Sunday, September 27, 2009

The One Thing I'm Not Destined To Do... to cook. And I say that with my hand on my heart.

I'm a miserable cook. I can NEVER EVER boil milk without spilling it. When I make rice, it either sticks to the bottom of the pan & gets burnt, or gets wet & sticky. Rotis? I can make them round but they turn out to be partly burnt & partly half-baked.

With Durga Puja going on, the entire city is in a celebratory mood. The smell of kosha mangsho (mutton cooked Bengali style) & luchis (Bengali puris) had been wafting through my windows, seducing my olfactory senses since morning, like a cruel joke. To make things worse, my cook didn't turn up today. Oh, the horror, the horror!!

I figured if I have to cook, I might as well make a feast out of it. I really wanted some nice mutton curry & pulao, but it seemed too much of an effort, and I didn't really have the patience to stand in endless queues to buy mutton (not that I know how to buy mutton, but I was willing to learn), so I settled for the next best thing Bongs love to eat - luchi & alur dom. Well, in case you're wondering, I'm not Bong but if it's Durga Puja and you're in Calcutta, you've got to celebrate it Bong style!

I figured I might as well go the whole hog and decide to make payesh, or kheer as it's more popularly known.

I burnt the grated onion-ginger-garlic paste that forms the base of the alur dom. The potatoes themselves were half-cooked in parts, the luchis were partially burnt, and the kheer? Oh, don't even get me started on the kheer! I burnt it. Charred, to be precise.

I started with the proportion of milk : rice my mom had instructed me to use, but the milk seemed too much for the rice. So, I added some more rice to it, and then some more. As the kheer was cooking, I realized how important it is to follow what mom tells you...the rice was eventually too much for the milk, and since I had added them in three batches, they were different degrees of 'cooked'! And the bottom layer was charred! So much for preparing a feast.

Really, for folks like me who can't cook, the smartest thing to do is to simply hire a cook and leave the feast up to her. Your families will thank you for it, trust me. And in case the cook doesn't turn up, just order in!


Moonshine said...

You can order in... but nothing beats makign stuff on your own.. and i dont what is it that makes one keep trying.. last year for diwali, i made or tried to make laddus.. boondi refused to stick.. you already know my kheer story!!! But nevertheless, i am sure this diwali i will try something out again!!!!

Something about the festivals i think!!! :)

My rotis are shapeless.. becomes hard and chewy!!!! So not to worry.. not that you need to go by my benchmark:)

Scarlett said...

@Moonshine - LOL. My sister is a much better cook than me. Of course, it helps if you're interesting in cooking as well. Oh, I keep trying to cook something or the other every weekend, failures notwithstanding :)