Just when I was mastering the art of identifying the identical twins in the kitchen- cumin and coriander powder-, my youngest brother in law dropped the bomb by calling us to let us know that he would be spending a weekend with us!! I drafted a menu with attention to every detail and prayed to all the culinary gods but on the first day at dinner time, our whole house smelled of stinking flower, garlic!!! No, I wasn’t making roasted garlic soup….I was venturing to make a simple paneer masala and to my utter embarrassment it turned out to be my signature garlic paneer!!!! Those days I was under the impression that the more you add the base ingredients, the tastier it would be!! There started the realization that there is a concept of balancing the flavours!
Ohh…how could I forget our first visit to the local farmer’s market??? I showed utmost care in picking out the fresh veggies and everything was going fine until I reached the man selling green chillies. Very casually, with confidence oozing out of my face, I asked the seller in my broken tamil, “Annaa….oru kilo milaku kodunge”. The man just stared at me as though I was talking some foreign language. Thinking that he was having trouble deciphering my anglicized tamil, I made one more attempt, this time in English, “Annaa….1 kilo green chillies” ……….the man was still speechless…..and the way CJJ turned and glanced at me, made me realize that there was something wrong…….so this time, I asked “….1/2 kilo green chillies”. At that moment I noticed a grin on the face of the seller and I was still puzzled. Luckily, before I humiliated myself more, CJJ came to rescue and asked the man to pack 100gm chillies and whispered into my ears,” Did you have any plans to make Biryani for hundred people……??” hmm…..I don’t think that would even pass the rookie mistake category!
Well, these are a couple episodes from my initial days of cooking. Luckily, my learning curve was quite steady and progressive. I really began to believe that blunders in the kitchen were a thing of the apprentice training until last month when we visited a meat shop in Chicago. At the counter, they had lined up an assortment of meats and there was a tray with different organ meats. With my standard “I-know-everything” look, I asked the person in the counter, pointing to the tray of organ meats, “I need some liver….is that lamb liver or mutton liver?” . At that moment I noticed a puzzled look …the same look I saw on the face of the green chilly seller years ago and then he softly pointed his fingers and said, “ those are kidneys…..the one at the end is goat liver”!!!!!!!
When do I stop my making such blunders????? How many more to this list??? I don’t know!!!
Ingredients for Mutton Liver Fry:
- ½ kg Mutton (Goat) Liver , washed and diced into small pieces
- 1 ½ tsp Coriander powder
- ½ tsp red chilly powder
- ¾ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp homemade masala Powder/Garam Masala
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- Salt to taste
- 2tbsp water
- ¾ cup small red pearl onion/shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 Indian green chillies, slit lengthwise
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp homemade Masala Powder/Garam Masala
- 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp ghee
- Marinate liver with powdered spices, ginger garlic paste and salt and leave it on the kitchen counter for 10-15 minutes.
- Place the marinated liver in a small pan and sprinkle water and cover with a lid. Heat this on medium-high heat for the first 4 minutes and then once the liver starts to produce water, reduce the heat to low. Let it cook for another 4-5 minutes in low heat. Once the meat is almost cooked, turn off the stove.
- In another shallow pan, heat coconut oil and sauté thinly sliced small red pearl onions/shallots and green chillies, till the edges start to turn golden colour. To this add the ‘almost done’ mutton liver and blend with the onion base. If it is too dry at this stage, add one or two tablesppon of water. Now sprinkle ½ tsp pepper powder and ½ tsp masala powder and tear a sprig of curry leaves and let it cook/roast in low flame; Stir often to make sure that the masala does not stick to the pan. Now do a taste-test and check if the liver is cooked and still soft. If the meat is at the right stage of doneness, slide everything to one side of the pan and on the other side, pour 1 tbsp ghee, wait for 30 seconds and then bring the liver masala to the centre and blend well. Tear the second sprig of curry leaves, add to the Liver Fry. These finishing touches gives a hint of richness and fragrance to the entire dish. Turn off the stove and let it rest for 30 minutes before serving. Goes well with yogurt/ ground coconut base curries.
Before I sign off, let me ask you………Have you ever been in such shameless situations? If you have any interesting kitchen blunders, please comfort me without your stories :)