I have been married for quite sometime now yet my kitchen nightmares continue. What is it that totally befuddles me with kitchen and cooking I cant say, but it does, I know. Nothing goes right for me. The kebabs get too well done, the rice gets so over cooked that its either totally dry or sticky, the potatoes get a little too dark brown, the veggies are either raw or have no body, the khus khus or poppy seeds even after many washes still are muddy like hell and the mustard when ground are bitter like gourds. What pray is my problem! I have a long list of ‘Kitchen ki Kahani’ but special mention is the one I would like to share with you all.
When I was expecting my child, I had been very ill in the first trimester. I couldn’t eat anything, the slightest of food smell would make me throw up and I was at a total loss as to what to do. I couldn’t enter the kitchen either because my olfactory nerves had become very sensitive and the moment I stepped into the kitchen I could smell the spices and the garlic and the onions and that would make me rush to the washroom to throw up. I was really tired of throwing up at all times.
I had just moved into Kuala Lumpur and this is a place of eclectic spread of cuisine. There are restaurants and cafes and food stalls all around the streets and the aroma actually make people hungry. But not me. Walking on the streets had become one painful activity for me. How can one walk holding ones breath and for how long. Because the moment I breathed I would get nauseated.
So I decided not to go out. I could take strolls in my condominium and stay in as much as I could. When my husband came in from work he would go into the kitchen to cook up some concoction that would not make me queasy. Him cooking meant, I would have to close the kitchen door, my bedroom door and lock myself in so that not a whiff of what was cooking could come into my locked cell.
One day my friend Debby decided to visit me. She was horrified to learn that I had locked myself up in the house only because I felt everything around me was so odoriferous. My husband, bless his soul, knew that we would have lunch together so had quickly cooked up something. He instructed me to heat up the veggies, dal and rice and left for work.
Well as I have mentioned, pregnant or not, nauseous or not, I get harebrained in the kitchen and do everything I shouldn’t.
So after a great chat over tea, thankfully that concoction went off well, we decided to have lunch. Debby was quite excited to know that my husband was being so very kind and understanding, cooking for not just me but my friend too. Though I said thank you to her in my mind I mumbled that he didn’t have much of an option here.
So Debby helped me lay the table while I was heating up the food. Though I was heating up the veggies and dal in the microwave, I decided to heat the rice on the gas stove, to speed the process. A big mistake!
I took the food out of the microwave and put it on the very well set up table, thanks to Debby. I was admiring her skill and was just telling her how I would’nt bother to do put the fork and spoon so neatly lined by on the mat by the plate. Debby also gave me some tips on how to set the napkins in a very decorative manner. Thanks to my over sensitive olfactory nerves I smelled something not very comely. I remembered my rice on the gas stove. I dashed for it and as I peeked in I heaved a sigh of relief that I didnt burn it. But my releif was soon over when I started puting it out on a serving bowl. There were little burns at the very bottom, though not much but it had started to char. I scraped those out and kept the fresh looking ones on the serving bowl. But let me tell you with rice even if there is a slight burn the smell emanates throughout. I was so embarassed. I was wondering what to do, when Debby came in and took the serving bowl full of rice and set it up on the table. I just stood there like a dummy not knowing what to do.
I served her and took a spoonful for myself. Debby tasted the food and had the most satisfying of expressions on her face. She was overwhlemed with all the aroma and the taste. According to her she had never had such devine vegetables in her life.
‘Your husband is a fantastic cook she yelped. And how did he get this flavour to the rice. Yumm, its delicious. It tastes like roasted nuts. What secret ingredient did he add to it’
I almost choked on my food, secret ingredient to the Roasted Nuts flavoured rice!! I just smiled and munched on and begged forgiveness from all the Gods above for serving this roasted nuts flavoured rice to my unsuspecting guest.
But then all’s well that ends well. We did end up having a wonderful lunch with the roasted nuts rice and a great time together.