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Archive for the ‘Kitchen’ Category

Knives – kitchen accessories

Posted by Vivek on November 15, 2007

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Wandering into a different territory, we thought of writing a small article of kitchen knives. Indian cuisine somehow never focused on good cutlery and kitchen aids. Most people are happy with say 2 pieces of blade (knife) and try to get all their jobs done with them.


Image Courtesy : harimaent.co.jp

There are a variety of knives out there. Each is meant for a specific task. Here are some of the common types:

  • Bread Knife – Primarily used for cutting whole bread loaf
  • Boning Knife – Used to remove bones from chicken, meat and fish
  • Chef’s Knife – Used for cutting during food preparation
  • Carving Knife – as the name suggests, used to carve large cooked meat
  • Fork Knife – used for barbecue and grilling
  • Meat Cleaver Knife – Used to chop meat, cheese into smaller pieces
  • Small Bread Knife – Used at dining table along with steak knife, fork and spoon
  • Steak Knife – Used to eat Steak
  • Paring Knife – Primarily used for trimming fruits

For the photographs you can refer to the following link – > Types of knives

Depending on the use knives are primarily classified into:

a) sharp knives – used for cutting , peeling etc.

b) blunt knives – used for spreading jam, butter and the like.

And to manage all these knives, we suggest you use a knife holder like the one shown below:

knife stand

Image Courtesy : wilong.com

Hope you liked this article. For more reading on knife from wikipedia, click here

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Microwave oven – Introduction

Posted by Vivek on October 25, 2007

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There was a time when refrigerators (or fridge) and a mixer were the only appliances present in one’s kitchen. This is slowly changing and the latest buzz word in Indian homes is “Microwave Oven”.

It has been there in our market for over a decade now. But with the prices coming down and the buying power of middle class families increasing, everyone wants to own one.

This article is just an introduction to this gadget. We will cover more on the brands, usage guides in the coming days.

To start with, a microwave oven is nothing but a heater which works on the principle of radiation. Inside the device is a small Magnetron which is the source of the microwave radiation. This wave is capable of penetrating solids and cause a heating action which results in food being cooked or heated.


Image Courtesy : http://www.panasonic.co.uk

What does the Microwave do to your food?

When one wants to (re)heat food or cook it, they simply open the door of the microwave and keep in the food inside. Then after closing the door, the select the setting from the available controls which includes time and heat levels.

Soon the microwave buzzes to life and as seen in most microwaves, the turntable inside starts to rotate. Your food is on top of this turning glass plate and it causes an even heating effect.

At the end of the preset time, the microwave stops and usually emits an audible sound for you to know that the cycle is over. That is it. Your food is ready (either heated up or cooked).

You may wonder – is it that simple? Yes it is. But as with lots of devices a microwave has its own share of pros and cons.

Understanding a Microwave

There could be two or more types of microwave ovens in the market. This classification would be based on the operating logic. There are

a) Mechanical switch based Microwave ovens &

b) Digital logic based Microwave ovens.

The former has usually 2 knobs. The timer knob is spring loaded and upon turning to a specific time value (e.g. 1 minute), it slowly starts to unwind to the “0” position mark. The knob is calibrated in such a manner that the time to unwind the spring matches the time marked on the dial.

Similarly we have the temperature setting knob, which is pretty much similar to the load selection knobs on old washing machines. The heat levels of microwave ovens are usually selectable in “watts”.

A more advanced version is the digital microwave where all operations are controlled by touch switches and all the settings are reflected by digital displays.

 Based on the build of the microwave there are again two types:

a) Plastic body microwave and

b) Metal body microwave

What not to do in a Microwave oven

> Never keep anything metallic in nature inside the microwave. You would end up spoiling your microwave as metallic objects cause sparking effect within a microwave oven.

> Do not cook eggs as they can explode within the microwave.

> Do not fill containers to the brim and try to heat or cook them. They will boil over and stain your microwave’s interiors and it would be tough to clean them.

> Do not use too high or too low settings.

> Do not clean your microwave with solvents or acids.

> Do not try to repair it yourself. Always seek a professional help. Microwave is dangerous to humans if exposed for a prolonged period of time.

> Never ever try to put electronic items such as mobile phones inside a microwave to remove moisture. Microwave can cause irreversible damage to silicon chips.

How you can use your device effectively

> Read the manual prior to usage. Unlike other devices, the microwave manual can teach you lot of important details.

> Try reading some microwave cookbooks for new recipes.

> Clean with a soft cloth and mild soap water and keep it aerated to remove food odor.

Quick facts about Microwave

– Commonly used for reheating food and beverages

– Capacity is measured in litres (like refrigerators)

– Heating units are measures in Watts

– Can be used to cook food – but may require a different approach to cooking

– Consumes less oil than traditional cooking

– Nutrients are preserved in microwave cooking

– Not all types of food can be made in microwave. Examples include but are not limited to:

> Items which require deep frying like pappads – exception is Lijjat pappad

> Pizza – which would require a conventional oven

> Cake and other such items

Hope you found this introductory article useful. More on microwaves can be found here from wikipedia.

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Posted in Appliances, Kitchen, microwave, Oven, Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Home items

Posted by Williams on October 23, 2007

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Thought it’ll help us a bit if we were to list down the categories of household appliances that we know of. This will allow you to check whether you have these items with you and whether you need more information on any one in particular.

