Once upon a time, in the days of yore…
Cooking: a term and act that i stayed (comfortably) far away from, for most of my life.
Cooking vegetarian food: i tiptoed with caution mid-last year, grew (literally and otherwise) to enjoy it immensely and
loved love cooking for my family (yet to get to an optimal confidence level to cook for friends, but i’m getting there sooner than i imagined).
Cooking non-vegetarian food: **running in the opposite direction, faster than a stray dog chasing you at night, should you decide to travel on a two-wheeler, almost breaking into a wheelie, trying to avoid the dog behind and a pothole ahead**
My brother would tell me on several occasions (the occasions being my cooking vegetarian food) to start cooking meat but somehow, i
thought daydreamed about my first non-veg cooking to be seafood. Prawns to be more specific.
The “what” was decided – prawns/shrimp.
The “when” was clear – some other day. indefinitely.
Cut to present day/month – July 2016:
Mom had bought a batch of fresh prawns from a local fish stall she
frequents visits twice a month. My brother had called dibs on cooking them. Being aware of their presence in the freezer along with watching reruns of Masterchef Australia (which by the way has increased my midnight cravings), i mustered the courage to pick up the pieces of my phobia. And of course, the pieces of prawns that lay snug and curled up in a bed of, well, each other.
After marinating (Mom had already deveined the prawns – which i promise to do the next time) and refrigerating the prawns overnight, i set out to cook the beauties the next afternoon.
For fancy’s sake, let’s name this the Asian Crustacean.
A few days back, some divine intervention intermingled with a superpower descended upon me and i decided to brave my fears and slowly proceeded with caution to touch a raw piece of chicken with my index finger, nail first. My heart beat must’ve been as fast as the aforementioned stray dogs. It was almost as if i expected the chicken pieces to get their act together, spring on me and peck me in the eye with a sinister “Take that! Let’s see who is dead meat now…” glare.
Murgh dahiwaala (chicken cooked in a yogurt gravy)
It was yum! My brother, who was (obviously) super proud of me, took a second helping so i knew it was a success.
The gravy was polished off by night (with rice and bread *so hearty*) but a few pieces remained. The next morning, i heated the yogurt-and-masala-soaked goodness, added a few more spices and look what a beautiful sight (and taste, if i may say so, since there’s no app that can let you save my picture in your mouth and tummy – yet) it was.
July has been a month of trial and (t)error.
Of fear and feasts.
Of masalas and marination (my favourite).
Of firsts. And of second helpings.
Of no looking back.
And of no excuse to chicken out.