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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The cooking experiment

My cooking experience was limited to making tea, cofee , roasting papads and making maggi noodles (indian instant 2 minute noodles). I started cooking two weeks before my US trip. My overprotective mother decided to give me a crash course in cooking with ample help from her four sisters. My grandmother pitched in too.. In two weeks they decided to create the "cooking monster" ! I still have the recipe notes my aunt wrote for me for most of the common south indian gravy and side dishes. It even included recipes for some special treats that are made during religious functions.

Their cooking monster was mostly a "cookie monster" after arriving in the States. Anyone worth his taste buds knows that pretty soon the craving for masala starts. After living on cheese pizza and coffee from the roadside truck near my graduate student office (a greek food truck on 32nd street in Philadelphia ) and realizing that none of the pants that I got specially stiched fit me (30 to 34" in 4 months !) it was time to get back to indian roots.

My roomate was worried about bulging at the seams too... so we started cooking and experimenting extensively.. to this mix we add experimental results from our classmates across the United States and we have "The graduate Student Cookbook "

It is my humble opinion that "Healthy Tasty Indian food" is an oxymoron. The tasty stuff is usually full of clarified butter and spice that either clogs your arteries or eats up your stomach lining and is guarnteed to reduce your life expectancy. I am surprised that there are no surgeon General warnings on Indian Masala packets sold in american grocery stores saying :

"WARNING : Continued use of this substance can cause Stomach and Liver damage and potential death"

Any attempts to make it healthy ends up being bland. But once in a while, you come up with some good stuff which is marginal on the health part or the taste part. Recently, I made a vegetable curry that was healthy and on the tastier side. Will post the recipe soon..


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