5 Interesting Ways To Use Baking Soda To Elevate Your Cooking
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Baking soda is a very common and highly popular pantry staple ingredient that embraces every kitchen with its versatility in its purpose. In kitchens all across the globe, it is paired with baking powder and is profoundly used as a rising agent while baking. It is undoubtedly its primary purpose but the versatility does not end there; it has way more usage beyond just giving airy texture to dishes.

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At its core, baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a chemical leavening agent that reacts with acidic ingredients like buttermilk, yoghurt, or vinegar to produce carbon dioxide gas. Its efficacy in baking has made it a pantry essential for generations, celebrated for its reliability and accessibility. But did you know there are other uses of baking soda in culinary traditions too?

Meat Tenderiser

Baking soda isn't just for baking; it's a versatile meat tenderizer too. Sprinkle a pinch over tough cuts like flank steak or chicken breast to break down proteins and create a tender texture. For marinating, mix baking soda with water to form a paste and rub it onto the meat before letting it sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residue before cooking as usual. Experiment with this simple trick to elevate your culinary skills and enjoy restaurant-quality dishes at home.

Idlis And Dosas

Baking soda adds a unique touch to idlis and dosas, enhancing their texture and flavour. Incorporating a pinch of baking soda into the idli batter results in softer, fluffier idlis, while dosas acquire a crispier edge and a lighter texture. This kitchen hack is perfect for quick fixes when fermentation time is limited, ensuring a delightful breakfast or snack. Remember, moderation is key; a little baking soda goes a long way in transforming these traditional dishes into memorable culinary experiences.

Crispy Pakoras

Crispy pakoras are a delightful way to use baking soda in cooking. Adding just a pinch of baking soda to the gram flour batter can make your pakoras exceptionally light and crispy. The baking soda reacts with the moisture, creating tiny bubbles that give the fritters their signature crunch. Mix your favourite vegetables, like potatoes, onions, or spinach, into the batter, then deep fry until golden brown. 

Cook Pulses Faster

Baking soda can be a game-changer for cooking pulses faster. Add a pinch of soaking water to expedite softening, reducing cooking time significantly. Its alkaline nature breaks down beans' tough outer skins, ensuring a creamy texture without overcooking. Use a teaspoon per cup of dried pulses during the cooking process to tenderise them swiftly. This trick not only saves time but also preserves nutrients by shortening exposure to heat. 

Balancing The Acidity Of Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes can be extremely tangy sometimes and balancing the acidity of canned tomatoes is very crucial. With baking soda, one can open up a plethora of creative culinary possibilities. A pinch of baking soda neutralises the acidity, smoothing out the flavour profile without altering the tomato's essence. Use it in sauces, soups, or stews to achieve a mellow, more balanced taste. This technique enhances dishes like marinara sauce or chilli, where tomatoes are prominent.