Cooking is a life skill – no it is not the relegated duty of the lady of the house.
It is my belief that everyone should know the basics of cooking – irrespective of gender – if they want to eat healthy, good food. As a child, even if my mother was out of town, my sister and I were never deprived of home cooked food. My father loved cooking and was an excellent cook, as you may already know from here.
I still remember, when my mother went to the US when I was 9, my father was in charge of us and everyday would be a special dinner menu. From gingerbread-man shaped puris to whole course Chinese meals, we would have different cuisines at the dinner table. Till today, whenever I smell onions and carrots sauteing in oil, it reminds me of when I would stand tippy toes at the stove and stir the ingredients together for a Chinese fried rice. And, that is what life skills are about – ensuring that no matter what situation you are in, you have the ability to cook and eat good, healthy food.
I am a home cook – I cook dinner almost every evening and not always do I experiment. Some of the simplest ingredients make up home recipes. So, after several requests from my friends and on Instagram for recipes of the food that I cook on a daily basis, I’ve decided to start talking about them. And, this series called ‘HomeCooked’ is for any person who wants to learn basic recipes for the modern Indian household.
I start with a delicious Spicy Masala Aloo bhaji I learnt from my mother-in-law. It is delicious on its own and goes beautifully with any accompaniment – I love having it with curd rice, but feel free to have it with dal and rice, or even chapatti and bread.
How to buy Potatoes
In India and Dubai, I haven’t found many varieties of potato like they have in the Western Countries. The starchier the potato, the better it is for baking or frying. However, it is the waxy potatoes or the regular medium starch ones that are perfect for Indian preparations like the recipe below. If you go to the market, make sure you speak to your grocer about which is the best potato to use for your recipe.
Choose nice, yellow, firm potatoes – they mustn’t have sprouted or be green anywhere. Green potatoes can be poisonous – so choose them with care.