All I need is a little aubergine…

13 April 2011

Do you recognize this quote? It is from the out-of-this-world, fantastic comedy series Goodness Gracious Me If you dont know it, there is heaps of stuff on YouTube. Stuff like this:

Why do I write about yet another comedy? Because I love eating dal (also spelled dhal, daal or dahl), a typical Indian dish based on lentils, with all sorts of spices and eaten all over India (and the UK 🙂 of course), every day, by many, many people. If you’ve ever watched Goodness Gracious Me, you will remember the catch phrase “this dal is fantastic“, uttered by some prude Indian man whenever he found himself in delicate situations. (This man was eating dal ALL the time) … Now I can proudly say “this dal is fantastic!” myself, everyday and independently of any embarrassing situations, because now, at last I can make dal myself!! Well, sort of. Yesterday I met up with a Indian friend and she showed me how to cook a proper dal. It looked really easy and the food was delicious. She kindly supplied me with fresh green chilis, curry leaves, asafoetida powder (apparently you can’t make dal without this, I had never heard of it before…) and some spices. And today I cooked my first dal. It turned out NOT to be same as an authentic Indian dal — in my panic trying to remember at what point in the process to add the cumin seeds, the curry leaves and the black mustard seeds, I burnt the onions. I used the wrong kind of lentils and did not add enough water. Luckily I remembered to wash my hands thoroughly after chopping the chili… This spared me red eyes and burning lips for the rest of day. Having said that, the end result wasn’t too bad. Lucy loved it, I liked it and Linus ate it. You can’t ask for more really. I will try again tomorrow with Toor Dhal lentils (these are pre-soaked in oil when you buy them). I am sure they will give my dal a lovely creamy texture. Today, I also had an email from my friend telling me in which order to proceed, so I’ve got the order of cooking covered for my next attempt. No need to panic. Rolf is really looking forward to tomorrow’s dal. But the man has been fasting: it is day 5 without food for him today. He will eat again as of tomorrow evening and I am sure, ANYTHING will taste delicious to him 🙂 . So I feel no pressure whatsoever. I will cook another dal, try not to burn the onions and throw in the ingredients in the correct order. My next challenge will be making chapati. With regards to cooking dal and making chapati, I will apply these three principles as of NOW:

1. “I can do that at home, all I need is a little aubergine…” (Goodness Gracious Me)
2. “No excuses, no explanations” (Julia Child in the film Julie/Julia –if you like cooking, watch it, it’s fun!)
3. “DON’T PANIC”( D. Adams: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

PS: If you know where I can find a large blackboard, please drop me a line…


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