The Spread.The Channa Masala
Yesterday, I was given the honour of cooking for a Bengali mother, Mahmuda. Talk about a nerve-racking experience. Bengali mothers are among the best in the world at cooking, so pleasing one demands skill, effort, and sheer luck.
I decided to prepare Channa Masala for this occasion. My plan was to bring a blender to make a smooth gravy, but the kibosh was put on that when I had to go inside one of the more secure buildings in Cairo. I wasn't convinced that they'd let me in the the blender blades....
In the evening, I arrived at the cooking venue without half of my ingredients. Again, not a good thing. At one point, Mahmuda came in and said, "Where is the channa for your channa masala?"
"Pandrah minit (fifteen minutes)," I replied, to which Farzina said, "We don't say pandrah in this house...we're Bengalis."
A short walk around the neighbourhood looking for channa later, I had myself I pretty decent looking masala. Mahmuda then showed me the kichuri and lamb curry she had made. This was going to be a feast-and-a-half.
Then she tried a bit of my curry. "It needs more salt." I couldn't help but trust her verdict, so I added some more salt. Otherwise, I think she approved.
When it came time to feasting, the guests did not disappoint. I chowed down on about four bowls of the two curries and rice. The outcome that was decided upon was that the combination of the two curries and rice were phenomenal. Mahmuda and I also worked out the details of the restaurant we were going to start up.
Perhaps I should go back and get some schooling on Bengali cuisine. And make chai, of course.