Monday, December 17, 2007

What a chef!

Its been about 2 weeks now that we have started cooking food at our rented flat in Bangalore. By we, I mean my roommates and I. And this was after a lot of scepticism like whether we should be investing like this or not. We wanted a cook at first but eventually settled on cooking food ourselves.
The day (or rather night) when we started was rather eventful. It was a saturday and having been bitten by the MindTree bug of hard work, all three of us - Dipankar, Anirban and I had gone to office to work. After laboriously working till evening, Dipankar and I boarded the 6 o'clock shuttle from West Campus to Banshankari office. There Anirban joined us. We decided that it was tonight or never. So all three got into an auto to Jayanagar to buy the items to setup the kitchen.
At jayanagar, we realized that we had no concrete plan. We didn't know what all to buy and what not to. After a long debate, we freezed upon our essential requirements which needed to be addressed first. We chose a shop nearer to our flat not for the costs. But because 'agar koi problem hua to stove uthakar laa to sakenge wahan'! So by the time we bought all our utensils and headed home, it was about 9 pm. Now what we required was the food items. Dipanakar, being the most experienced chef amongst us (actually thats bcos the others know nothing about cooking, so its the case of 'andhon me kaana raja'), declared - 'What do you guys wanna eat tonight?' And then it started!
For 5 minutes, everyone started pouring in their requests. No one knew who would cook all that or whether anyone knew how to cook those dishes. What came out was the uproar after 5 months of eating those dosas(especially rava dosa), bhaths, roti curries and occasional fried rice at nearby Sree Upahar/Shanti Sagar! Finally we decided upon a dish of egg, dal and rice. So again we headed for the market, this time to the Reliance fresh shop. By the time we were back home with the grocery, it was about 10pm.
Then started our maiden venture of cooking. Dipankar cooked the egg dish (that was the only day the eggs boiled correctly, we have been struggling to get that same performance since). Anirban called up home to get the recipe for masoor dal. I helped him out in that. And finally the rice. It was at this time that I realized that the turmeric(haldi) packet wasn't opened. It should have been since we had used haldi in the dal, isn't it? Then came that deadly realization. I had mixed garam masala with haldi. So instead of haldi, I had added garam masala to the dal. Oh my god! Nothing to do now. All of us were laughing. The dal tasted fine, just a bit too chilly. Thus ended our first experience at cooking which incidently got over at 12:30am. So by the time we finished our dinner, it was 1am. A late but satisfying dinner.
The next week we prepared a number dishes ranging from matar paneer to simple paneer with gravy, from mixed veg dish to egg curry. It was fun at times and tough at times. Especially the idea of cooking at home after coming back from office so tired was tough. But we have managed to weather the waters till now. Its the team effort which has brought success.
The weekends are the days when we plan to have our favourite dishes. Like this weekend we decided to cook fish at home. So on sunday morning , Dipankar and I made a trip to the meat mart of 'Monday to Sunday'. We settled on Catla fish because it was the easiest to cook and the first try should be witht he easiest one (Also it was the least costly of all). I called up mom (as usual) for instructions. Now armed with her advice, we first marinated the fish with salt and turmeric(haldi). Then came the tough task of frying the fish. And boy was it hard! Dipankar really had a tough time. But eventually it came off well and we got the first taste of home made fish at Bangalore. The fish gravy dish was simply superb.
When I was discussing about this experience to my ex-Rich mates, they couldn't believe it. They were saying that a guy who never once went near the kitchen to cook, how come he cooks food at home everyday. But you know, thats life. It teaches you everything! So after a satisfying weekend, its back to work. I hope you all too have this type of a success in your life sometime or other.


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Abhishek Saha
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
A NRB (Non Resident Bengali) or rather a 'Probashi Bangali'; born in Kolkata, brought up in Jamshedpur and now trying to make his mark at IIM Lucknow.
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