On food and cooking!

I love cooking. I don’t consider myself a good cook, but rather a guy who cooks good. I can’t whip up a four-course meal or a dainty gourmet dish, leave alone know the difference between the two, but I put effort in my work and I’m hardly ever disappointed with the results.

One of my most admired chef is Kylie Kwong, not that I memorize any of her recipes, or have learnt to create anything she did. The most important thing I learnt from her is cooking with the heart and soul, that whatever you make on the kitchen table should be done with utmost care. The food deserves respect.

My first attempt at cooking was at New Delhi. I was staying at my aunt’s place alone, all of them had gone home for the summer. I started with oil, spices and chicken, and ended up with burnt pieces of black meat. I think the rats made a good meal of it, at least it served its purpose as a dinner.

After my move to Pune, I learnt the art of cooking with a pressure cooker, and its amazing. All you need to do is to put the meat in it, add spices, masala, ginger, garlic, onions, soya, etc… whatever you want, and pour half a glass of water (If the meat retains too much water, not required). The cooking time depends on the type of meat you’re cooking and that knowledge comes with experience. Beef and pork – 45 Mins or more and chicken – 30 mins. Make sure you put the flame on low after the first whistle or when the cooker starts making some sound. After the meat is cooked, if there’s extra or too much water, just heat everything up in a frying pan till the liquid evaporates. Try it once, it works everytime.

Cooking is a real stress-buster for me. I spend my weekend evenings stirring with one hand and beer on the other. Its not that I have guests over much, but I just like to pamper myself over a good meal. I’d like to think that I deserve the treat, ‘cos on weekdays, I eat too much junk food, Maggi mostly, and 2pm which is actually great ‘cos it kinda tastes like Wai-wai in a place where you don’t get any.

Finally, we’ve been eating out pretty frequent recently, yet I would always prefer a good home-cooked meal to anything I may get from any retaurant or diners. After all, nothing beats rice, dal and fried meat alongwith some spicy chutney. Nothing satisfies my hunger more than that. No Pizza, no burger, no KFC, no nothing compares to it.  So there!


7 Responses to “On food and cooking!”

  1. 1 gkhiangte
    March 4, 2009 at 1:13 am

    i can’t say i am a good cook. i can ‘cook’ noodles. seriously, i love mizo food ‘specially all the so called grandmother food– bai, hrui zik, ratuai, etc etc–more than any american or italian food. i just don’t understand how ppl can have pizzas for dinner! i mean, is that even food? i love all things mizo..i’m not a such a meat person but i can eat it. but i cant eat dogs. i will never. i just feel that it crosses the limit..check out this link on the article “dogs for dinner” http://www.downtoearth.org.in/

    i also feel that people in Mizoram should just serve pure original mizo food to whoever comes there to visit..why should foreigners want to eat mash potatoes, french fries or pizzas in our place when they already have that in their place..they want to taste ethnic food peculiar to the region as part of their adventurous journey.

    anyways, its cool to scribble some pent up emotions on ya blog sorry..

  2. 2 chhamanator
    March 4, 2009 at 2:58 am

    Hey dude, I’ve always thought of you as a guy who loves good cooking. I have a multipurpose frying pan, half a liter of cooking oil, an electric stove, one onion and 1 kilo of potato. Please give me some recipe for something good.

  3. 3 NotGood
    March 4, 2009 at 5:32 am

    @Chham: Now thats something you probably won’t find a recipe for in google.. 😛 Seriously tho’, heres some suggestions:
    1. Mashed potatoes with fried onions
    2. Deep fried potatoes with raw onion
    3. Potato with gravy
    In fact, just throw everything in the pan, cover it and hope for the best!

  4. 4 NotGood
    March 4, 2009 at 8:23 am

    @Gkhiangte: Your comments were caught up in the spam queue, sorry it took some time to realise.
    I agree with serving foreigners with traditional food. We worry so much about whether they would like our style of making meat or vegetables or whatever, when they should be the ones to worry if they would insult us by not liking our food.
    And yes, I’m sure they would love all the stinky fermented stuff we so love and consider it a great part of Mizo cuisine… If not, who cares, it still tastes awesome!

  5. 5 ruolngulworld
    March 4, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    My wife (who’s an exceptionally good cook) and I have an arrangement whereby I get to cook lunch on Sundays. Except for this, I’m basically banned from the kitchen. Lucky me 🙂 But I do occasionally get to practice my culinary skills when she’s out/sick/busy or just too tired from taking care of us. I basically stick to dal which my kids and I love (if not for wifey who hates dal, I, and my kids, would have dal with every meal).
    Though I rarely get the chance, I do occasionally get to cook meat also. As long as I don’t burn them, they turn out pretty decent. In fact, I love the dishes that I cook and, though my family don’t usually share my feelings, I always think I’ve done full justice to the hole they burn in my pocket especially here in Japan where the cheapest meat costs Yen 99 per 100 grams (1 $ = 97 Yen) – for some reason (probably because they eat so little, unlike us who normally have just two basic items on the table – a full pot of meat and rice which we then proceed to eat till the pot is empty or we are completely satiated, or, maybe, quoting the price in kgs would be too frightening), the basic price is always quoted in 100 grams, not kgs.
    I’ve also always wondered why we feel ashamed of our own original food when they are so good. The Japs make their own fermented soya beans (bekan-thu, in Hmar) which they call ‘natto’. It smells and tastes the same as ours, except that its so sticky that it always reminds me of ‘something’ and I end up almost puking every time. Ours, which is not so sticky (especially the dried ones) are way better. And, they don’t even know how to eat it, seriously. They just add a dash of soya sauce and eat it, just like that! No mixing it with some nice roasted dry chilly with, maybe, a sprinkling of onion. Just the natto and a dash of soya sauce!
    I’ve often thought of how nice it would be to have a good high-end restaurant serving all our Mizo original dishes in big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, etc. Everything would be so different from the usual fare available and I’m sure there would be regular customers for them. Someday, maybe…..

  6. 6 Makima
    March 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    I remember the Delhi days when I came to stay briefly, before you learnt the art of using a pressure cooker or making dal. I think I left a big pot of dal to last a week for you.

    Cooking with a beer in hand must be one of the best things in the world. Let’s hope the Americans don’t file for a patent. I’m not sure if my non-mizo friends really like my cooking or just flatter me to do the dirty work… but I don’t mind. I’ve made them eat vawksa rep, bekang, savun bawl, nghapih, saum, dawlrep, behlawi and all sorts of bai etc etc… to positive reviews. And the fire dried and crushed mizo chilli flakes are highly revered… simply referred to as POWER.

    One thing I’ve always wished for is to gather a group of friends in a resort (or an understanding household) and get everyone to cook or help out… with beer of course. Let’s hope that day will come soon.

  7. 7 NotGood
    March 5, 2009 at 3:36 am

    I agree with you 100%, I love what I cook, more than anyone else.. but I guess that kinda makes me a critic on others’ cooking, but I know I’ve been beaten when I dine on a well-cooked BAI, I’m no bai-expert. My sympathies for the sorry state of meat there, it’s even more horrifying when you convert the $$ to Rs., but meat is slowing becoming scarce back home too, and the prices are like the cost of fuel, when they go up, they hardly come down. Last Xmas, a KG of pork was 160/- but being away from home for so long, I still think its worth it, cos’ I know how tasteless non-mizo pork is, even after its smoked.

    Welcome.. and yes, we will definitely plan that next time round, when beer shoppes open back home and pigs fly in the sky.. hehe.. still remembered the time you came to pune and make fried chicken.. or fricken.. and you refused my offer of beer.. those were the days!!

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