Ruchi saw the table clock placed over side chest of drawers, it was ticking half past 1.She lazily covered herself up with a sheet and turned other side on the bed. This morning she had a little fight with Abhi, and all she can now recall is Abhi going to office without having his breakfast. She can’t even think of the reason which started that ridiculous fight. Blaming and then recounting other’s mistake. This is what she hadn't dreamed of when she was coming to Delhi with Abhi after their marriage.A new place, unknown world to her and she was seeing Delhi thro Abhi's eyes.Then slowly she started to settle down and started kind of liking the the hustle-bustle of Delhi and warmth of a typical Dilliwalah.
They have been married for two years now. She started wondering if this is the same story in every home or is it only theirs. Her neighbors were an elderly couple Mr. and Mrs Ray .All she can visualize about them now at this point , is seeing them in the small green park almost every evening, walking together and smiling to each other and occasionally holding hands. Whenever she would be coming back from her daily grocery shopping from the DDA market no-2, which was quite near to their apartment complex.They would always acknowledge her Namaste, and would smile , seeing her with a bag of fresh vegetables and fruits.
She would always admire that silent pact of love and togetherness.Love is unconditional. And then she would start picturing herself and Abhi growing old together and spending time just like them. She all of a sudden felt a strange gust of pain and tears started to fill her eyes. A thin streak of tear started flowing down, smudging her kohl eyes, wetting the corner of pillow, her eyes were all swelled up due to her sobbing for the past two hours like that.
She pulled herself up from the bed with great effort and went to the bathroom to freshen herself. She saw a glimpse of herself in the mirror; she looked quite a tragedy queen perhaps Meena Kumari who knows. She quickly splashed some water over her face.
She then went into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator; she saw minced chicken/ keema lying there. She saw a cup of boiled chick peas in the corner, a left-over ,kept from yesterday. She then recalled that there were some roasted pistachios in the back of the corner wooden cupboard.
She recalled how Abhi was feeding her from his plate affectionately yesterday night, when she accidentally toppled her plate while watching Telly.Abhi scolded her for being so childish but then quickly, started feeding her from his share of food. She then realized she have been like that many times clumsy, without even realizing what she has been doing.
Wasn’t that love which Abhi was having for her when he volunteered to clean all the dirty utensils or knead the dough for roti after a hectic day of work at his office that includes to and fro , exhausting car journey from Dwarka to Noida Sec 25.
She started to look for her purse; she always kept her mobile in it and almost forgets about it. She finally managed to find her purse in the steel almirah, took out her mobile from it, and saw 4 missed calls. She scrolled down to missed call numbers list, they were all from Abhi.Abhi was trying to call her since morning and she on other hand didn’t even realized that. Again she was being such a fool for keeping her mobile in her purse.
She started to dial Abhi’s number and it was coming busy. She was sure; she has made Abhi angry again.
She left a SMS only to say that she was going out to Mrs. Ray’s home in the evening. But deep down she just wanted to scream that I am sorry for all the things that have happened in morning. But somehow she couldn’t.
She went to kitchen and started marinating the keema, she was not at all in a mood to deep fry the masala paste and then deep fry it with keema for that would have taken at least an hour. And she just wanted to get out of the kitchen as soon as it was possible. She knew it very well, Abhi always craved to have chicken recipes cooked for him. And today, she just felt she should go ahead and make it in a short span of time. Perhaps she was thinking this would melt the cold ice between them. “A way to a man’s heart is thro his stomach”, who would have coined this phrase perhaps was showing the correct path to all the ladies in the world for a happy ending and a perfect rendezvous.
She kept the marinated keema in refrigerator and went to Mrs. Ray’s home.Mr Ray was not in home and had gone to subzi/vegetable market. Mrs. Ray quickly made two cup of tea and offered it with Marigold biscuits. This perhaps was the norm in every Bengali household to have tea with thin arrowroot biscuit or marigold biscuits.
