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The Quirky Life of P

Humor and satire revolving around Mr P- a fictional mix of an avatar of Mr Bean and the veritable Bertram Wooster of Wodehouse fame.

Archive for the tag “Recipe”

Jalfrezie for Thanksgiving…

Never Too Late: Is there a person you should’ve thanked, but never had the chance? Is there someone who helped you along the way without even realizing it? Here’s your chance to express your belated gratitude.- Daily Prompt

P on the phone: “Hey Sis? How are things?”

Sis: “I’m all right P. What is it this time? You have to be quick. I am about to go shopping”.

P: “It’s nothing. I just wanted to call you and see how you were and…”

Sis: “P, get to the point, I’m in a hurry.”

P: “Well, I just finished making a vegetable Jalfrezie to go with my rice and ‘Sookha rotis’, like what you made for last Thanksgiving, and I followed your instructions exactly… but it does not taste the same like what you make…”

Sis: “So then, could you tell me what you did exactly?”

P: “I’ll read out what I had written down from your instructions…”

P proceeds to read out the recipe from the piece of paper:

“Recipe for vegetable Jalfrezie

2 tbsp oil , 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 cup onion-chopped fine, 500 gm mixed vegetables-cut chunky, 10 shallots-peeled and halved, 1/4 cup tomato puree,1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, 1 tbsp green chillies-chopped fine , 1 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder, a pinch of garam masala, 2 tomatoes-cut into cubes, coriander leaves-to garnish.
Heat oil and add the cumin seeds, Mix in the chopped onions and sauté till light brown,
Mix in the vegetables, shallots, tomato puree, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, and chilli powder; Cook vegetables for ten minutes, Add tomato cubes, and cook for another 5 minutes, Stir, sprinkle a pinch of garam masala and cook for about 5 minutes and serve garnished with the coriander leaves.”

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Sis: “That sounds all right to me, except that there is no mention of salt…

P: “Oh, should I have added salt? You didn’t tell me that!”

Sis: “I am sure I said salt to taste… Unless you did take it literally and tasted some salt…”

P sheepishly: “Could be… could be… Can I add the salt now? I suppose it is never too late?”

Sis: “You can add the salt now, never too late unless you have finished eating the dish I guess, but the vegetables will not absorb it as well as when it is added while they are being cooked… Anyways, the dish would taste better with some salt even if it is added now.”

P: “OK then. Bye…”

Sis:  “Bye”

The phone was put down at the other end and then P realised he had forgotten something…

He called her up again and she picked up the phone.

Sis: “What is it now P?”

P: “I just wanted to say thank you. I wanted to thank you when I was over there yesterday at Thanksgiving but it slipped off my mind… I guess it is never too late to let you know how much I appreciate all your help and advices and for putting up with me.”

Sis: “P my dear brother, you don’t have to put into words all your feelings… It’s always written all over your face! I love you for all your quirks!”

P: “Thank you sis! I love you too… And before you go for shopping can you come on Skype and take me through how I can make some ‘Sookha rotis’ to go with the Jalfrezie please?..”

It was too late for P as the phone then was switched off on the other end.

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Never Too Late

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Pitfalls of cooking and Mr P: Things get more slippery!

You may recall from the earlier post that Mr P had wanted to cook some Dahl for his guest ( http://avatarofmrbean.com/2012/03/28/pitfalls-of-cooking-and-mr-p-the-saga-continues/ ). The way Mr P prepares Dahl is quite easy. You just have to pressure cook lentils (either green gram which is also known as moong dal or red gram or Pigeon pea which is also known as tur dal) in water with a pinch of turmeric powder until they form a nice soup. Then you heat two tablespoons of oil in a pot and add half a teaspoonful of mustard seeds, cumin seeds and a couple of red chillies. You add the cooked lentils into the pot when the mustard starts popping. Into the liquid you can now add salt to taste, a bit of garlic paste and a very tiny pinch of ground cumin and optionally a pinch of garam masala. Green chillies, onion and one or two tomatoes may also be added. The Dahl is ready when the soup boils for a few minutes. moong Ki dal, Moong Ki Daal

Just as Mr P was about to start preparing lunch he realized that he had run out of dish washing liquid and cooking oil. So he brought out the bottles of Canola oil and Sunlight dish wash he had bought earlier in the week and placed one by the stove and the other by the sink. Mr P then cooked some lentils in the pressure cooker and nodded off in the kitchen chair reading the day’s newspaper. The cooker’s whistle woke him up when the lentils were thoroughly cooked into a soup. Mr P poured two generous tablespoons of oil into a pot heating up on the stove. He was in a hurry because he had spent time reading the newspaper (he definitely would not admit to napping) when he should have been doing other things to get lunch ready for his guest G who was soon to return from shopping. He did not wait for the oil to get really hot before he added the mustard seeds, the cumin seeds and the pieces of red chili peppers. He was in so much of a hurry that he did not wait for the mustard seeds to pop before he dumped the cooked lentils into the pot with some water and added the garlic paste, cumin and the garam masala powder. He left the pot to boil on the stove and scurried to the kitchen sink to do the breakfast dishes. He opened the tap, stoppered the sink and poured a generous amount of the new dish washing liquid into the basin.

