I have unfailingly noticed that when you take a single step forward, the Universe takes two in the same direction. And so when you start with one dish, you end up with three. When you share a little, you receive manifold. When you give, you end up with a bounty. And that’s my formula for how the Universe works. It strikes a balance, almost always. If not, the opportunity may have passed unnoticed.
It’s uncanny how quietude and isolation can help you delve deep into the recesses of your creative mind and discover its latent talent. Am not sure if this contention is a myth, but one is known to use just 10 per cent of one’s brainpower. Well, I understand this contention only too well at this point. Not because I wasn’t aware of my capacity all along, but because of the limitation to put it to better use in the past. That there were reasons why the potential wasn’t sufficiently tapped is another matter. A paucity of time could be cited as one of the reasons, and multiplicity of commitments as another.
Well, the COVID-19 phase has opened up a good measure of free time. It has brought on a stillness that hushes the din – a din which usually drowns out ideas and overwhelms the voice within. The all-needed quietude now allows you to hear your thoughts intelligibly.
And so my second week into COVID-19 ventilated my head from cobwebs of busyness, to arouse keen interest in food and food ideas. It’s surprising how help comes in the form of recipes which had been under your nose for long but just didn’t occur for you to try them out. It’s surprising how supporters come to your aid, in the form of home chefs as that’s how I prefer to term the so-called homemaker. While I’d had a reasonable idea on how much planning, creativity and operational execution was demanded of home chefs (read housewives), COVID-19 only confirmed the fact now that I am in their shoes (or slippers).
I am increasingly learning to find solutions too. For one, I now resort to cooking dishes that can dispense with grinding as my mixer-grinder has died on me. Hopefully, not of a virus. 😀
In fact, in trying alternate routes, I achieved even better results. Like that of Ditoza Noronha‘s tried, tested and trusted” recipe of “Instant Prawn Mole” which employs the use of spice powders instead of ground paste. Not that the concept of spice powders is new to me, but combining them to lip-smacking taste is a craft hard to come by on a busy day.
Ditoza has a quiet wit about her that makes me share a wavelength on an intellectual plane. That she has been a friend since my teenaged years only makes the bond stronger. The lockdown got us chatting up through the nights, exchanging thoughts on our respective blogs, movie reviews and even intermittently fasting together!
Her recipe for Goan Instant Prawn Molho is not just an “instant recipe”, but an “instant hit” as well. I tried out this dish with the few prawns waiting to break out of my freezer. As they were already shelled and deveined, it was a matter of minutes before I’d got this “instant dish‘ rolling and sitting pretty for a photoshoot.
INSTANT PRAWN MOLHO RECIPE
- 15-20 large prawns (washed, cleaned & deveined)
- 2-3 onions
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper powder
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 tsp grain sugar
- ¼ cup vinegar (I used Kalvert's brown vinegar)
- 3-4 tbsp oil
- 20 curry patta
- A pinch haldi powder
- ⅓ cup water
- Salt (to taste, say a teaspoonful)
- Marinate the prawns with half of the suggested quantity of salt and keep aside for 15-30 minutes.
- Combine the rest of the spices with vinegar (except of course the ginger-garlic paste and curry patta).
- Fry the prawns in a couple of spoons of oil and place the fried prawns on absorbent tissue.
- Add yet another spoon of oil and saute the curry patta, onions, ginger-garlic; then add the spice powder paste on a reduced flame. (You know you have to saute these ingredients one after the other and not all together).
- Add the marinated prawns, sugar, remaining salt and water.
- Drop-in a dollop of ketchup towards the end, when cooked. I paired the mole with“oil fried rice” which is nothing but steamed rice mixed with the residue “pan” masala that you get after frying and before you cast the pan into the sink to wash.
Your reality is a reflection of your beliefs and what you believe in makes itself manifest. Also, my universe (or divine) theory comes into place with sharing time and expertise with others. It comes right back to you in greater measure, even if it’s in the form of a rice measure which is good enough in these times. And so when you start with one dish, you end up with three. When you share some, you receive manifold. When you give, you end up with a bounty.
Looking for more Goan recipes? You can check them out here to try this lockdown.