This is a humble attempt at writing Food Memoirs and some, mostly dramatized for the effect. Since my Cookbook project is on hold for a while, I couldn't give up the wish to write something on the lines of a food memoir. I tend to take advantage of my poetic license and twist an incident to suit the story.
"In trail of a spice!"- typically symbolizes the eternal trail after something in life. In pursuit of something that always seem to elude one. And without spice, there is no zing in life. In essence "In trail of a spice!" is the characters' journey through their life, trying to find their own meaning in this walk of life.
These are reflections of every day drama of ordinary people leading extraordinary life. They are here to share their passion, laughs, the highs and lows that life takes them through.
It's about Maya and Dev and their three children and their extended family, their memories of childhood with its laughter, the joy, the sorrow and their memories of pet dogs.
Disclaimer: This is purely a work of fiction, based scantly on real incidents. After all our everyday life is always full of inspiration for a work of art.
The sudden sizzling on the pan, made her look up. The pan was getting hot, and she was busy chopping the onions. Her husband Dev was musing over the turn of events during his evening meeting. He can get quite amused at things that are funny in his books. But her husband's animated talk can wait, while she makes sure she meets the challenge he threw at her. She can never say no to a challenge.
He was supposed to eat at the meeting. He left because he couldn't stomach the sight of his fellow attendees, piling up samosas with ice cream, then drinking tea, coffee and then on top went ahead with pastries. He walked out hoping none see him leave. In his haste to leave, he didn't call to inform he will be home for dinner. Half past nine is not exactly a time for binge nor any innovative cooking.
Stepping in, he saw the kids having a riot and the wife trying to get some work done midst it. One look at him, Maya knew he didn't have his dinner, but he was reluctant to get her working at that time. Said fifteen minutes was the max he can wait, so Maya took it up as a challenge to give him a meal in exactly that time. She had almost settled to a no work night, with the kids eating their favorite Maggi and MIL eating the leftovers from the afternoon meal. Still rustling a quick dinner was not a big task.
She set the pan on the stove and went about getting other things she needed. Kids would occasionally peep in to see what their parents were doing. They were always curious and never let the parents alone for a moment.
Dev said he was fine with some eggs tossed around with spices. Maya remembered the Egg Burji, from her childhood. A more simpler dish you can't really get, with just onions, eggs and some spices and you have the most tantazling dish ready! It's funny she has never made that in years. In the early years of marriage, when she first started cooking, it was one of the dishes she offered to cook for him. He refused saying he got aversion to it. So it was never made at home, which is a crime, because her kids will never have the same memories as she has of that dish.
So she was not making Anday ki Burji, but rather Anday Ki Sukhi Subji or what she christen as Dry Egg Masala. After all a dish needs to have a name right!
She interrupted him in between to remind him that she was meeting her school friends the next day for lunch. She was excited about the meet. Couple of them whom she is going to meet after 18 years, while she met couple of them a year ago. Even as she was telling him, she remembered the time she finally met them last year. They were no longer in their mid 30s. It felt they were back in their early teens, remembering the hungamma they had, the masti, fun filled life they led. It felt strange to suddenly see their kids coming to interrupt their talks.
With all these thoughts running around in her mind, she was concentrating on the task at hand. She has to make chapatis and the subji and a wandering mind is not really suitable for that.
Step by Step picture Recipe
She quickly set about doing the steps as fast as she could. Her stove with four burners is a real boon. Most times all 3 will be used. It always helps to have few things ready at hand to prepare quick meals and she makes sure she has them ready.
With the expertise she has over making quick meals in the morning, she took the took the eggs and put them in a pan to boil. Covered with a lid to make sure the water starts boiling quickly. This takes about 10 mins to get the little over hard boiled eggs.
On the second burner was the non stick pan for the subji, she added a tsp of oil, then she quickly added one big onions that were roughly chopped, julienne are perfectly fine. They give the curry a distinct classy look. Simmer for couple mins.
Next comes the atta for making the dough for the rotis. Take a cup of atta in a bowl. Add salt.
Increase the flame of the pan to high, keep sauteing. Add half a tsp of ginger garlic paste and mix well. This is where your ready to use homemade ginger garlic paste
comes handy, she thought!
Keep stirring so that the onions are nicely coated with the ginger garlic paste. Keep cooking on high, stirring every other min. Onions will have to have that slightly burnt look. But she was making sure not to burn it more than required.
While it's getting done, take two medium sized tomatoes, chop them roughly again. Add to the sizzling pan along with turmeric and salt. Toss everything together and let it cook. Let it turn muchy.
Add chili powder, coriander powder, mix everything. This takes about 5 mins. At this stage she simmered the flame and covered it with lid.
She knew that the masala might get burnt at this stage when cooking on high flame, so she sprinkled some water and continued stirring.
Then she placed the tawa for cooking the rotis on the third burner. To the atta in the bowl, she slowly added water and kneaded to a soft dough.
Next couple of minutes were shift with the board and rolling pin coming out. Divide the dough into two balls, dust with flour and roll them out.
She can always make perfect circles even from a triangle folded rotis, but she always says if you can't, it's fine. It's a chance to learn geography again.
She greased the tawa with oil, and on it went the rolled out rotis.
At this point, she checked on the subji, the spices must have all blended so well into the onions and tomatoes.
She saw that the eggs are done, so she peeled and kept it ready.
Having an eye on the tawa, she saw the roti puffing up. Flipped it to the other side and oiled it again. Roll out the other chapati and keep it ready. Simmer the tawa again.
She saw that the subji is all done, so increased the flame to high. She kept stirring to make sure all the moisture gets evaporated. As a final touch she added garam masala.
She thought now comes the fun part, Dev was looking at her as she quickly chopped the eggs horizontally into four pieces, added them to the pan.
She gently tossed everything together, making sure that the yellow is not completely mixed up. But she knew doing this part of the yellow tends to get mixed up with the masala and that gives this a different taste all together!
Ok there can't be a subji complete without fresh coriander leaves added. so in those went in. She has them all cleaned and stocked anyways
Then she turned to have the second roti also cooked. It was well within the time by the time she took out his plate and had this served.
She told him that this is a dry dish with the masala all clinging to the egg, but the burst of flavours that happen because of the slightly burnt onions, spicy masala makes up all.
He was really impressed with the taste and had the kids sit with him on the floor. Nothing beats the togetherness that comes with sitting down with the kids, feeding them small bites in between meals. He declared he wanted this to a regular for dinner going forward!
She was glad she was able to meet the challenge, she quickly went about clearing things.
As she was going about her work, she saw her family doing their antics. There is never a dull moment around. Maya wanted to quickly get the work done, so that they call it a day.
It's not everyday one meets the shadows from past or whispers that keeps haunting her memories
She was eager about what the next day has in store for her....
To be continued