My son cooks well.

I can’t.

All I can do in the kitchen is pop slices into the toaster and leave them there until Specky, my wife, shrieks, ‘Something is burning!’ Well, I can also prepare really whacky kheer – whacky because I impulsively choose any food grade colour in the larder and put in a few drops to get red or blue or even fluorescent green kheer! And believe me, it tastes heavenly. This isn’t all. Besides omelettes and fried eggs I can also prepare raita and this too is special as I am one of those who will experiment with a medley of masalas available to me and will use a judicious combo of salt, rock salt, sugar, ground black pepper, and ground roasted jeera. You’ll probably say, ‘Quite a few of us do this.’ Well, I also use masala boondi… but only when the raita is to be served and without soaking it in water! So what I end up with is a fashionably crunchy form of chatpata boondi raita!

Now this surely doesn’t sound like any of the things that Jamie Oliver prepares. I say this because my son said this when he was here last. He is an architect who is right now in London… and yes, he does prepare some heavenly dishes that are so new to the Indian palate and so like the stuff that Jamie teaches everyone! No wonder then that I began calling my son ‘our own Jamie from Delhi’.

Well, Jamie… oops! Pushkin, my son, is going to be here soon and I have a brilliant idea to bring back the charm of Kitchens of India for him.

‘And how do you think you’ll impress Pushkin?’ asked Specky.

I said, ‘It’s simple. My creative brain tells me that I’d love to prepare pasta with moong ki dal and with a generous dose of pure unadulterated Indian spices that his palate may have by now forgotten.’

‘That’s all?’

I looked at her in mild irritation and replied, ‘No, that’s not all. I plan to have a variety of Indian breads in addition to the French croissant to go a selection from Kitchens of India. This, by the way, is just the food.’

‘Well, what else are you planning?’

I told her that I was planning a party for a select group of his friends on the terrace of our block of flats. We live in a multi-storey block of apartments and the terrace has two huge blocks of almost 150 ft x 75 ft connected by narrower areas around the lift construction. My plan was to invite my friends who had a street theatre group to come and join us and also give a performance.

She was happy with the inclusion of a play and asked, ‘What will they perform?’

‘Well, I was discussing this plan with them and they tell me that they have a lovely half hour street play on the need for our children paying attention to Indian traditions.’

‘Seems to be a nice robust issue,’ she said.

Well, the play would not need a stage nor advanced stage props. They would get a couple of Indian musical instruments that will give the right sound bytes for their presentation that will be interactive. I said, ‘I’m sure this interactive bit will keep Pushkin and his friends actively involved with the play and besides the learning, they just might make new friends who are creative performers.’

Seeing Specky nod her head in appreciation I knew it was time now to tell her of my selection from the gourmet product range from Kitchens of India.

I quoted Audrey Niffenegger who had said:

Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers no resistance, as though the world is your natural element.

I showed her the list I had created on my laptop:

Vegetable Biryani Mix

I said, ‘This would have a mildly spiced gravy and remain as close as possible to the traditional flavour that any delectable vegetable biryani would aim to give. Obviously, we will ensure the best long-grained rice is added and garden-fresh vegetables are chosen for this dish.’

I could see that my wife a trifle surprised to hear me talk so fluently about cooking, but hazarded a guess, ‘This Kitchens of India site seems to have awakened the dormant chef in you!’ I smiled and said, ‘Now look at my second choice.’

Mirch Ka Salan

She exclaimed, ‘What! You’ve chosen mirch for him? Who is going to prepare this?’

I said, ‘Don’t worry. We’ll get enough packs. The site specifies that you can just heat and eat it. Read the description that Kitchens of India give. You’ll be impressed.’

Mirch Ka Salan – An extravagant delicacy made from succulent green chillies, delicately cooked in thick gravy of roasted peanuts, almonds and sesame seeds. Just Heat & Eat!

I told her that Kitchens of India gave you a choice of ‘masala mixes’, ‘ready to dine’ range, and a great selection of conserves and chutneys. I then added, ‘They also give you a choice of delicious sweat dishes. But we’ll come to that later.’ My third choice was again a ‘ready to dine’ dish:

Dal Bukhara

I told her that I would want something besides various dips that I was planning and had chosen one of the conserves that sounded attractive.

Pineapple & Green Pepper Conserve

Pineapple & Green Pepper Conserve

Pineapple & Green Pepper Conserve

‘The sweetness of fresh, juicy pineapples blended with the pleasant pungency of green pepper will be great with French croissant!’ I said.

My wife was again surprised! However, she just asked, What about the sweet dish that you were praising?’

I pointed to the last item in my menu:

Hazoori Petha Halwa

‘This Petha Halwa,’ I said, ‘is a North Indian delicacy made from grated petha, cooked in ghee, milk and khoya, garnished with raisins. And the best part is that even this is a heat-n-eat option!’

Well, our Jamie Oliver is surely going to have a great evening and will love this fantastic re-entry into the world of Indian life-style.

My wife just hummed, ‘I am waiting to see what your friend’s street theatre troupe plans.’

Kitchens of India - options available

Kitchens of India – options available


This post is an entry submitted for the ‘My Weekend Party with Gourmet Food’ on Indiblogger and sponsored by Kitchens of India.

...and I became a chef for my son!

…and I became a chef for my son!


This post won a prize on indiblogger:

2013_indiblogger_My weekend Gourmet Party


Arvind Passey
21 June 2013