Hey guys, it’s quite clear by now that as moms we wear several different hats juggling roles all day from tutor to doctor to counselor and coach. But I am particularly fond of my toque. Figuratively of course. And even though my hypothetical tall white chef’s hat does not have the 100 folds signifying the many different ways in which professional chefs can make an egg, it’s an immensely versatile piece of HOT couture! That’s not a spelling error. The kitchen right now is a sauna, and those who’ve been there, know that.
Anyways, coming right back to the point, I have to give FULL credit for all my chef-ly adventures to my son. Before he was born, cooking was a one-off. Something I did when in the mood (Saturday pakodas & Sunday chicken curry) or when the “calmwali” bai ditched me (a hastily pressure cooked kichdi or tahiri). As my son started developing his own individual taste buds, I was pleasantly surprised by how I started catering to his refined palate. And with great pleasure. The smile on his face was so totally worth it.
My journey as my son’s chef truly began with cracking my own “Butter Chicken” formula after a bit of experimenting. Till then I was just a lowly cook. Now please understand that I am inherently quite fond of cooking. All my childhood one of my favourite pastime was collecting recipes – coconut laddus from Grihashobha and gateaus from Woman and Home! I would note it all down neatly in cursive – Ingredients and Method – in my red diary to skim through every now and then, though practically I don’t remember going beyond French Toast and gajar ka halwa as a teen.
We were posted in exotic Cairo, and despite all the fancy mezzes around, there came a time when we started craving typical Indian cuisine, not so freely available in the outskirts where we lived or even the inskirts for that matter. One Friday (Sunday is working btw) on a whim I simply put together a few condiments along with butter, chicken, rich tomato puree, Shan masala (that my Pakistani friend lent me), kasoori methi and cream. The result was quite impressive given the fact that my guys (pop and son) lapped it up. That was the day I proudly donned my stylized toque and ever since have developed a whole range of Pande-specific recipes: Garlicky Pasta Arrabiata, Creamy Red Bean Salsa, Handy Hung Curd & Sour Cream dip, Grilled Chicken Subs, Whole wheat garlic-cheddar toast with the trademark Jamie’s olive dip, Chicken Juicy Lucies, my oats version of the Starbucks choco-chip muffin and desi Chicken tenders in besan (Neat trick: swap the ajwain in the marinade with oregano seasoning – voila from Amritsari to Italian)!
In fact, right now I just got off my Sumeet mixer-grinder after churning up a delicious home-made humus, my son’s latest craze. Last week when he pounced upon the Wingrees Classic Hummus at Modern Bazaar after doing the cracker tasting, I just had to give this one a try and a special twist. In go the boiled chola, roasted organic sesame tahini, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic (everything needs garlic!), chilli flakes, cumin powder and dhania patta! There – you have your very own delicious humus in a jiffy. Slather it liberally over your Low GI bread and enjoy a yummilicious snack anytime! Easy, cheap but most importantly fresh and healthy. Goes brilliantly with a chilled yogurt shake in this muggy weather.
And so the merry experiments continue, because the way to a man’s heart most definitely is through his stomach!
(Do tag your favourite mom-chefs…: ))…)
(Written in mycity4kids)