Isn’t it funny how when you are asked for a favourite memory, your mind tends to skip over the struggles and focus on the good stuff? Before I got married in 2012 was the period where I was struggling career wise as well as personally. However, it was probably one of the best times ever. My roommate and best friend Pragya and I lived together in a small rented apartment in the quiet neighbourhood of Gamdevi in South Mumbai. This area had been my home since I left the cosiness of my parents house in Salalah, Oman.
In the beginning, like any young person in their early twenties who was done with the curfew and rules of hostel life, we too ended up blowing up a bit too much money on a consistent diet of restaurant food and the cinema. But it all came to a screeching halt within just a month when we realised that this had left a gaping hole in our pockets. That’s when we decided to cook at home – the movies continued and to this remain one of our favourite traditions.
Cooking at home was a revelation for us – for me, to reexplore my horizons and passion – and for Pragya to learn to cook during this period. There were one too many experiments in that kitchen, from a disastrous cheesecake, to great hassleback potatoes, lots of pasta, chapati making, stuffed okra and even baking experiments. As we grew and evolved in those four years together before we both eventually got married, we learned to adapt to each other’s cuisines – she a Marwari and me a CSB.
Many a times, we would come home from college – and later work – ravenous and just waiting to grab a bite. It was on one of those days that the Aloo Methi and Fresh Chapatti combination came about. We’d work together on the dishes, and the moment it was made, we would tear off pieces of the roti, gather some of the vegetable with it and be done eating in 15 minutes flat.
Pragya taught me her mum’s Aloo Methi recipe. Sauteing the potato in spices and topping them with fresh Methi or Fenugreek Leaves and allowing it all to cook in its juices. To this day, the very smell of cumin seeds and hing spluttering in oil with fresh potato b sauteing in it all takes me back to that kitchen and those times. Don’t you absolutely love food memories?