Am leaving out the personal hygiene/grooming items and furnishing related categories as those deserve to be treated separately. Am also not mentioning the gardening & automobile related items; again, a separate category. Not to forget the electronic items like laptops & cameras, definitely a separate class.

Kitchen items

  1. Cooking ranges
  2. Cooking oils
  3. Cutlery
  4. Hobs
  5. Gas fitting
  6. Electric chimneys
  7. Blenders
  8. Dishwashers
  9. Electric kettles
  10. Coffee makers
  11. Ovens/Toasters
  12. Juicer / Mixer / Grinder
  13. Microwave ovens
  14. Pressure cookers
  15. Grill sandwichers
  16. Water purifiers
  17. Refrigerators
  18. Food processors

Other Items

  1. Irons/kit for ironing
  2. Medicine chest/First Aid Kit
  3. Inverters
  4. Emergency lights/ Torch / Candles
  5. Televisions / Audio systems
  6. Air conditioners
  7. Mini bars
  8. Water dispensers / Bubbletops
  9. Water Heaters/Geysers
  10. Vacuum cleaners /Broom / Mop
  11. Insect repellants
  12. Sewing machines
  13. Washing machines
  14. Washing items – soaps, detergents etc.

Feel free to suggest more items to this list. We would like to have an as comprehensive as possible listing with us.

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MDF boards – User query

Posted by Vivek on October 22, 2007

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One of our readers had asked us the following question:

 “I have also read somewhere that MDF tends to chip off on regular use
and it is not suited for Indian usage. Can you please expand on Modular kitchen.”

MDF board

Image Courtesy : germes-online.com

We thought of expanding on what exactly is MDF.

MDF stands for “Medium-density fibreboard“.

It is an engineered wood somewhat like plywood but different in its composition. While the later is made from wood veneers (slices of wood), which are compressed together, MDF wood is formed by breaking softwood into fibers and then combining the same with resins. The end product is then formed into panels by applying heat and pressure.

Its density is higher than that of plywood.

Benefits of MDF

– Cheaper than wood types like teak

– Does not split

– Maintains consistency thanks to the artificial process of manufacturing

– More flexible due to it’s isotropic and homogeneous nature

Drawbacks of MDF

– Heavier

– Tends to absorb moisture if waterlogged ( swelling and breaking are the after-effects)

– Needs proper sealing

So, we think MDF are to be avoided if the construction is near the water sources or the cooking area. Also we suggest that you use a experienced person to construct the modular kitchen out of MDF boards.

Hope you found this little piece of information handy.

 We will cover more on  the hot topic of “Modular Kitchen” in the coming posts.

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Hob placement in kitchen – User Query – Part 2

Posted by Vivek on October 11, 2007

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We continue from our previous article posted on 5th October , Hob placement in kitchen – User Query .

Last question from that session was:

 Aavaas User

“We are planning to go for an electric chimney.  The reason why we wanted the hob in the east side is because it is easy to place a vent near the outer wall.  This apartment is under construction and i can only send the floor plan of the kitchen yet.  There is still a year for it to be completed.  But what ever changes we need, we are discussing in the initial stage.  Luckily this is a corner flat and there is lot of open space near the kitchen window.  So i don’t want to loose the window.    Even though we can close the window while cooking it would be difficult to install the chimney in the middle of the window.   It will spoil the look.  So we are working out the other options.

I have one more query.  whether to cut out the necessary size from the granite table top and install the hob or to go for our traditional type  gas stove.  In-case there is a problem in the hob later on,, we have to find a similar size or break the granite to fix another one.  All our friends use the traditional gas stove with two burners.  But we wanted a four or burner stove.  i have seen ads for some sleek one in four burner but the size is small and all the four cannot be used effectively at the same time.  ideally the size should be around 90 cm to use all the four without the vessels hitting each other.  is there any thing available in Chennai ?  “


“The option of cutting the granite and installing the hob would be very aesthetic and practical. We have noted that traditional burners kept on the counter top gather a lot of debris from cooking and also make way for pests eventually. This major problem can be eliminated if you chose to flush mount your hob on the granite counter top.

Though we do not have data to tell you if Hobs from different manufacturers would be of the same size, we would recommend you to take the risk. A hob from a reputed brand should not have any issues if you use it properly.

There are too many stores offering kitchen products. Try checking the ones mentioned by Sudarsan in his comment.

Comment can be found here

Aavaas User

” I would like to  thank the aavaas team for the quick response to my
query and also posting the article about electric chimneys. 
I have re designed my kitchen in such a way that the hob still remains
on the east side but does not get affected by the window. 

I was going through your article on Modular kitchens and read the
comment about the durability of modular kitchens.  The material used for the
cabinets and cost of its maintenance.  I came across an article about
this is in http://www.indiwo.com/india/productcomparison/kitchens-home/your-guide-to-modular-kitchens/3338/0

I have also read somewhere that MDF tends to chip off on regular use
and it is not suited for Indian usage.
Can you please expand on Modular kitchen. Though it looks sleek, how
long does it last.  Is the maintenance expensive and also the different
brands in Chennai.  This will be really helpful.”
We request our readers to share their views in the form of comments here.

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