The Invisible Ingredients of a well- made dish

The Invisible Ingredients of a well- made dish

If you thought, I was hinting at the secret formula that a Chef does not share except with his family; your guess was wrong. Yes! While viewing a program on the Indian TV by a celebrity Chef like Sanjeev Kapoor, your mother may have quipped, “Well, that’s how exactly I cooked the Choley Bhature, (chic peas and Indian bread ) but the dish was nowhere near the one we savored at Sanjeev’s 5 Star the other day… They always hide some secret ingredient, you know. I bet, that blackish texture was missing”
“I confirm!, it was dried Amla (the edible fruit of a species of small leafy Indian tree, amlica embilicus ) pieces mom!” This was Ruchi, your daughter pursuing her MBA in HR.
In fact, neither your mother cooked the dish nor your daughter; they simply supervised its cooking by Sarlaa bai (the maidservant named Sarlaa) from a distance.
Your son was the last to pitch in “You know he carries the secret masaala (mix of spices) in his pocket and would sprinkle it on the Choley, when nobody is around in the kitchen.”
His devout Assistant Chef called that last act as blessing, when he came to your table and announced, “The dishes have the blessings of the Chief Chef who was personally present in the kitchen today in your Honor, as a special gesture!” As if, his mere presence made the dishes tastier by sheer magic!
The love and affection of the cook
If you asked me, it is the love and the affection of the Cook for his guests or his family, which may be referred as the blessing; you may like the dishes made by Sanjeev, but he will always prefer to have one prepared by his mother any day. You may like the Hotel food sometimes but not every day. While even the Kichadi ( a dish made of rice and pulses) made by your grandma, when your mother was sick in good childhood days, tasted heavenly.
It contained the grandma’s love, the sick mother’s concern. She hardly participated in the cooking but her concern and worry: if the dish would turn out tasty, if the kids will accept it, made it so .The God, (or if you are an atheist may call it the nature) had no choice but to ensure that the dish was not only outstanding, but fulfilling too!
The unseen ingredients made the dish tastier, richer and lent it that specific scent of love and not the earthly ingredients, the cardamom or the coriander, the saffron or the deggi- mirch, ( Red Kashmiri chillies).
The love and affection of the cook always adds a divinity to the food, which has to have an intangible special taste, which is hard to define or decipher! The best chefs of the world believe they cannot beat their mothers.
Never miss when mama cooks !

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Published in Senior Chatters


  1. roseinbloom

    Abhilaaj. I love this blog. So interesting.I have studied about India, and I know something about the ideas about cooking and the mood of the cook, getting into the food. I would like to know more about this.
    I love Indian food and I go to an Indian restaurant with a buffet. The food is very good, but I don’t know how much it is like Indian food in India.
    Your country use spices like no other. If I were younger, I would start learning to cook Indian food, but I think it takes a life time.

  2. Abhilaaj Post author

    Thanks about your appreciation rose. Kind of you.
    As in everything in life so in cooking- what you do not see is more important than what you see.
    You must have been greeted sometimes by smiles you found later on were hollow and by hugs you found were tight but artificial.
    Emotion or love or liking whatever you may say is very important. The food becomes exceptionally tasty only by the unseen positive vibrations of love reaching the food when it is being cooked. It does not become tasty by the ingredients alone.
    May be I would elaborate more on this in near future.
    I would be happy to know your reaction on my another blog carrying a story of animal love entitled “She refused blood…..” carried yesterday. God bless !

  3. starlette

    Well the love and affection of this particular cook didn’t do anything for the cauliflower soup she made this afternoon…….oh its ok, quite edible, but not as tasty as the one I made last week from the same recipe……..ermm, maybe the full love and devotion were not quite up to scratch today…….hehe…..xx

  4. Abhilaaj Post author

    Whenever you are little tense you are not able to pull in the goodness of your sublime subconscious into the job at hand.
    Try to cook when nothing bothers you Star, cook as if you were praying, the result will be excellent ! Believe me.

  5. cappuccino

    Never saw much of my mother,but I do recall she was a bluddy awful cook !
    Mebbe thats why I enjoy cooking so much 🙂
    Not saying I,m a good cook….Just enjoy doing it 🙂