Its become routine now. After six months, anybody would expect it to.
Wake up. Cook food. Nag after the maid. Take a shower. Get dressed. Talk to the Lieutenant. Rush to the office.
All the resolutions that we had made in college, that we would not be living regualr lives like our folks or other people, and get stuck in the tight clasps of “routine” have all flown out of the window.
The biggest concerns that we face now is which call to answer first on reaching the office, or which course to opt for (in relation to Post-Graduation, which is now looming like an obvious monster in the very near future).
The “tiffin wala” I had assigned to bring me stacked stainless steel boxes stuffed with saabzi, roti, rice and dal (thats veggie-curry, Indian flat breads, rice and lentil curry for everyone who’s not desi) got himself fired a long time back, almost after a month of delivering food at my doorstep at the right time. His food was tasty no doubt to most Marathis (who happened to be the bulk of his clients). Unfortunately it was spicy enough to put my mouth (and certain other parts of my body) on fire. And the curry never varied. Ever.
I understand that cooking the same curry everyday is easy and exceptionally economical from his angle, all thanks to Readymade Curry Maker. However, I found it unbearable. No offence Mr. Tiffin Wala.
I went through the same ordeal back during my college days in Baroda. I’m just not a “lunchbox” person.
The dilemma I faced, after I’d fired him, was that I had no idea where I’d get lunch from, unless I planned to order in everyday from all the eat-outs and restaurants near the vicinity of the office. The idea of oily chilli chicken, and overcooked Hyderabadi Biriyani with zero traces of “Hyderabad” in them seemed unbearable. Again.
I finally, forced myself to get into the habit of getting up early (compared to my standards…I’m not a morning person…at all) and whipping up simple dishes to pack for lunch and store in the refrigerator for re-heated-dinner purposes.
Its become routine now.
Weekend cooking requires a little amount of thought and can get tricky depending on the day. If its a Friday or Saturday, I have to go through the entire fridge checking available items and leftovers and spending time staring at them silently, trying to go over combinations in my head.
Sunday’s better, since the pantry and refrigerator is replenished with food for the whole week.
The chicken below, is a Saturday morning creation, with the last remaining yellow bell pepper.
Chicken with Pepper and Sour Curd
What you Need:
- 2 chicken breasts, cleaned and skin ripped off
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 yellow bell pepper (by all means, use any bell pepper, green or red, but somehow yellow has a sweet mellowness to it than the others), sliced
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2-3 sprigs fresh sage
- Half a red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 80-100gms cherry tomatoes, halved
- Half a cup of sour curd (I used homemade, and hung it in 4 layers of cheesecloth to drain out extra liquid for a thicker texture)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Wrap the chicken breasts between two plastic sheets and beat ‘em flat, till they’re like 1/4 ” in thickness.
- Scour the surface of the chicken breats with diagonal knife cuts.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Saute the onions and garlic till golden brown.
- Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, sage and thyme and cook covered, on low heat till the pepper slices soften. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the chicken and cook till it starts to brown at the edges.
- Pour in the sour curd. Mix well and leave on low heat, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Uncover and season with salt and ground black pepper according to taste.
- Cook for another 5-10 minutes till the chiken is soft enough to slice into strips. If the dish is too dry for you, pour in half a cup of water (or chicken stock) and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.