5 Surprising Ways To Use Baking Soda For Effective Cooking
Image Credit: Encyclopedia Britannica

It is a known fact that baking soda has been used for kitchen cleaning purposes, along with being a leavening agent in baking. From removing stains and odours, baking soda also has many surprising culinary applications that are rather underrated. Here’s a look at some of them:

Tenderising Shrimp

While cooking with shellfish, especially shrimp, soaking it in a solution of salt, baking soda and water results in a juicier inside and crisper outer surface – a phenomenon that works for all kinds of shrimp recipes. Due to its alkaline nature, baking soda speeds up the Maillard reaction, which causes the sugars to caramelise; hence resulting in browning.

Browning Onions

Whether it is for curries and stews, or simply to make a batch of onion jam, adding a quarter teaspoon of baking soda allows for faster browning of onions – a result that can would be yielded with hours of cooking on a regular day. However, it is important to use it sparingly as overusing it might result in unpalatable dishes.

Balancing Acidity

Tomatoes are a wonderous vegetable but inconsistency in flavour can be a characteristic that is easily associated with them. If your tomatoes are too acidic and need some balance in flavour, adding a pinch of baking soda neutralises the acid, giving it a more well-rounded and smooth flavour.

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3 Substitutes For Baking Soda

Spaghetti To Ramen

As one of the lesser-known kitchen wizardry tricks, adding some baking soda to a pot of boiling water before the pasta goes in, can give you a bouncy chew similar to what you expect from ramen noodles. Although it might not give you the same flavour or actual texture of ramen, this culinary conversion is great to keep handy for emergencies when ramen cravings hit and your pantry has a box of pasta lying around.

Softer Beans

Image Credits: Vidar Bergum

One of the most common cooking applications for baking soda is its ability to breakdown protein fibres present in pulses like chickpeas and kidney beans, resulting in a creamy soft texture for the beans when cooked. Soaking the chickpeas in baking soda as well as adding it to the cooking liquid is ideal for when you’re making recipes like hummus or a pot of rajma.