My experiments with cooking!

When Raman Uncle suggested that I must write a blog about my experiments with cooking, I didn’t take it very seriously initially. But as I continued ‘cooking’ I understood the need to compile it all and let people know what it feels like to be an inexperienced expert cook in Germany! πŸ˜€

But before I start, let me explain why I went through all I went through (disclaimer if you may)

1. Germany has electric heating and I was used to cooking on a gas flame.

2. The ingredients here look somewaht different.

3. Rice etc. always take time to optimize (new rice means new conditions for boiling and even veterans of cooking fumble with this).

4. I had to cook for myself and without anyone to give you company, one loses the morivation for ‘proper’ combinations in food.

So, here I go! I was pretty sure that I was a good cook, until I reached Germany. I moved into the apartment and all was well. The kitchen was beautiful, little and cute. It was the kind of kitchen I would’ve dreamt of if I were to live alone. And then, I NOTICED! The cooking was to be done on electric heater!!!!!!! I told myself, it’s ok, it’s not such a big deal! But I was to learn the hard way that it WAS! I consoled myself and then, my woes began!

For the first day, I stuck to the ready-to-eat things I had got from India. It was a nice Shahi Darbari chicken and I had it with bread (the beginning of my “weird combinations” in food). I …..ummmmmm……. liked it. I mean, it was ok. I told myself that it’s fine. I will eventually start cooking ‘well’.

The next day , being a weekend, I decided to get adventurous. And decided to make stuffed omelet for breakfast. Now, the scene is like this, there are two ‘burners’ in my ‘stove’. One is smaller in size and is ok for smaller vessels and one is slughtly bigger, mostly for the bigger pans etc.

I chopped onions and tomatoes (the stuffing for my omelet), beat the eggs, put the oil next to the pan and put the pan on heating. Being used to gas-cooking, as I was, I hoped for the pan to get hot within minutes. But it was to have its way. I poured the beaten eggs into the pan and lo! Nothing happens! It struck me that I had possibly put the heating to too low a value, I sent it up (from 4 to 6). The pan started getting hot and I thought it will take some time for it to get hot and went to the room to fetch the rice for cooking in the afternoon! By the time I came back, my omelet was smoking!!!!

I tried to turn it so that I could cook the other side but it won’t happen as the top was still uncooked! I reduced the heating, but much like its heting curve, the slope of the cooling curve was less too! And by the time I could rescue my omelet, it was pretty much dead! On one side,that is! I felt awful and told myself that I must keep the heating to an optimal value next time onwards!!! And very much against my wishes, ate the one side burnt and one side half-cooked omelet!

It afternoon, lunch time and I was still recovering from the shock of heating and cooling curves of the electric heating. But I thought I must be brave and with a saffron band on my head, I approached the heater. I gave it a “You better beahve yourself this time” look and started off! I put up as brave a face as I could’ve but the wretched heater still had its way! And this time, the rice was the co-conspirer.

My Mom had taught me that when you’re about to cook rice, soak it in water before cooking, it takes less time to cook. After my morning adventure, I didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen, cooking. So, I soaked the rice in hot water (I went one step further in my mother’s cooking lesson) and put the heating on. When I cuold feel the heat radiating out, I put the rice in the cooker and had just put it on the heater when suddenly, a cloud of steam hit me and blocked my vision (read, my specs). It took me some time to recover and figure out that I hadn’t wiped the bottom of the cooker and the steam was billowing out from there!!!! So much so fo electric heating!

So, I took the cooker off and wiped its bottom (talk about training for raising kids!!!!) and put it back on the heater. Mom had told me that 10 mins of soaking and you need only three whistles for the rice to cook. Since I had soaked the rice in hot water, I extrapolated the behaviour of rice and let only two whistles come (intelligent me)……..and when the cooker opened, it looked like the twenty mins of time had disappeared. The rice seemed to stick its tongue out at me, mocking me “Hehehehe! We were always unpredictable and we always shall be!”

But I didn’t give up. Guaging how uncooked the rice was (by taking a few grains out and eating them, burning my ongue on the way), I decided that it needed some 4 more whistles. At the end of about 40 mins and 4 whistles, I opened the cooker again (once again, blocking my specs because of the steam coming out). And saw that one brown colour crust was waiting for me!!!! So much so for extrapolation! I ate that half cooked and half burnt rice somehow with Puliogaremix and washed it down with apple juice (I don’t want to elaborate any further on HOW it tasted)…..

Rice is no good! I told myself, it just doesn’t know how to get cooked! So, I turned to my trusted companion, PARATHAS. I have almost never gone wrong with aloo parathas. My wounded (by rice) ego needed a boost, so I decided to make aloo parathas for dinner!

I boiled the potatoes (without any tragedies) and made a nice flling for the parathas. Then, I made the dough (again without tragedies, my ego was soaring really HIGH) and started off with the procedure of making the parathas. Put the pan on (the wretched) heater again andΒ  started rolling the parathas out! Now, there is something wrong with the German aloos, I suppose! The moment I started rolling the parathas, it seemed as if the aloos were dying to escape out of the dough! And after some two trials of rolling, I had a curious looking lump of aloo and flour in my hands! I had no name for it! I didn’t know what to do with it! I trusted the good old dust-bin with holding this precious possession of mine and settled for some Kelloggs soaked in warm milk for dinner!

So much so for COOKING!!!! Humph!!!!!!!!!!!

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6 Comments

  1. chandra said,

    March 1, 2007 at 12:26 am

    good one. i could immediately relate to it with no difficulty at all πŸ˜€ i realized in a somewhat similar way that itz only when you actually get down to cooking that you get to know what your skills really are worth πŸ™‚

    burnt dal, ‘raw’ chicken curry and many other ‘new’ dishes i made πŸ˜€

    finally, itz all history now for me… now im enjoying my indian style meals and am also planning to write a cookbook for bachelors πŸ™‚

    aapka bhi number aayega, very soon you will start making tasty paranthaas and shahi chicken curry πŸ™‚

    so, hope you are having a good time in germanie.

  2. Vinod KBG said,

    March 5, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Hey Pritz,
    Regarding rice cooking, I experienced the same when I did it first time (my parents were in North India tour). Then I used this idea and I am sure it will work in Germany too.
    After three whistles, take out the cooker from the heater but dont open it immediately. Let all the steam condensate and settle down (this will take 20 to 30 mins in India !). So after 30 mins open the cooker, your rice will be fully cooked………..
    Try this and let me know what happens in Germany……….

  3. Vinod KBG said,

    March 5, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    I forgot to tell this: The weight should be on for the 30 minutes. The steam should condensate and should not be discharged outside. So do not remove the weight.

  4. Pritesh said,

    March 15, 2007 at 5:08 am

    Ah, my saving grace Vinod! THANKS…….

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