Who doesn't love making the perfect dish? Not a second overcooked, not a grain of salt extra, not a single ingredient missing. As much as I would like to be the perfect cook, life always has other plans for me! What of inviting a team member home during the graveyard shift, after a 15 hour slog marathon at the office, only to find my dear hostel mates, have finished off everything cooked and uncooked in the kitchen! What of the consistent, unbreakable habit, of entering the kitchen, and then getting possessed by the desire to cook something, I saw somewhere or heard about! What of the defiance -- albeit disapproving clucking of perfectionists -- of cooking WITHOUT making that trip to the store down the street for a critical spice. What of the feeling of the gleeful triumph when the dishes turn out delicious anyway.
Necessity is the mother of all invention. Resourcefulness is divine. Creativity rules. Cooking is a high for those willing to look beyond the obvious! At this point, I must say, that this post is dedicated to some very innovative friends -Prithwis (see yantrajaal), Madhu, & Arindam! We've had many interesting discussions, debates, and experiments with teaching and learning creativity. Arindam had introduced cooking as one of the activities for the creativity workshop in our company, and the title of this post is the same as the name for his activity!
Ginger Butter Nut Squash Kozhambu made with Jahe Wangi - instant Indonesian ginger tea.
1 tbsp of sesame oil
a pinch of asafoetida
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal (black gram)
8 - 10 curry leaves
2 dry red chillies
1/2 a butter nut squash chopped
2 tbsp of tamarind paste
2 cups of water
1 tsp Sambar Powder
Salt to taste
“Mystery ingredient”: 1 sachet of Jahe Wangi - instant Indonesian Ginger Tea
Heat oil. Fry mustard seeds, asafoetida, urad dal. When mustard seeds pop, and dal turns red, add the curry leaves, and broken red chillies and swish. Now tamarind paste, water, sambar powder, salt and boil. Next add the squash, and continue boiling till tender. Add a packet of the tea and boil for few more minutes. Add a little water to desired consistency, as the kozambu should not be very thick like a paste, and neither watery. Serve this with hot cooked white rice and a dollop of ghee!
By the way on that fateful grave yard shift episode - my colleague and I relished bread pizzas with a topping of besan . Read, nothing more than a hastily stirred besan (gram flour) paste with salt and pepper :-(. Since my kind hostel mates had even finished off the last crystal of sugar in the kitchen, I landed up making sweet lassi with Glaxo’s glucose powder from my trekking kit in the rucksack! I think we were too tired and hungry to care, but my colleague insists that it was "not bad at all and in fact quiet delicious" !