Saturday, October 28, 2017

Serving Erissery To Germans

Erissery on the menu board
I have eased into my role as a cook at the cafe. The owner lets me decide what I want to cook and it's great fun planning a menu. It should be something that's scalable, so there's no point thinking of something elaborate if it can only feed four. Pumpkins and squashes are in season, so a few weeks ago I suggested that we serve Erissery for soup. The customers were told so on the board with a brief description of what the dish was at the bottom. It found tremendous favour - though I had to turn down its peppersome heat a notch with coconut milk after someone said it was too scharf.

After a few weeks of experimenting, I think I've hit the jackpot with roti. The first week I made it, the owner wrote it down as handmade bread on the board. But last week she asked me if the bread I was planning to make was actually chapathi and I told her yes it was. And her eyes lit up and she asked me to spell it out for her. In true South Indian tradition, I added a 'h' to the spelling and that afternoons, the customers asked for 'chapathi'.

Every day, the veggies that are not fit to be sold in the cafe shop, end up being cooked and the menu has to be clever and adaptable enough to accommodate these unsuspecting ingredients. Yesterday, it was the turn of some kind of kale. I had planned to serve dal, chapathi and some curry but what would I do with large ferns of kale? I turned to the lady who usually makes fresh green smoothies to be sold in bottles at the counter and asked her if she could blitz the kale for me. I then asked her to pour the juice into the bowl of waiting atta. I started binding the dough as she poured it gradually and rather bemusedly. The dough's bright green was a sight to behold and proved quite popular with the customers, many of whom complimented me on it.

This is perhaps the most unconventional work I have ever done and each Friday, I am stricken with angst and I wonder why I'm doing this rather than stay at home and watch Netflix instead. I don't really know why I put myself through this experience that leaves me shaking and scared and excited and thrilled, all in the space of seven hours. May be that's why. May be doing something while being shit scared is a good thing. That and the fact that all the kale is good for digestion. 


Premalatha said...

I miss our long phone calls while changing nappies.

ammani said...

Hahaha...something to take our minds off the rather smelly job at hand, perhaps?