Thursday, June 13, 2013
Potato Bhaji (turned out pretty well for Kim's contribution to an Indian cuisine day at Cambridge)
Add the chopped garlic. One flake for a kg. and 1/5th of the ginger cut fine. Throw in half a tsp of sugar.
Any fool can cook. All you need to know are a few basics. There’s this grand conspiracy to put the fear of God into those who are setting up a household for the first time. They are made to believe that they have to buy expensive ovens, hobs, freezers, grills, mixers, grinders, blenders and what not. It’s all nonsense. Cooking programmes on television and cookbooks make me laugh today. But I can tell you solemnly, I was not laughing when I started out. I sweated and slaved over a hot stove for three hours in the morning for lunch and three hours in the evening to fix dinner. Now? I cook once in three days and good stuff too.
Honestly just look at the cooking programmes. You have one guy who travels around the world cooking basic stuff, but putting such a spin on it, it makes you think cooking is impossible. You have chefs that arrange some lumps of stuff, top it with a sprig of some green herb, which you cannot eat anyways and the whole multicoloured mound sits in a puddle of vomit coloured liquid. And that’s supposed to be haute-cuisine. Pah, is what I say. Then there’s a woman who drives me round the bend, her job is to make food look and sound sexy, so she uses words like gleaming, glistening, plump, luscious and she gives the viewer this come-hither look that is really silly. Then she wears a tight dress with half her fat chest falling out, disregarding the fact that when you tadka anything the frying mustard can and will come flying on to you, cleavage or no cleavage. In a kitchen, it’s best to cover as much as possible. She cooks Indian food, because obviously it is the tastiest and also the easiest tasty food to cook. Notice I said tasty food, because English food is the easiest to cook, just sprinkle salt and pepper some vinegar and pop it in the oven or boil the stuff and voila, an English meal is ready. Pah, is what I say again. For our pampered Indian palates English food is something you would not feed to a stray dog.
So Lesson Number One put all those cook books away for now. Bring them out when you know your kitchen like the back of your hand. This is not a cook book. This is a beginner’s guide through the maze of your kitchen. It removes the mystery and fear and any feelings of inferiority those books give the beginner. You need to eat, so you cook. Nothing more. Nothing less.