I have always enjoyed cooking but in these lockdown days, cooking has become almost therepautic. With all the usual pleasures and stimuli being out of reach, the joy of cooking, serving and eating meals has taken over as the chief delight in my life these days. But while meals have become the highlight of the day, I have to exercise all my creativity to judiciously use the limited resources stocked in my pantry and refrigerator to keep coming up with interesting and fulfilling menus.
So I turn to my kitchen team, the staples of onion, garlic, ginger and chillies to rustle up meal after meal. I am awed by the amazing versatility of these ingredients as I use them, in combination with other spices, to make fish aanja from Assam one day and Punjabi chhole the next, pasta one day and chilli chicken the next, a simple wholesome dal one day and a spicy vegetable curry the next. As I chop, grind, julienne, crush, fry, steam and boil these unassuming ingredients in an effort to coax out different flavors from them, I shut out the anxieties and noises arising from the inside and outside. For those moments I am fully aware, fully mindful of the task at hand. And in that mindful state, my creativity flows as I endeavor to create a dish that I will enjoy eating and sharing later in the day.
Written in response to the prompt “team”.