The Idiot’s Cookbook – Ed. 2

After all that from edition 1, I felt like a chef for two whole days. Naturally in those two days, I ended up making Maggi again as well as ordering a takeout, you know, because I had to celebrate.:P

And today I found myself again feeling pangs of hanger for home food. Well I guess the hunger was more for food than strictly home food but my wallet can do a pretty good job in convincing me that it’s mom’s food that I want. A throwback to times when I could just point at my mouth to signal hunger and food would be arranged ๐Ÿ˜€

So we’ll be making a simple mix-veg curry that can be used as an accompaniment for chapatis or rice.


  • Potato
  • Tomato
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Capsicum
  • Paneer
  • Turmeric Powder
  • Chilly powder
  • Water
  • Salt


  1. The first thing that we need to do is to chop up the vegetables.
    • So first let’s go for the carrots and potatoes. These are the easiest of the lot. Wash the vegetables first properly and then remove any “eyes” in the potato and the any remaining stalk from the carrot. Peel using a knife, thinly cutting longitudinally on all sides of the vegetable.

      That or if you have a peeler just go crazy ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Next capsicum. Also easy. After removing the remnants of the stalk you chop the vegetable into pieces with each quarter of the capsicum making like 3-4 pieces. The good thing about capsicum is that it’s largely hollow so cutting it is really simple. Tomatoes are fairly elementary as well, easy to cut along diagonals with the knife.
    • Finally we come to the worst of the lot. Onions. Not only do they take the longest time but they also piss you off with the whole tears thing. So you need to remove the both tip ends of the onion. Then remove the thin outer layers which are dry. Following this you cut it in quarters and then cut cross-sectionally.ย ngaynay12tuyetchieugiupthaihanhkhongcaymat_1
    • Prep is a tedious but important part of cooking and cutting vegetables can usually done en masse so that the boredom is only on one day of the week :pimg-20161217-wa0004
  2. On to the cooking part then. Add the carrots and potatoes to a dish with water, ย turmeric powder and salt. (Proportions below) Let the water boil. These vegetables need extra cooking than the others.
  3. Once all there is just a little bit of water left, add the remaining vegetables as well as chilly powder to season. Let this cook on a low flame until you see a reddening of all the vegetables and you feel it’s beginning to stick to the bottom of the bowl.
  4. If needed add extra water when you add the vegetables, but many vegetables, especially tomato, have a high water content as is and this is used to cook other vegetables as well so add with care.
  5. If you want to add paneer (cottage cheese), then first you need to chop the paneer into pieces and fry them on a pan. Flip repeatedly until you get a nice even brown colour on both sides. Add them after the items in step 3.
  6. Serve when hot ๐Ÿ™‚img_20161217_173342


To serve 3 people who like to hog a lot or 4 medium eaters ๐Ÿ˜€ :

  • 1 potato + 2 tomatoes + 3 onions + 1 capsicum + 3 carrots + 100gm of paneer
    • (Of course, this can be rearranged as per your own tastes but this is to give an idea for the quantity of vegetable that needs to be cooked)
  • Two teaspoons of turmeric powder plus half a teaspoon of salt on initial boiling
  • For chilly powder a thumb rule to follow is:
    • If you’re going for color, 1/4 – 1/2 tsp (level) per person.
    • If you’re going for flavor, 1/2 – 1 tsp (level) per person.

Pressure Points

  1. While cooking the vegetables ensure that it does not burn and stick to the bottom of your vessel. Aside from ruining your dish it’s a pain to clean up
  2. Be patient while cutting vegetables, the finer the cut, the better they cook.
  3. Generally, for paneer, thin pieces with large surface area are easier to fry.They also get cooked evenly throughout which is important.
  4. Clean all the vegetables before cutting, pesticides and dust.
  5. Ensure that the potato and carrot are properly boiled before adding the other vegetables.
  6. Try to avoid maiming or injuring yourself with the knife (Andย for the record, No, I did not do that. Stop grinning like that ๐Ÿ™„ What do you mean you expect me to do that ๐Ÿ˜ )
  7. Go easy on the salt, it can be added at any point in the cooking process
  8. Chilly powder should not be brought anywhere near your eyes. (Ok that one I might have done as a kid ๐Ÿ˜› )


Final learnings for the day:

  • Cutting vegetables is a pain
  • Cooking is largely standing and waiting for water to boil ๐Ÿ˜›
  • Always add salt, even if they don’t tell you to

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