I was all of 7. Me and my younger sister were both fond of experimenting with food, behind our mum’s back, who would make lunch for us before leaving for work. Little did she know that we would add our own, mostly rookie twists to the food.
One day, during the monsoon, and yes, global warming was not a thing in those days and it used to rain cats and dogs in Delhi, I had this urge to eat pakoras.
So me and my sister decided to take things in our own hands. We had seen mum make delicious pakoras umpteen times, and what was there to it really. Just mix some gramflour and add some onions, cauliflower and then just put them in the kadai (Deep Skillet) and then take them out once brown.
So out came the onions, the cauliflower and some potatoes. So far it was going brilliantly. We chopped them all in bite size pieces, of course the potatoes were a bit of a struggle, you know to slice them in perfect rounds was a bit much for a 4 and a 7 year old. Have a heart you guys 🙂
Now it was time to make the batter. And that was done in a jiffy too. Add lot of water, stir stir stir till the gram flour dissolves. Then we added some salt and chilli Powder. The oil was put in the Kadhai, I remember emptying the entire 1 ltr bottle into it. The pakoras will need that much to fry to a crispy crunch.
You can not imagine my excitement, and pride, and confidence! Yes, mum would be so proud to know that her daughter has all grown up and can make pakoras! I was looking forward to surprise her when she came back tired from work with “MY” pakoras. I was sure, she would hug me and praise me and then tell dad all about it…
Oil by now was smoking hot. I was still not tall enough to reach the kadhai and be able to drop the pakoras in. So out came the wooden chauki (low stool) and I got on to it. I dipped my hand into the creamy batter, got a handful of onion and cauliflower and put it in the oil.
The commotion in the Kadhai was enough to make me jump away and run to the far end of the Kitchen. My sister was just looking at me, not knowing what had gone wrong. As the crackling stopped and the oil stopped flying outside, I gathered courage to go and see what was going on.
The pakoras had spread all over the kadhai, the batter was floating separately and it was clearly a disaster. I was so upset, that I knew I had to do something to save this. In my young head, I thought maybe I need to just empty the batter with the veggies into the Pan because there was too much oil in it. So in went the entire mix (believe it).
It was soon clear to me that I had failed, miserably. I was very very upset. And what a waste. And now what will mom say, was the top most thought.
Thank god for moms. She came, she saw and said only one thing “I don’t care about you wasting the oil and everything else, but what if the oil had come to your face, your eyes…. your sister was there too, you have to be very very careful…. you can not put yourself in danger like this. You are too young to take such risks… Come, I will make pakoras for you right now….”
I felt terrible… It now hit me that not only had I put myself in danger, what if I had hurt my sister… what if the Kadhai had over turned… It had boiling oil in it after all….
After this incident, I took a bit of a break from my cooking shenanigans… I also learnt that mothers will teach you everything, but all in good time…
Today I owe all my skills at cooking to my mother, who made food you will remember long after you have eaten it. And my dad, who could stir up a fabulous dish with the most basic ingredients…
If you have stories about your rendezvous with cooking do share, it would be lovely to know I am not the only one who had a rough start!