The idea drenched me as I was slurping down the last rites of my mother’s home cooked matar paneer. It was intriguing how she always managed to play “cock a doodle” with my taste buds. It was in the blood. I should have got it. The great cook that my grandma (maternal) was. So it passed down the line and my mom got it. And thankfully, it passed down the line one notch further and resulted into this blog’s existence.
The thing is, I like to cook. The bigger thing is, I love to eat. And the biggest thing is, my mom is a splendid cook. So I had to write a blog. At first what an amazing idea it was. But little did I realize how cumbersome and lengthy the entire process would be. Thanks to my dear board examinations. And now that they are finally over, I am finally back on track. Yuu hu! To that. I guess I have poured you enough into the tantalizing bond between me and food. It’s time to come to the main part of this blog i.e the recipes. The distinctive feature of this blog will be “simple home cooking with minimal oil”. Of course, all Indian recipes need a heavy downpour of oil. But I’m of a different view. I believe one can make extremely luscious Indian dishes with very little oil.
Before I post my first recipe, I would like to say a few things (that has trickled down from my mom) about cooking. When you make something, try to use little oil. If your’re scared that the food might stick to the bottom of the pan, then I suggest you use a non stick pan/kadhai. While cooking, try not to rest the ladle. Keep it moving. There’s a lesser chance for the food to stick like this. Also, always try to cook food on low flame. I know its time consuming. But I have got proof and experience on this. Low flame cooking tenderizes your food, makes it soft from inside and fills it with exotic juices and richness without burning it. On the other hand, high flame burns your food without fully cooking the interior and makes it similar to an undernourished sapling. If you still feel the need to cook on high flame (owing to our modern day lifestyle), I suggest you to keep shifting the intensity of your flame while cooking. From high to medium to low and then high again. This will keep your food from burning. All the experienced cooks must have already known this fact.
Coming to the masala (spice) part, for every individual in India masala plays a momentous role when it comes to food. We cant seem to swallow our food without a tinge of masala. Even the typical dal(lentil) chawal(rice) has to be accompanied by a mixed pickle or a hot chutney or a masala papad. Well, that’s the way we are and that’s how we function. Atleast, most of us anyways. Ah, the wonders of spice. Spices can be used in many forms. You can use it whole, in a powdered form or my favorite, in the guise of a paste. Here again, my grannyand my ma have a different opinion (myself included).No doubt powdered masalas are heavily utilized in Indian cooking and it has a firm stance but there is a different aura about spice pastes altogether. It cannot be compared or matched to the powdered phase. Most Indian dishes include the spices in a variety of powders. It is less time consuming and hassle free. But it can never give the flavor that a paste can give to the curry. This is a common notion followed in my family and I have myself felt and experienced it. Another aspect that my mother follows is that, she never makes the masalas in the mixer- grinder. She goes the traditional way and uses the mortar and pestle or the ‘pata’ that we call it as. This gives a heavenly flavor to the curries. She even insists on making the onion paste on the ‘pata’. It gives a unique flavor and makes the dish stand out. The ‘jeera’(cumin) and the ginger garlic are most of the time subjected to the “pata” in my house. That’s one of the major reasons why the food made by my mum and granny has unusual savor and smell wafting out of it.