The best thing about getting married, it seemed, was getting my own kitchen as the folks at home had never been happy about my cooking and baking pursuits.
Getting my own kitchen, however, did not mean anything fancy. We had a small, portable, one-burner stove and that was it. I had all my cookbooks, of course, and maybe it was during some festival or the other that I hit upon the idea of making something new and unusual to distribute to my kind neighbours.
Being the feminist that I was, I had prepared The Spouse to expect him to pull his weight in the house and that evening saw both of us kneading one kilo of maida (white flour) and some rawa (semolina), rolling it out, rolling it up, cutting it into bits and folding it all over again and pinning it with a clove, frying it in oil and dunking it in sugar syrup to make some confection called Lavang Latika (LL).
"No way, I'm not going through with this, you shouldn't have used so much flour," said The Spouse.
"I can only follow recipes, and recipes are not mathematics that you can just halve or quarter them," I retorted. Actually, I'd never kneaded anything before, so the whole process was new to me, but it was thrilling, because there was something exotic to look forward to. Huffing and puffing, we managed to tame the dough to the best of our ability and fried the whole thing, almost running out of containers to house the LLs. The smoke and the smell of oil lingered for days after that and my kneading experiments stopped as soon as they began.
It was only post matrimony that I learnt to cook ordinary, everyday food, often going off certain foods for weeks because I'd cooked them so badly and couldn't shake off those memories. Today's recipe is a simple one devised out of the need to use up some frozen sweet corn, coriander and some shredded cabbage I got from the store.
Cabbage, chopped: 2 cups
Sweet corn, fresh/frozen and thawed: 3/4 cup
Oil: 1-2 tsp
Mustard seed: 1 tsp
Cumin: 1 tsp
Chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric: a pinch
Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
Coriander, chopped: 1/2 cup
In a pan, heat the oil. Pop the mustard and then the cumin.
On a low flame, add the cabbage and stir fry. Cover and let it cook for a while. Don't let it wilt too much.
Now add the salt. Add the corn, mix.
Cover and cook some more, till it softens just enough to your liking.
Add the chilli powder, mix well. Take it off the fire.
Sprinkle the garam masala, add the chopped coriander.
Cabbage Stir+fry Vegetarian Sweet corn