Sometimes it is soft, other times it is hard, most of the times it is sticky as hell. I am talking about chapatti dough. Making chapattis every day, like everything else in life, gets monotonous. First there is the kneading of the dough which is as painful as watching Fast and Furious 7. The worst part is you can’t even take a nap.
Next, you need to make balls. Then roll them out and then you need to put it on a pan which is hot enough. Now, you have to make sure it is properly cooked and not burnt. Who the hell discovered that you need to turn wheat into powder, knead it with water, make balls, roll it and then heat it on a pan? That person deserves to travel in Bangalore at peak hours of traffic. I am sure the algorithm to escape prison has fewer steps.
And to top it all off, you need to make something to go with it. A five letter word – palya (side dish). And when you run out of options, you do only one thing – call your mom.
“Ayyo, aloogadde (potato) playa na? It’s too boring.”
“No, I have tried something new. You have to fry the potatoes first in oil and then make the palya.”
Wow, French fries palya I thought and dived right into it. I cut the potatoes and fried them. I did them in two batches. May be, intelligence fairy was hovering around my head that day. Then I put onions in the same oil, put tomato sauce, chilly powder, amchur powder, and salt and put in the potatoes.
The combined efforts of beginner’s luck and intelligence fairy resulted in the yummiest chapatti-palya combination ever. So much so that I scraped the pan, with a spoon, for the crunchy bits. Eating it was as satisfying as having the exact number of clips to dry your washed clothes.
But it did not end there. I decided to make the same thing the next week. Who can screw up something one has already mastered? I can. I thought innovation and improvisation aren’t just for cricket players; they can be applied in the kitchen too. But, like always, I thought too much about it. The potatoes if sliced more thinly would become crispier and it would go beautifully with my soft chapattis. And who needs onions? I just wanted the flavor of the potatoes to come through.
So, I cut the potatoes real thin. This time also, I thought I will make them in two batches. After I fried the first batch, I put the it on a plate with kitchen towel on it and went on to fry the second batch. I had no onions, so I had to put the fried potatoes directly. As I was tipping them in, I saw that half of them had made the tissue their best friend. They had stuck on to the paper since they were so thin or maybe I hadn’t fried them properly. That was my share of dinner.
The oil was already hot and some of the potatoes were in the pan and I was busy making sure the slices didn’t have any paper on them. I had to think and act fast. I threw the ones that were on the kitchen towel into the bin. Now, the intelligence fairy returned, if I had put the onions, I would have more palya. I had to make eggs for husband to compensate for the missing palya. I only had to not use my brain to avoid another misadventure in the kitchen.
It was crispier and nice the first time you made it.What did you do this time?
I used my brain.
We all know, that’s dangerous.
Improvisation and innovation? Are you like the creator of a smart phone or something? Slow it down girl, master multitasking and planning first.
Wanted the flavor of potatoes to come through? Potatoes don’t have flavor. Stop watching all the cookery shows, now!
You are special. Your brain is different. Use it sparingly.
“Ma, I sliced the potatoes real thin, deep fried it, and half of it got stuck to the tissue.”
“Who told you to deep fry them? You need to cube the potatoes, and fry them in little oil continuously till they cook.”