The family is away on Covid vacation in our hometown and when I’m left to be on my own, I tend to impulsively wander off the safety line and venture into unknown territories. Earlier today, on a whim, I decide I would try my hand in cooking! Pork is my favourite meat so I would make a pork dish.
I set off immediately. I buy pork meat and spices that I think would make nice ingredients and come back home in no time. My journeys into the culinary world has only been around Omlets, Papads, and Choru/Chawal (cooked rice), and never beyond, so in this adventure I call upon Mr. SJ, a friend and neighbor to be my companion. People who knows SJ will question my wisdom of enlisting his help because he recently once cooked Choru with Dosa rice. But my assumption is that, if you get the chilli and the salt right, cooking meat should be an easy task. Easy-peasy!
So, we heat up the pan and throw in the ingredients one by one. Some water, pepper, salt, turmeric, tomato, green chillies, cumin, ground coriander, ginger and garlic, and a little bit of other spices we find at arm’s length. Upon SJ’s insistence, I throw in a few chunky pieces of aloo (potato) as well. Satisfied, we fill our whiskey glasses and say, cheers!
Half an hour later, Mr. SJ dips a spoon inside the pan and tastes the content. He looks at me and says, “Something’s wrong.”
How can it be bad! I don’t trust his opinion, after all he’s someone who cannot tell the difference between normal nice and dosa rice.
It is my turn to taste. I take the content at the tip of my finger and bring it to my mouth.
“Pani paali. Karyam kai vittu poyi ennu thonnunu (I think it’s gone out of our hands).”
There’s no time to think too much. We immediately type an SOS rescue message to Mr. J.
Mr. J, who is also a friend and neighbor, has got a Midas touch when it comes to cooking. Mr. J arrives shortly. He inspects the dish and declares that the coriander powder I lavishly showered on the meat with a ‘Salt-Bae’ kind of flourish, isn’t coriander at all!
And, the meat at the bottom of the pan has burnt, adding a smoke flavor.
I show him the container which holds the ‘coriander’ powder. He smells the content and says, “This is something else and it’s too old that I cannot establish what it is.”
The rescue operation commences at once. Mr. J decides to ‘sink’ the ‘coriander’ with an overwhelming dose of other spices. In an another pan he stir fries some spices with onions and curry leaves and pours them over the pork dish. Somehow, a change of taste is achieved.
“Now it’s eatable,” he approves.
On a small plate, I offer him the dish we had just made, which now has an atrocious color after all the over-loading of spices. But he politely declines and vacates the spot. I don’t know why.
The dish must have a name. Aloo Dum Smoked Pork, it is, and it is nothing like you have ever tasted before. Now, I’m inviting you to a dinner party. Flat #E406.