Sunday, December 13, 2009

Failed experiments and four burnt vessels

It was definitely a nightmarish experience both for me and my little devil. Since I have nothing better to do in life these days than supervising things and little devils, besides spending a couple of hours tormenting my students, I have been regularly impressing everyone around me (which actually means my just-turned-seven daughter) with my cooking experiments. I was mostly successful (in scaring the little one and making her eat whatever I cook) and I was on my way to becoming the master chef too... or so I thought.

Until this evening when I was bitten by the experimental bug yet again and called up my mom in a jiffy to get the
recipe for, and tips on how to make, mysore pak, I had no clue that I am actually no good in the cooking domain. :( If I were to rewrite the lyrics of the famous title song of the Jackie-Meenakshi-starrer Hero, I'd have to probably write, Par pak-shastra ke pannon mein apni takdeer to zero hai...

And there I was thinking I was the best cook in the whole world. I don't know for what reason I suddenly had this overwhelming desire to make and eat mysore pak as my evening snack for the day. Akhir kyon! Why couldn't I think of a better snack like pakode or payasam which have been my best and most successful experiments so far!! Maybe it was Divine Intervention when God wanted to desperately warn me against my gluttony, and cooking escapades.

So how did it all happen? I got the recipe right. Noted down each detail my mom gave on the phone carefully (hiding my irritation as she repeated the steps to be doubly sure that I got everything right), by-hearted the whole recipe in less than 10 minutes before darting straight into the kitchen. Then how can it all go wrong?

I measured one part besan (gram flour), one part sugar, one-and-a-half parts of ghee and one glass of water very carefully. Then I heated a kadai (pan) on the stove, added sugar and water to make a thin syrup of

one-thread consistency. Then I added besan and kept stirring continuously to make sure there are no lumps. And then I started pouring in the ghee slowly while stirring continuously. Then why didn't it start bubbling with the ghee leaving the sides of the pan as my mom promised? Instead everything was turning dark brown. I kept hoping that if I leave it for a bit more on the stove, it'll be set right.

All I get at the end of the frustrating 15 minutes is an almost blackened besan powder in ghee. Gawd, where is my mysore pak - is it hiding behind this sooty stuff?

Okay, maybe I got it all wrong. Or missed some step in between. Let me re-check and try it again! This time I measured an even lesser portion of all the ingredients, used a new pan and followed the process carefully. Then why was the besan getting stuck to the spoon and the pan?

I gave up and decided to take it off the flame and spread it on the plate. It looked all right. I mean at least it didn't get burnt, and was still looking slightly yellowish - the way mysore pak is supposed to look. But then, why the bloody hell was it undercooked and tasted like I was eating raw besan with ghee and sugar! Nonsense!

Let me try it one last time. I repeated the experiment yet

again with a dominating gut feeling that I gained experience in stirring the mixture without feeling tired, so my mysore pak will turn out to be the best this time - better than my mom's best I'm sure. Okay, everything looks fine. So far so good. But why the hell is it rock hard?

Now what do I do with the rock-solid lump? Maybe hit the annoying watchman of our apartment complex with it and pretend I didn't exist.

Okay, three experiments (in a span of half-an-hour) and four burnt vessels later, I give up! Point well noted... I don't think I'm cut out to make mysore pak. I better stick to kheer, gulab jamun and gavvalu. And I guess the enthusiastic experimentalist in me is put to rest - for a while at least!


bhavani said...

there were more comments on the facebook i guess :)

Bhavani said...

ha ha ha, same pinch I say. All I was left with was Pakam, atleast your mysore pak closely resembles the actual one