Why I Didn’t Do the Obvious- Part 2

For reasons 1-5 read this

6. I made a good number of tasty meals where I threw in various odds and ends and just did some free-wheeling with them. The results were good, but since they were rather spontaneous acts of inspiration, I did not take notes…ahem! But of course, if you are an experienced cook, you could take the ideas and take them somewhere tasty.

Exhibit 1.


These are rolls made of rice paper (purchased on an impulse from an Asian store) stuffed with multi-coloured carrots, bell-peppers and herbs. The sauces are soy sauce and a sweet chilli sauce. That grilled chicken is leftover from the previous day’s dinner. The rolls are pretty and fun to eat and my son loved them. Super easy to make too!

Exhibit 2:


These pretty leaves (probably baby swiss chard but I don’t remember) looked so captivating that I had to purchase a big bag from the organic store. I had fun making things out of them that did not melt them to a mush, like the rolls above and the warm pasta salad below:


Making this was easy. Some left-over cooked fettuccine from previous night’s dinner (warmed up by putting them in a strainer and pouring boiling water over them), some canned tuna, some spoons of canned tomatoes, all tossed together with some olive oil, salt, pepper. The results were pretty tasty and satisfying!

Exhibit 3:


This was my take on a very traditional kadhi-pakora from the north, made on a day when I felt unusually enthusiastic about cooking a healthy and substantial meal just for me. I guess being sick for a few days and not having anything reasonable to eat does that sometimes. I made little fritters of chick-pea flour (a.k.a besan pakoras), spluttered some mustard seeds in oil, added a mixture of yogurt, besan and water to it, let it cook until it thickened. The pakoras are added at the end and allowed to simmer until they are nice and plump. And I sneaked in some bits of veggie that were languishing in the fridge – not at all a traditional move! To go with it, I cooked some pearl-millet. The traditional accompaniment is rice though. I was stuffed and totally happy :-). Plan to recreate this in a more organized manner and get back to you.

Exhibit 4:


That bread (a.k.a paratha) was made from a hodge-podge of ingredients that I will not confuse you with. Accompanied by a scramble of eggs, spinach, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Yup, you are right, operation “clean out the fridge” was on! But the results were pretty good. Reminds me that I made more breads or parathas and what not in the past weeks, but neglected to take pictures or notes (because sometimes the brain went what’s the point?!). That just means that I will have to make them again and get back to you.

Exhibit 5:


This was an inspired take on a cabbage dish that my mother used to make very frequently when cabbage was in season during winter. I sauteed the cabbage with cumin and ginger and cooked rice in it. The fish was simply dry rubbed with simple spices and shallow fried. It was a delicious meal and one that I will make again and share more details about.

To be continued…