Saturday, July 18, 2015
When we were growing up in Darjeeling, India, week days flew by in a hive of activity of going to school, doing our homework and socializing with friends. Weekends were very special because Mum would do the cooking and even though we were on a tight budget, we ate very well. The pressure cooker was our friend and went everywhere with us. We spent the winters in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) and our pressure cooker accompanied us on our close-to 24-hour train journey. Life could not go on without that essential tool in the kitchen.
So many dishes come to mind when I think of Mum in the kitchen. She was very adventurous and made complex (Lobster Thermidor) and labour-intensive (Yakhni Pulao) recipes, all of which we were eager to assist with and loved.
This is a deconstruction of a recipe she made with cabbage stuffed with minced meat. She would cut a head of cabbage in half and remove part of the inside which she chopped up and cooked with the minced meat. She would cook the meat and chopped cabbage with spices, onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes and stuff the cabbage halves with the cooked meat, tie the whole head of cabbage with kitchen twine and brown it in the pressure cooker in hot oil. The pressure cooker would then be heated to full pressure and the contents cooked without any water for 10-15 minutes. The resulting slices of cabbage were something to behold, our home was filled with tantalizing aromas and it was so delicious to eat!
I took the lazy person's way out and simply shredded the cabbage and cooked it along with the minced meat in the pressure cooker. Still delicious and evoked so many memories of Mum and our idyllic childhood.