For the Rookies

The good part about cooking: some admire you for the art you invest your time in. Yes, for me cooking is an art as opposed to the much accepted value of cooking as a skill. Cooking is exactly like painting. The kitchen is your board, the gas your canvas, the ingredients the colours and your cooking methods the various brush strokes which will make your dish one of a kind. The importance of knowing how to cook is also to inspire other people to cook. similar to how many have pursued painting or other art forms by being inspired by Picaso, Mozart etc.

Living outside your home for many years pushes you to inspire people how to cook. It is the need for the hour, especially my generation who are in their second decade of life away from home in dire need of good comforting food. I had to nudge a few friends to learn how to cook and then there are the good few who will come up to me asking for support so that they can get involved in the making of something which they love, in this case FOOD!

a (427x640)A conversations about a month back with a colleague and now a good friend took me down this path. We were randomly chatting online and she asked about what she should do about a few ingredients she had and wanted to make dinner with. While I asked her about the stock she had, one thing became very evident, it does not matter what is there in your kitchen, if you willing to learn how to cook, you will do it without being apprehensive about your cooking skills, the size of your kitchen, the stock of ingredients you have etc.

In addition to the basic seven ingredients she had: rice, tomato, oil, salt, garlic, chilli and one egg, she asked that any recipe I impart should be simple. While I ranted about the choices she had though my laptop I realised the bad part about the current food culture, it barely gives credit to the cooks who are starting off. The fancy chefs do come up with many things meant for the ‘to-be’ cooks but the simplicity which should be involved are still overwhelming at times. Thus, for those who are starting out, like my friend, should start slowly, the key is to see how each ingredient works, which is only possible once you start off small and then build upon the skills you acquire along the way.

I gave her two choices with the ingredients she had

Choice 1

  1. Chop the tomatoes, garlic and chillies
  2. Boil the rice till it is done and keep it aside
  3. Heat oil in a pan put the garlic, the chilli. Fry for about 30 seconds put the tomatoes, fry for another minute
  4. Pour over the cooked rice and mix well.
  5. Add salt to taste, and break the egg over the mixed rice.
  6. Cover the pan for about 90 seconds.
  7. Take out the rice and the steamed egg. If you want you can also mash up the egg and rice together.

Choice 2

  1. Chop the tomatoes, garlic and chillies
  2. Heat oil in a wok/kadai put the garlic, the chilli. Fry for about 30 seconds put the tomatoes, fry for another minute
  3. Measure the uncooked rice and put it in the mixture above
  4. Add salt
  5. Add water (the ratio of water and rice should be 2:1 respectively)
  6. Put in the raw egg
  7. Once this starts boiling, simmer the heat and cover it for twenty minutes.
  8. Remove from heat
  9. Remember to take the egg out of its shell before you settle down to eat.

For all recipes above the gas’ heat should always be on medium until mentioned otherwise.

My friend opted for the first option and she loved making it. She had eaten the whole thing up before she remembered her promise of sending me a picture of what she had whipped up. However, I was glad, it was a small step for her and a big step for the cooking rookies.

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