Under the supervision of the pancha-tattva, we started our cooking session. It starts with going through the menu, followed by the introduction of the vegetables and spices.
If you are up to the challenge, try taking a nibble on that chili there. I forgot the name and where Kurma got it from, I think South American variety grown in his backyard. He invited people to come over and take a bite. Now, I like chili. Usually, the green kind. It goes handy with the South Indian curd rice (my favourite food) on a hot summer day in India. The red ones, my family uses it for morning breakfast. Yup. They would take a handful from the garden, put it on a stone grinder and grind it into a paste. Then they would add some coconut oil and give it to you with idli (steamed rice cake) or dosa (rice dish made on a hot plate, looks like pancake). Or sometimes they would add some tomatoes and fried mustard seeds. Yummmm!!! I love it. Mum would pack this to school and by lunch time, the chili would have soaked into the idli. Yummm !! Those were the good times. And my grandma refuses to have any breakfast, lunch or dinner without her chili and salt. So, you get where I am getting at. It’s in the blood. I am a pro with chili. So, I thought, I will take a little bite to show-off to the Australian guests. I put my camera aside, walked over, took one of the above pieces and bit into it. Kurma prabhu later mentioned that it was hundreds of times more “hotter” than the normal one. But I couldn’t hear properly what he was saying because I was at the sink finishing the water of the tank.
Kurma was the first person to tell me to use a text highlighter to ensure one has completed all the listed tasks. When he goes shopping, as he puts the items into the trolley, he highlights the bought items in his list. I have started doing this at my work as well. Everyday, I list down all the things I need to today under 2 sections – Personal Life and Career Life. And by the end of the day, I ensure that all listed items are highlighted with a texter. And if something is not highlighted by 5pm, then the list looks incomplete and the task stays on in my mind till the next day when its done and highlighted. I have got so many tasks done in shorter time now. Another thing that I learnt from the chef was to use the above small paper cups (or it might have someother name) which contained in them all the spices needed for a dish, before the session starts. This way, one only has to add them to the pot one by one rather than finding and measuring the item as the veggies cook. Very handy method to ensure that all goes according to plan.
Once all the veggies are assembled on the centre table, Kurma gives an example on how he wants each vegetables cut. It’s almost like carpentry, I thought. He was very particular on the size of the cut veggies, the hand motion, the measurements etc. I particularly like the example of how he removed the stalk from the cauliflower without much effort but the florets still intact. All customers were asked to bring their own apron, a cutting board and their favourite knife. Because, we had plenty of cutting upto do !