Couple of days back i decided to surprise my sister by cooking dinner for her before she came back from office. knowing that my minimal culinary skills(read zero culinary skills) did not permit me to make aloo ka paratha, malai kofta,shahi paneer etc i decided on simple roti, dal and chawal.. i learnt a lot of lessons that day
now i have no clue how to cook dal so i went to food world called my mom and asked her what were the ingredients required to make dal
mom: toor dal can be used to make dal but there....
me: yeah ok ma.talk to u later.bye
Lesson 1: when ur mom says "but" dont cut the call. listen to what she has to say.
not heeding my mother's "but" i went around to the dal section of the shop and was met by a 6ft x 5ft shelf full of dals of different sizes shapes and colours
me:(asking the help there): errr..toor dal..which one is it
help: which one do u want. do u want full toor, half broken, broken, premium quality, normal quality
me: wait!! stop. err gimme the one they use to make sambhar
Lesson 2: Just because both sambhar and dal are different shades of yellow DOES NOT mean they are made using the same dal
the help gives me a dal which i proudly buy. i also buy some tomatoes, onions and chillies and head back home to prepare dal a la yummy!! (thats the name i proposed to give my dal. only it was all but yummy)
i go home take a cooker measure some dal wash it thoroughly put the dal into the cooker put lots of water and put it on the gas and wait for the whistle.
next i cut all the vegetables put it on a kadai and saunter the vegetables. i do this realy well
Lesson 3: sauntering vegetables is the easiest thing to do and even a baby can do it and only an extremley culinary un-skilled person can spoil this
next i try to make the dough for the rotis. i learnt a lot of lessons while doing this task.
Lesson 4: never make the dough for the rotis without supervision when u r doing it the first time. you will i repeat WILL spoil it.
Lesson 5: if u are forced to do it alone then for pete's sake take a small quantity to experiment and then if u are successfull make more atta
i took about 5 table spoons of atta (pilsbury) put it on a plate, poured a tumbler of water and started making the dough
Lesson 6: while making atta DO NOT add all the water all at once. add water little by little and make the dough
i started making the dough but it was a gooey messy affair and there was entirely too much water so i put in two more table spoons of atta, and then there was too much atta so i put in some more water. this went on until i was left with one huge blob of &*#%^(i dunno what to call it. even i wouldnt go as far as calling it atta). i tried to check the porosity (hardness) of the atta by poking it with my finger. my finger refused to penetrate the dough. Next I tested it using a pencil. The pencil broke (Come on people!! Graphite is after all the softest non-metal. Its not like my pencil was made of diamond or something). Well anyway the bottom line is that euphemistically put the dough was not appropriate for human consumption
at this point I suddenly remembered my dal. All this while I didn’t hear a single whistle and hence assumed that the dal was happily cooking inside the cooker.
Lesson 7: If after 20 minutes of cooking something in the cooker (esp dal) if u don’t hear a whistle it is NOT a positive sign.
I just left the dal in the cooker and was wondering what I would do with the hard, rigid, tough, inflexible and inedible blob of &*#%^ when I smelt something burning faintly. I rushed to the cooker switched off the gas and opened my cooker to find a 3 inch layer of black soot and four (yes guys!! Exactly four pieces of that blasted yellow colour dal that I bought) sitting prettily on top of the bed of black soot. If not for my distraught state I would have taken a couple of pictures and put it up but unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures.
Then I tried to clean the cooker. I tried and tried and tried cursing all those people in the Vim and Pril ad’s who make washing dirt and grime on vessels seem like so easy and effortless (agreed the “grime” in my case was a little too much but still)
Lesson 8: if u burn something do NOT try to wash the burnt vessel at once. Let it lie in water for some time. The water helps loosen up all the dirt and washing is easier
Anyway after this disastrous attempt at cooking I tried to clean up all the mess I had created. (there was white colored flour everywhere aesthetically decorated by black soot at places, sauntered vegetables on a kadai gone cold now etc) but before I could begin the bell rang and in came my sister.
Shock, wise people have said is also a form of surprise (so I actually did manage to surprise my sister!! Yay!!!)
Now my sister is a cleanliness freak. She just CANNOT stand dirty things. Her wardrobe is perfectly clean, her house is always disinfected and its floors can be used for the “after” scenes in the domex and lizol ad’s , her kitchen is always clean and there isn’t a single vessel or towel or plate which is ever out of place. And when she saw the state of the kitchen, the dough, the black soot and the non-existent dal she flipped!!
Lesson 9: when u have a sister who is a cleanliness freak don’t even attempt to give her surprises. It really doesn’t work. Trust me
I got a longggg lecture from her explaining to me the difference between the dal used for making sambhar and the dal used for making normal dal (frankly speaking i still do not know the difference. they are both yellow and they are both round). apparently the dal which i had used requires more water and hence the silly dal had burnt and not cooked!! when I tried telling her that I was just trying to surprise her I got another long lecture on the ill effects of surprising people.
Lesson 10: (the golden one): When u are in deep shit DO NOT open ur mouth!! ;)
After my futile attempt to surprise my sister with my culinary and not achieving the desired effect I have never attempted to cook again both for my sake and for the general good of the world!!