Simply Me

Saturday, October 6, 2012

In the kitchen...


Some consider cooking a necessary evil while some consider it the best way to relax. For me, I love cooking assuming I have enough time and a recipe to do it. Obviously, the most important step is gathering the ingredients. I loved going to Big Bazaar with amma in Pune – we used to go every weekend or at least every other weekend (and enough friends have teased me about it. When R had visited, the first thing Sujay asked the next day was... Oh you took him sightseeing, obviously Big Bazaar was sightseeing spot No. 1) and here obviously closest to my home is Royal Meenakshi Mall... an easy 2 KM from home.  So getting back to the ingredients, the sight of all those vegetables and fruits makes my mouth water... And I have found that the cut veggies section is probably the biggest ally when it comes to fast cooking.

In Pune, for all the potluck lunches at office, when I asked amma, how about I make this or make that... and her answer always was... Oh that, that is so simple. It can be made really quickly... and what do you know it REALLY was!!! Cooking hardly ever took more than half an hour whatever be it. But, what the cooking excluded was the cutting of vegetables. Amma would keep everything ready before I woke up and once it came to cooking she’d say, ok put this, put that and zip-zap-zoom, it’s done. I was a little wary about getting the cutting right, but how correct my fear was I was not to know until the first time I cooked independently at home.

Needless to say, my first cooking in Bangalore was a huge question mark right from the point when R asked me, so how do you want these vegetables cut? Making noodles and Manchurian... Now that is a combo I have done so often, I can make it in my sleep (assuming I have the recipe) but really, how fine do I want the vegetables? Umm, thin and long... I said. OK this thin, he asks. Ummm, you can make it a little fatter... Of course when it comes to the cutting, R is an expert and I really should have taken his advice. The veggies took a million years to cook.

But apart from Chinese, most other recipes I have made have a straightforward recipe where amma had dictated – cut babycorn in one inch pieces or break mushroom head and cut in 4 pieces. Simple, right? The other time consuming task is peeling garlic. R and I pick up a nicely cellophane wrapped peeled garlic box along with other vegetables. It’s not that we can’t do it, but why unnecessarily waste, ahem spend energy peeling garlic, right? 

Now tomorrow, we are making Chinese again. We thought of experimenting with some Schezwan noodles, but as luck would have it, no noodles in the market (That is like the strangest thing possible, isn’t it? But it really wasn’t there – spaghetti, macaroni available; but no noodles).  This time, seeing the cut vegetables, I beelined for that – not necessarily because of the cutting but also because we only need so much carrot, capsicum and cabbage for the recipe – why buy the whole kilo of vegetable. Now we still have to cut them up a little finely tomorrow, but it does make life simple.

 I asked R, what he thought about it. Do they have the cut veggies for the ‘busy professional’ or the ‘lazy bum’? He replied, whichever way you look at it, that’s being an entrepreneur. If there is a market for something, there’s someone to make it available. 

 Well, I am not sure which category I fall into, but I’d say, if there are cut vegetables, ‘Majja ni life.’

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posted by Tejaswini Shenoy at 9:40 PM

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