Tips and tricks / Ingredients

I am creating this page as a handy reference to tips and tricks I have gained throughout my years of cooking. It will be updated from time to time.

Note: I use many Middle Eastern ingredients in my recipes. These ingredients can be purchased from Middle Eastern groceries stores.

How to prepare Cow’s milk yoghurt for cooking: 

For every 25. ml of yoghurt, you need 1 table-spoon of corn flour diluted in 1 to 2 table-spoons of water.

If you are using cow’s milk yoghurt, you need to place the yoghurt in a bowl and whisk it very well until very smooth.

Add corn flour solution to it and stir well to combine. Put yoghurt in pot and bring to boil and then slowly start adding the hot water according to the recipe. Only add 1/2 cup at a time while stirring constantly until all the water is used. You need to take care at this stage and keep on stirring otherwise the yoghurt might separate. Do note that some people like to add an egg to the above method but I find it unnecessary.

Cooking rice absorption method:

If you are cooking basmati rice, use 1 cup water for every cup of rice. If cooking normal long grain or short grain rice, use two cups water for first cup of rice and then only 1 cup water for every cup of rice thereafter. Water should be no more than two centimetres above rice level in pot.

You can always add water if necessary. it is important to reduce heat and keep rice covered after you bring it to the boil. Turn heat off once rice is cooked and cover it with a dry clean tea towel and then place the lid back on top. The towel will absorb all the extra moisture and your rice will stay dry and fluffy until you are ready to serve it.

Hang on to your radishes’ leaves:

Don’t throw away the leaves of radishes, they are packed with goodness, especially for the liver. Chop them and use them in your green salad, or in your juices. Use them within two days of purchase as they tend to go yellow fast.

Hang on to your beetroot’s leaves:

Packed with nutrients and vitamins, the leaves of beetroot are most of the times discarded. A huge mistake as they are so good for us. Keep them and chop them and throw them in with your usual vegetable stir fry , soup or make my recipe: Beetroot leaves stir fry with lemon.


Barberries or “Zereshk” are berries used in Iranian and Afghani cuisines, mostly in rice pilafs. They are rich in vitamin C and have a lovely tangy flavour. I love using them in salads, couscous and freekeh. They keep well in the fridge or the freezer and are sold at Middle Eastern or Iranian grocery stores.
Shown in picture below top right.

Barberries, pinenuts and pistachios

Barberries, pinenuts and pistachios

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