“This is one funny dish washing liquid”, thought Mr P. “Looks like someone has invented a non sudsy detergent!”.

He put the dishes in to wash. As he tried to rinse the plates, he noticed something strange. The dishes had turned very slick and greasy and no amount of rinsing with fresh water could make them clean. They had tiny globules of something like oil all over them.

His hands also felt very oily. He smelled his hands and the plate he was trying hard to clean. Instead of the lemony smell of the dish wash, he smelled something very different.

“If it feels like oil, smells like oil and looks like oil, it must be oil,” he decided and checked the bottle that he had put by the side of the sink.  It said “Pure  Canola Oil”.

Mr P groaned. He was in for a big job now to get the dishes oil free. However, he had not yet realized that he was in Double trouble with Bubble trouble. Have you, now?

A lemony smell was wafting from the pot on the stove. Mr P rushed to check his Dahl. Something strange was happening to it. It was all frothy, sudsy and lathering up!!!

Pitfalls of cooking and Mr P…the saga continues…

After the breakfast debacle (The Intricacies and Pitfalls of Indian Cooking and Mr P! , http://avatarofmrbean.com/2012/03/26/the-intricacies-and-pitfalls-of-indian-cooking-and-mr-p/), do you think that G would have stayed for lunch if invited? Guess what? He did! He understood that Mr P was feeling a bit downhearted and so he agreed to give him another chance to prove his culinary skills. There are some people who would take any amount of beating and would still turn the other cheek because of a soft heart. G belongs to this rare, endangered species of ‘softies’ that is on a path of accelerated extinction. G is also a vegetarian.

Mr P decided to cook rice and make daal, pappad and Aviyal to go with it. Aviyal  is made from finger sized pieces  of all the vegetables such as cucumber, snake gourd, eggplant, green chillies, long beans, carrots, yams, green bananas and drum sticks (of course not drumsticks that are chicken legs, but long fruits of Moringa plants). Variety of fresh vegetables being sold on a st...

These vegetable pieces are washed well and cooked in a little volume of water with tamarind and salt to taste.  Turmeric and red chilli powder or pastes are also added. Ground coconut and cumin and curry leaves are added towards the end.

For Mr P, the most difficult part in this whole recipe was cutting the vegetables to size. “The vegetables are to be finger sized. “They cannot be cubes or any other shapes because that is one thing that distinguishes Aviyal from other dishes,” Mr P had learned. While cutting them into finger shaped pieces, he was worried he would cut his fingers as well.  However, since he started wearing finger gloves on all his fingers while slicing vegetables, he had become more confident.

So while G left to do a little shopping, Mr P stayed home and cooked the meal. Something happened to the daal which is matter for my next post. “Let’s forget the daal. Yoghurt would serve equally well and I’ll also serve a little bit of mango pickle”, decided Mr P. When G came back and they sat down for lunch, he had the meal neatly served on the dining table minus the daal.

Two spoons of food later, G suddenly choked and turned red. He was staring at his bowl of Aviyal.

“ You do know that I am strictly vegetarian, don’t  you Mr P?” he asked.

“Sure, I do,” said Mr P.

“And this Aviyal….. Are you sure it is vegetarian?” asked G slowly moving the vegetables around in the bowl.

Mr P looked at G’s bowl of Aviyal. There, partly covered by the gravy and vegetables was something that looked like a finger! Mr P surreptitiously checked whether all his fingers were intact. Assured, that the strange THING in the Aviyal was certainly not one of HIS body parts, Mr P investigated further. It was bent at an angle that reminded Mr P of the celebrity actress’s leg at the last Oscars that had jutted out through the dress slit, sending the whole world a-Twittering and starting an account-Angelina Jolie’s Leg @AngiesRightLeg.

Mr P probed further. Amidst the vegetables, it looked like an alien finger.  “Probably from Mars” thought Mr P. “But then, the THING was not red coloured and isn’t Mars supposed to be the red planet?”

Mustering all his courage Mr P pulled the THING out.

 It lay in full surrender on top of the dining table.

Lo and behold! It was the one finger glove that was missing when he had put them away after washing the vegetables!

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