• Question: You wrote that you involve chemistry in your day to day activities (e.g cooking and cleaning) - In which ways do you incorporate chemistry in your day to day life?

    Asked by Kate to Sumit on 11 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: Sumit Konar

      Sumit Konar answered on 11 Mar 2019:

      There is no fun if you only do science in the laboratory. I love cooking and I have been always trying to learn how cooking chemistry works. I leant recipes from different people from different countries.
      I give you one example: I consider myself an expert of cooking Biriyani (a popular Indian rice dish). I tell you the recipe; and you will understand how chemistry is involved in all the step.
      The secret of good food is always to use the right amount of ingredients (exactly like in the laboratory). I buy biryani spices from Indian supermarkets and marinate the chicken overnight with yoghurt and ginger, garlic paste . I am very careful about the amount of chicken and spices used (no more, no less). Marination is important, as spices will go slowly inside the meat. Next day I boil rice and put them on the meat in three layers.Bottom layer will be 70% boiled (as it will be close to pan and will get more heat) and top layer will be 90% boiled. I then sprinkle rose water, Indian ghee anf saffron on the top layer. I close the lid and cook it for 5 min in high heat and next 35 min in medium heat. See , cooking in high heat for 1st 5 min is really important; as you want muscle tissues in the meat to break; but then you need to cook over medium heat so that they do not toughen by overcooking. Cooking is all about chemistry.
      For cleaning I mostly use baking soda and vinegar.