I always loved food. But due to various disturbances during my growing up years, I stopped cooking. I wasn’t interested to know more about food and I lost my curiosity that spawned during my childhood years. I stayed away from cooking as much as I could. What I did not discover (until later) that that cooking or that inquisitiveness about food could help me recover from a very dull and extremely difficult life.
After graduating from High School, I went to college. Life was easy until me and my roommate moved to an apartment where we had to do our own cooking. I knew very few things to cook and she couldn’t cook at all.
We started eating the same things day after day. Either we would eat outside or same Dal Chawal (Lentils and Rice) at home. Finally, we got some time off from college and we decided to visit our hometowns.
After that holiday, everything changed.
My roomie had learnt cooking from her mother and gave me a detailed idea on how to make different lentils and beans. We started using that technique and Voila! We had various dishes.
I was ushered into an unknown world of North Indian food where there was a humongous variety of dishes using almost the same spices and vegetables/meat.
I started cooking north Indian dishes like Kali Daal (Dal Makhani- A preparation of Black Lentils), Dal Tadka, Aloo Gobi Tamatar (Cauliflower and Potatoes in Tomato Gravy), Butter Chicken (Chicken cooked in creamy tomato gravy) and many more though they were more of a experiment then real cooking. I worked my way into knowing my spices when I started cooking these things and only after I knew the flavor and aroma, I could juggle them and try them in my dishes making them better with time.
I couldn’t stop myself from staying in the kitchen, exploring various things that even in my most dull moments brought me some happiness. I loved being in the kitchen because it makes me happy. Everyday I would try to cook something new. I think the best recipe during those years (2005,2006 and half of 2007) was Chole (Chick peas or Garbanzo Beans). I used dried beans that was soaked over night and I used a medley of spices to make amazing chole. The base was tomato and onions that I fried in a flavorless oil. I still cook it and it reminds me of those amazing experiment years.
It gives immense pleasure when someone compliments about the food that you cook. I would say that the years I spent away from my family were very fruitful in terms of learning to cook varieties of food.
If it not had been for my roomate, I would still be oblivious to the beautiful and mesmerizing world of north Indian food.