Mrs. Ray started complaining about Mr. Ray that this old man has become stubborn over these years and doesn’t want to do go for evening walks anymore. He thinks this is a waste of time and he will start going to the Rotary club for a game of Bridge with friends, instead of going to walking with her.Mrs.Ray seemed worried about Mr.Ray health.
Ruchi can feel that grass is always not green when seen from near, there where some dry patches also.And it's up to you what you want to see- greener patches or dry patches. She hurriedly finished her cup of tea, almost burning her tongue and asked Mrs.Ray about a steamed fish Recipe, just to ease out the tensed environment around them.
She came out from Mrs. Ray’s home hurriedly, leaving Mrs. Ray wondering about her intentions.Mrs Ray concluded that it was her premature age and made herself preoccupied with reading a Bengali novel.
Ruchi went straight to DDA market no-2 to get some fresh flowers. It was almost 5 in the evening when she was able to come back home finally. She quickly put the marinated keema for a quick pressure cooking. She then made 6 rotis also.She then went to the dinning area.
She then neatly placed the dinner plates,cutlery and glasses over a cane dinning table which has a glass shining top.She then put candles over the brass candle stand and decorated the flower vase with fresh flowers. She knew her beloved husband; Abhi must be hungry and exhausted after a hectic day at office.
The next day while coming back from grocery shopping, she saw Mr and Mrs Ray on an evening walk, holding hands and smiling to each other.Her mobile started ringing, she took it out immediately from her purse, it was Abhi.
(This is all part of food-fiction writing for Chalks and Chopsticks. Some part`is inspired from real people but incidents are fabricated.
This is going to Jaya at Desi Soccer Mom for Chops and Chopsticks.Event originated by Aqua at Served with love)
I have some left-over boiled chick peas and some chicken mince. Now, usually I would have gone on to make Keema Ghughni with it, but this time I decided to make something different.
Somewhere may be in a cookbook, I read Neeta Mehta’s recipe for Pista Murg. But I just forgot to write the recipe. And over a period of time I completely forgot about that recipe also.
I started chopping the onions, ginger and garlic, but still nothing came to my mind about that recipe. So, I just thought it’s better to make all from scratch without any reference. So pista and murg idea I got it from that recipe but everything is just my way of making a normal chicken curry.
Now those of you, who don’t like mince/keema, can try it with chicken drumsticks (don’t get confused with drumsticks/sahjan/sojne data).And if you can trust my word here-this is the ultimate chicken curry. The kind of a recipe/dish, you want to serve when you want to impress your guest with your culinary skills and make them go crazy over it. Now don’t blame me if they start singing “crazy kiya rey”.
Recipe for Pista Murg KeemaAbout 250 gms of chicken mince
Wash the mince with a little warm water. Squeeze out excess water with your hand. Pat dry with kitchen towel gently.
Now, make a thick paste with the following ingredients in a mixer
1 cup of pre-boiled chick peas
1 inch ginger
15-20 pista/ roasted pistachios...
2-3 heaped tsp of meat curry masala powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
2-3 tsp of coriander powder
2-3 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of paprika
Now add little bit of approx 2 tbs of cream to rotate the grinder, if you wish you may add water in place of cream.
Marinate the washed keema/mince with this paste for 3-4 hours. Keep refrigerated.
Take out at least half an hour before you would make the chicken keema curry. Generally I like to marinate it in afternoon and I take it out the marinated keem at night.
Heat up a large pan/kadhai and then add about ¼ cup of cooking oil.
Temper it with 8-10 whole black pepper corn, 4-5 cloves and 2 bay leaves.
Add the marinated chicken mince.Chop a green bell pepper into bite size pieces. Cut and chop half a tomato finely. Add both the vegetable to it. Put this on pressure. Just one whistles at high and lower the flame. Cook further 10 mints at low. Take off from the flame. Open when the pressure subsides.
Alternately, you can slow cook the entire thing at low flame for about 45 mints...
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