08 May 2010
DISASTROUS KITCHEN EXPERIMENTS
My previous posts may lead you to the wrong concept that one can be a cook overnight but boy, you couldn’t be more wrong! There were a few instances in which I made non-edible food items and had to make a few compromises. If you are a good learner, you’ll have to know how to improvise with what is around and make do with it.
1. STICKY PAYASAM
One day after I came back from church, I declared that I’d make payasam. We bought Vermicelli and I was all set. After all, how tough is it to boil some milk and add a little cooked Vermicelli, cashewnuts and dried raisins in it? This is how I went about doing it – Heat a little (1 teaspoon) ghee in a non-sticky frying pan and cooked the Vermicelli until it is soft and a little translucent. Boil a packet (500ml) of milk and add 4 tablespoons of sugar in it. Heat and cook the cashew nuts and dried raisins in another pan. Mix the milk, Vermicelli and nuts and raisins and allow it to cook for some time while stirring it continuously. Add a little condensed milk and a spoon of butter for extra taste.
The result? The payasam was too sticky because I didn’t add enough extra water and it tasted like nothing in particular because I didn’t add enough sugar, nuts and raisins and I completely forgot to add the cardamon too (an essential ingredient). I guess I was too tired with all that walking and got it all wrong.
The solution - (The next day) Since neither I nor anyone else were interested in consuming the payasam, I was the object of my Mum’s wrath. Determined not to lose this battle, I improvised. I heated another packet of milk (500ml), roasted more cashew nuts and raisins in a little oil and added 6 tablespoons of sugar as well as three crushed cardamon pieces and finally added the previous day’s failure to the new mixture. It turned out ok although it wasn’t irresistibly delicious and I was ok with that. After all, it was my first try.
2. EXTRA SPICY EGG NOODLES
I made the noodles the same way I had made the pasta except for the fact that I made tomato juice with a tomato and poured it in after having added the powders and also added a spoon of pepper (I hate the taste of pepper but it can be interesting sometimes and even tasty when not added too much). Another one difference is that I added too much chilli powder. And oh, I almost forgot, instead of adding scraps of beef, I added in slices of boiled egg because I was making egg noodles.
The result? The noodles was tasty alright but extra spicy and when bro (I guess, he’s a kind of guinea pig in all my cooking experiments) became hungry he had it with lots of cold sweet curd.
The solution - The next day I made some more noodles (sausage noodles) and mixed it with the remains of the previous batch and it solved the problem.
Note: Another little difference regarding preparation of noodles is the part in which we prepare the raw noodles. It’s a little more complicated. Once you’re done boiling the noodles in water for a min or 2, you have to rinse it with cool water, drain it and then shallow fry it in a little oil. You wash it with cool water to prevent the noodles from cooking by itself with the remaining heat. That’s a scientific fact my Sis told me. She every time has logical explanations even if it’s about cooking.
3. FLAVOURLESS PASTA
The pasta ingredients are my Sis’. It’s easy if you follow it step by step and if someone tells it to you in a matter-of-fact way. It was on a Sunday (noon time) when I was stretching and yawning in bed, lazy to get up when Sis called me to catch up with the recent happenings in my life and one conversation led to another and ended in the preparation of pasta. The only reason we kept down the phone after that was because my head was going to explode due to information overload. So here goes:
Step 1: Preparation of the pasta and potato – Boil water and turn off the stove, after which you put in the raw pasta and allow it to cook for around 10 mins. Drain the pasta. Peel, cut (in pieces) and boil the potato. Keep both the potato and pasta aside.
Step 2: Cut onion and capsicum in square pieces and fry it in a spoonful of oil till it becomes translucent. Cook tomatoes in a spoonful of oil (in a separate pan) till it becomes pasty and starts shimmering. Add the onion, capsicum and tomato in the larger pan, a spoon of ginger garlic paste (made from a piece of ginger and 2-3 cloves of garlic) and add the four essential powders -2 tspns chilli powder, a pinch of turmeric powder, 3 tspns coriander powder and garam masala. Add enough soya sauce to the mix and allow to cook (“Oh, you HAVE to buy soya sauce if you don’t have any. That’s what makes the pasta Mmmmmm!”).
Step 3: Add salt, the pasta and potato into the mix and add chunks of cheese while the pan is still over the stove.
The result? The pasta didn’t taste like anything in particular and I had an instinctive feeling that once it cooled down it wouldn’t taste so good.
The solution - I let the siren go and Mum came to my rescue. “It doesn’t taste like anything Mum!” and like the skilled soldier in the battlefield she ordered, “Add some more soya sauce!”. I still thought it didn’t taste as good as I expected it to turn out and so I added shreds of the previous day’s beef.
4. BURNT PIZZA
I saw it being made and I thought to myself, “Boy, is that the easiest thing to do or what?!!!”
Step 1: Spread a lot of tomato ketchup on the pizza base, spread the cut vegetables (or pieces of sausage or meat), scrap out some cheese and spread it on the top. There are certain powders (pizza mix) sold in the market which can make it more delicious.
Step 2: Spread a little oil/ghee on the frying pan and put the dressed pizza base on it. Keep the fire burning low and cover it with a vessel (aluminium or steel) and wait for it to cook.
The result? When I made it, the base got burnt and I placed the pan in a vessel filled with cold water to cool it down. The pizza still tasted burnt though.
The solution – I ate the pizza anyways and made up my mind to bake it in an oven the next time.
Posted by Reni at 8:34 AM