She wanted to make Dahi Murg today. From that Madhur Jaffrey book sitting on her dresser. The one she had checked out from the local library three months back and never renewed or returned.
The book was a treasure of good life made better with excellent food. She wished she had that kind of life, the kind spiced up with green mangoes sprinkled with red chili powder, the one rich and sensuous like the Chicken korma on Page 123, the flirty kind with a dance or two and spicy bazaar wale aloo on the side.
But no, here she was doing her second laundry of the day, while folding the first neatly. Then she had to clean the kitchen, the breakfast mess from morning and vacuum the family room. By 9 she had to be out to her job where all she did was sit in a small cubicle and enter data on a dumb screen. 8 hours of that sterile environment and her was numb by the time the clock said 5:30.
The only interesting part of the day was the half hour lunch break when she could sample Cathy's ravioli, Sujata's rawa idli and discuss Ingrid's non-existent love life. The days the girls praised her aloo-paratha or drooled over her butter chicken life seemed a lot better though. Her kohl bereft eyes shone as they praised her cooking prowess.
They would ask her the recipe in details. How many onion, chopped or sliced, paste or not, red or white... so many questions. She would preen secretly and patiently answer. Her voice glided from dull to sensuous while explaining the onion's color and shape. With a sparkle in her eye, she could go into details about how exactly the oil separating from the masala should look and what it meant to beat an egg white to stiffness.
Today though nothing like that happened. No one said a word about her aloo-gobi. Instead they praised the Swiss chocolates Ingrid's boyfriend had got. She finished her lunch in a short fifteen minute span and went back to sit in front of her screen. "No point talking to these girls and wasting time", she thought to herself . She would rather go home 15 minute early and start on that Dahi Murg.
It was almost dark by the time she returned home. After school, she had to take Nutan for karate and Rakesh for his ballet lessons. Everyday there was some chore or other to be done after work and finally when she could plonk herself on the couch with a cup of tea she would be totally out. Today she sat at her exact spot, her back resting against the arm rest, her feet stretched out, her fingers flipping through Jaffrey's "Climbing the Mango Trees". Yes, there was Dahi Murg, Chicken in a Yogurt Sauce on Page 134. She read and re-read the one page recipe, raising a eyebrow there, furrowing a forehead here.
"10 cloves of Garlic. Ahhh, now that sure is much. What was Madame Jaffrey thinking ?", she called out loud. The children used to such ramblings didn't turn a head and continued their work.
"Some Kasoori Methi would deepen the flavor in this dish, I am sure. And cashew paste, yes that would be perfect. I will see how Sujata will ignore my Dahi Murg tomorrow", she said with a steely determination in her voice.
She then flipped her phone and pulled up the Address Book.
D -- for Desi Khana...naah they don't do non-veg.
G -- Ghar ka Khana ...their aloo-gobi today was a total failure.
H -- Hardeb Home Delivery...now this was a guy who could deliver. His Shahi Egg Masala on Tuesday was so delicious that Cathy had asked in an incredulous voice " How can you cook such difficult dishes after a long day ?". She had smiled and doled out Cathy some more of the Masala.
She quickly pressed Hardeb's number. Hardeb on the other side was clearly pleased to hear his regular and connoisseur customer's voice.
"Dahi Murg? Sure Madam. Tomorrow by 8 we will deliver at your home", Hardeb's greasy voice said. "Yes, yes, Kasoori Methi and Cashew paste Madam. No, no Kari Patta.Sure Ma'm. Thank You Ma'm"
She took a deep breath. She could smell the slender sticks of cinnamon and the dark, rough, tiny peppercorns dancing in the hot oil. The Dahi Murg was going to be lovely. Hardeb had never failed her.
Tomorrow she would explain to Sujata what exactly needs to be done so that the Dahi, the Yogurt does not break in the gravy.
This is my entry for Of Chalks and Chopsticks hosted by Jaya @ Desi Soccer Mom and started by Aqua.
My Ma used to make a Doi Murgi -- a Chicken in yogurt sauce, long time back. Her recipe was based on the Doi Maach. I somehow never made it. Many years later I saw a Dahi Murg in Jaffrey's book which reminded me of my Ma's Doi Murgi. In between these episodes, Bong Working Mom had mentioned a Doi Murgi/Doi Chicken in her comments which I vaguely remembered.This recipe is an amalgamation of all the above recipes. I loved the addition of Kasoori Methi that BWM introduced and I really think it adds a wonderful flavor to this dish. You can skip Kasoori Methi and Cashew for Madhur Jaffrey's version.