Married Monday's: Cooking without Habibi Episode 1

Estimated Reading Time:

You know what they say about riding a bicycle right.  Once you know how, you never forget.
That's what I thought cooking was like. Apparently not, folks. 
Turns out, cooking follows more of the 'practice makes perfect' school of thought. 

You live and you learn. 

I wanted to start simple so I decided to make a fresh pickle that we could eat with dosas and idlis and omelettes. My grandmother makes the best bell pepper fresh pickle known to mankind #nojokes so I figured why not start with a little homage. 

Here's the recipe: 

A few things become apparent immediately. 
1.  Apparently I didn't need too many directions back then. Clearly I was a better cook and far too presumptive with my future cooking abilities. 
2. I didn't factor in the fact that the size of vegetables varies from country to country. 1 bell pepper in America is like 4 bell peppers in India. If I had followed the recipe exactly, we would have been swimming in fresh pickle for weeks. 
3. Where do the green mirchi (chilies)  go?
4. I be screwed. 

What else could I do? I girded my loins and started cooking. 

So far, so good. The bell pepper was cooking down and I felt in control. 

I added in the tomatoes and chilies and kept stirring knowledgeably every time my aunt walked by. 

After 5 minutes of useless stirring, I noticed all the tomato was now basically mushy and sticking to the pot. I panicked and added in the coriander, salt, turmeric and tamarind after a few minutes of running back and forth from the recipe book. 
- it didn't say at what point to add these ingredients in 
- it didn't say whether the tamarind should be soaked in water before or not 
-and if I did soak the tamarind in water, do I add in the tamarind water too? Or just the soaked tamarind? 
-for that matter, how much water should the tamarind be soaking in? and for how long? 

Oye Vey.

I let it cool before putting it into a food processor to blend until the mixture was mixed and  smooth and didn't have any chunks of bell pepper in it.  

We, the aunt and I, taste tested and immediately realized 

A. I under cooked the bell peppers so the whole thing tasted like raw bell peppers. 
B. I also under salted so we kept adding salt while it was in the mixer and as a result, I ended up over salting. 

Le sigh. 

Everyone ended up eating it with chips and salsa, apparently it tasted really good as a dip. I didn't try any. I was mad at the bell pepper for not cooking. 

If anyone wants to try the recipe out(which you should, it really is good) here are some tips: 

1. make sure the bell peppers are completely and totally cooked before you proceed to the next step. 
2. it will help if you cook the bell peppers down for 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes 
3. cover with a lid while cooking - it helps. 
4. soak the tamarind in enough water to cover the tamarind and leave for 10 to 15 minutes before adding the piece to the pot 
5. save the tamarind water and if you need more sourness you can add the water at the end 

I bet Habibi woulda made it perfectly. 

In the words of my man Snoop Doggy Dog : To success and nothing less!