This is pretty much my first and last word on the subject of cooking. Spoken by my cooking guru Amlan Mukherjee (who has since given up on cooking, and now lives on home grown pumpkins and hungry-man frozen meals). . .rarely have greater pearls of wisdom been handed down the generations.
Overhead almost for all dishes: (will be refered to as Ingredient x). Everything marked with a star (*) is optional.
1. Chop onions... (as fine as your laziness permits... finer the faster
they get cooked)
2. Chop main ingredient (this could be fish, meat, other veggies) This
is what you would call your dish, in case someone asks you what you have
3. Assimilate about 1-1/2 tsp full of haldi, laal mirch, jira powder,
dhanya powder, garam masala. (vary proportions to experiment on
taste...but typically all these go into whatever you cook)
4. Jira (cumin) seeds (about 3-4 pinches)
5. Rye (mustard) seed (about 1-2 pinches)
6. Tomatoes (chopped fine) (1 small for 1 big onion) *
7. Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Bay Leaves*
8. Vegetable oil (amt: depending on your health)
9. Ginger and garlic paste * (usually half a tea spoon... creates
pungence... a definite for non-vegetarian dishes... optional for veg
dishes... only ginger paste may be used for veg dishes)
10. chopped halapeno *** (at your own risk)
1. Heat oil (test oil temp by dropping 1 cumin seed. if it crackles
open then oil is ready)
2. put in Ingredient 7 into hot oil (cloves et al.) and wait for about
10 secs... look for crackling with loud report (optional step)
3. put in Ingredient 4 and 5 and fry for about 10-15 secs... be careful
to fry them but not to burn them.
4. put in all onions...(and ingredient 10 if you so desire) and reduce
heat to medium-high. Keep stirring and frying till onions turn light
brown in color.
5. after onions turn mildly brown... put in Ingredient 9 (ginger
et.al.) if you want to... and fry till onions are golden brown
6. put in Ingredient 3 + salt to taste (put in half tsp at this point
and adjust later)
7. fry for about 30 sec to 1 min
8. put in chopped tomatoes.. keep stirring and frying the whole thing
till it becomes mashy and forms a gravy... if you make a separation and the
oil sepaprates from the gravy you know that your gravy is ready.
9. now you put in Ingredient 2 (your main ingredient) and fry for about
a minute in gravy.
10. If you are cooking meat... Then first add water to submerger meat
and then on medium high heat keep stirring and cooking meat in the
gravy for at least 10-15 minutes till water evaporates to desired consistency
or at least till meat takes on deep brown cooked color (ideally you should
marinate the meat from before).
If you are cooking vegetables which don't need boiling or vegetables
which are already boiled, then add the vegetables to the gravy... with very
little water and simmer for a while till you reach necessary
consistency and salt content. Vegetables which need boiling will proceed in the
same way as meat... water + simmer cook till veggies are boiled (typically
If you are cooking meat... same process as meat, but you don't need to
add too much water... fish is soft, and does not need intensive
11. Check for salt... and serve hot.
12. season with correander leaves.
Meat/fish may be marinated in following:
1. 1-2 tbsp of plain curd
2. Ingredient 3
3. some lime juice
5. Any optional sauces (teriyaki, stir fry, NOT KETCHUP, sweet and sour