Can 4 cooks spoil the broth? There is potential for a lot of tension but you can still manage to put together a decent meal.
It was supposed to be a relaxed Monday night dinner where A would show off his desi cooking talent to me and M. The menu was discussed and the ingredients were debated. We were told to show up anytime after work. When I turned up, I was informed that chilli powder – that essential ingredient for desi cooking – was missing from the pantry. I trudged to the store and sneaked a peek at the “list of stuff” A had made. It included ginger! garlic! cilantro! More do-or-die ingredients. Grrr. Would there be enough time for all the chopping and cooking? A is totally unperturbed - so what to make? Aargh. Did I get conned? Again?? This time M was coming to help, but she mentioned work delays – smart move. Oh, but K was visiting – he would definitely kick ass in the kitchen.
When K came, he let out a diatribe of four-letter words (in a good way) to describe his third honeymoon since his Dec. marriage.. but this was only an adventure trip to the Amazon. “I haven’t slept in 4 days man,” he says. “And it was because of the snakes and bugs.” We told him to chill out... help out in the kitchen... another spew of four-letter words (not in a good way) followed. Oh, the poor thing is missing his wife.
The menu was finally decided: okra, chhole, daal, chicken. Some leftover peas and mushroom and baingan ka bharta (spiced eggplant) which M claimed – “Don’t touch it! It’s ALL mine!!” Then the tamasha began. A’s chopped okras became a joke, I burnt the onions, K started swearing about chicken not being marinated properly. We finally simmered down over wine and Yanni. When it was time to chop chop, the boys did a good job. K marinated and cut the chicken in such loving fashion we didn’t know what to do with it next. M made noises about the lack of whole masalas (which were eventually found at the back of the cupboard) but salvaged the okra and chicken. I made my standard chhole (slightly low on salt) and A made the daal (slightly high on salt) but when we finally ate… at some 10:30 p.m. … and listened to the soundtrack from Fanaa, it was quite good, subhan’allah!