray, you could grate some garlic on them, and maybe sprinkle some dried oregano or even tuck in a few sprigs of fresh basil. That is why I said you can create your own variations.


Storing Sun Dried Tomatoes:

You can bottle them with or without olive oil.
Or simply ziplock it and put it in the fridge. You can even freeze them after ziplocking it.
I don’t freeze it because I make small batches, so I only refrigerate it.

Here I have a bottle of sun dried cherry tomatoes.

Happy Drying !!

Pomegranate Molasses | How To Series | Kitchen Hacks


A lot of times baking and even cooking various dishes, from around the world can be challenging especially in India, because of the lack of convenience of finding certain ingredients off the shelves. Either it is difficult to find them or if you find them then they are way too expensive or difficult to source consistently.  

The flip side to this is that we learn how to create these at home !! Isn’t that what love for cooking does to so many of us !! Honestly if I know my results are exact to what I can buy in the market, I anyday want to make a dish from scratch; so making such ingredients at home is only icing on cake :-). A few examples of such ingredients are Sour Cream, Half-n-Half, Tahini, a Carton of Buttermilk, Pomegranate Molasses, Sun Dried Tomatoes etc which are either not available or way too expensive.



I ran into one such issue when I was making Muhammara, a Turkish Dip. Pomegranate Molasses is a key ingredient to muhammara and I could not find it anywhere in my city, but I could not get my heart off this simple turkish accompaniment….I just had to make it at home…so with a little research I learnt how to make Pomegranate Molasses at home and voila…..it worked. Worked beautifully !! 🙂

So here goes the recipe for Pomegranate Molasses:



Ingredients

1 litre Pomegranate Juice (I used packaged juice. If you are using fresh juice increase the sugar content to 1 cup)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Lemon Juice

Directions

1. Pour the pomegranate juice in a pan and set it on high heat. 

2. Add the sugar and keep stirring till the sugar melts.

3. Now add the lemon juice and continue to stir till the juice thickens into an almost jelly like consistency . The moment the juice coats the back of the spoon, turn off the gas. The molasses is ready.Basically that 1 l of juice should reduce to about 350 ml.

4. Let it cool down completely then transfer in a bottle and refrigerate. Use as required. This stays happy in the fridge for many months.


We learn something new everyday !! Cheers !!