Last week Abboo walked into the house with two kilos of chicken and immediately declared, “Aaj karahi mayn banaunga”.
Come cooking time. The chicken has been washed and pots and pans laid out for Abboo to begin. He walks into the chicken, I mean kitchen, and tells Ammi to chop him two grand onions. Ammi tells me to go get the onions and peel them, then chops them up neatly for Abboo to begin.
Abboo puts oil in the pot and starts cooking the onions. “Tehminaaaaa!! Please fetch me the garlic and ginger paste”, I run out from the middle of a great movie and hand Abboo the required things. “Now put a tablespoon of each into the pot”, which I do as well, and run back to the movie.
Thinking this is probably all the help Abboo needs, Ammi and I slip out of the kitchen. Next thing we know, we hear a shout, “Aray yeh garam masala kahan rakha hay?“. Ammi goes, takes out the spices and puts them in before he can ask her to. Next is my turn, “Beta fridge mayn say dahi aur timatar to laa do. Aur han timatar kaat bhi dena”. Off to the fridge again, take the yogurt, take out the tomatoes, give Abboo the yoghurt, wash tomatoes, dice tomatoes, put tomatoes in the pan, take the yogurt out of the plastic “theli”, and whip the yogurt, then put in the yogurt as well. Phew! Run back to the movie.
Just at the climax, I hear, “Hari mirchen kahan hayn?“. Hoping Ammi will listen this time I keep watching. Again I hear, “Hari mirchen kahan hayn?” I sigh, get up and get the green chillies. “Beta please chop them as well”, the very words I have been dreading to hear. Girding my loin and hoping that may be this time the chili will not burn my fingers for days on, I chop them. Put them in the pot. Wash my hands and run back to the movie. The movie has finished.
“Beta ji!” I run back to the kitchen. “I have put everything in the pot. When the chicken is tender and the water has dried your Karahi will be ready. Just keep stirring it once in every five minutes”. Abboo walks out and takes charge of the TV.
I wait for five minutes, then stir the pot. Wait five minutes, and stir the pot. I do this six times. Ammi finally arrives, marches into the kitchen opens the pot-lid. I slip out of the kitchen till Ammi shouts, “Tehminaaaa!! Do the dishes will you?” I walk back to the kitchen and do the dishes.
Come lunch time. The Karahi is surprisingly delicious. Too many chefs spoil the broth? Wrong. Abboo likes it too. “Aglay haftay karelay banaunga, kesa?”