Diary of a Beani Bazari Bou
Diary of a Beani Bazari Bou
Whenever I cook meat curry with potatoes, it reminds me of my late mother-in-law. It was the time when I first got married 18 years ago. It was the second day after the wedding and my MIL and SIL went out shopping. Me bechari nayi navelli dulhan (newly weddex bride) sitting in my room with my freshly applied mehendi wondering what to do.
I went in the kitchen and noticed that a packet of meat was being thawed. I decided to cook as it was nearly lunch time. I asked my husband where everything was.
He and my dewars (BIL), although weren't the best navigators of the kitchen were actually quite helpful sourcing the ingredients. Although my BIL laughed, and said "bhabi, are you going to cook, do you even know how to?"
Because I grew up in an all white area, and moved to TH and because I was one of the few bengali girls in those days with a masters degree, there was an automatic assumption that I couldn't cook or I wasn't cultured.
But I only did what I naturally loved doing from a young age! Cooking.
Funny thing is I couldn't find any of the ingredients, I couldn't find the garlic and ginger. My husband said to me the trick about living in Tower Hamlet is we ask our neighbours. So he got garlic and ginger from the apha next door.
Then I couldn't find garam massala; the daal chini, elachi and bay leaf. I opened every SMA milk tin that were stocked up in the kitchen cupboards filled with spices and bits and bobs. But no sign of the garam massala.
Then finally I found what I wanted hidden in a jar on the highest shelf inside the 'ascot'; thats their version of a boiler room. I was also trying to get the hang of the beani bazari lingo.
I asked my husband for a doji......but after few minutes of explaining I wanted the wooden spoon, he corrected me.....its a tarooo.....apparently.
Anyway, back to the curry. Finally I finished the curry. Meat buna with potatoes. After all the detective work it was a mission complete.
Deep down I thought that would impress my sasuma.
She came home. Went into the kitchen. She lifted the lid of the pan. She asked who cooked. I informed her that it was I, the new bahu, who did the cooking; with a big grin on my face and trying to be a little shermali (shy bride). Then she asked where did you find all the ingredients, I told her I borrowed from the neighbours and some I had to sniff around the cupboards for.
She smiled, then she laughed.
I was a bit confused. What was so funny. She said firstly the garlic and ginger are frozen in the freezer. And secondly she doesn't put daal chini or elaichi in the her curries because "my kids don't like curries with garam massala". Oh great!
Anyway, on the bright side they all loved my curry.
And to this day I am the proud bhabi whom they all refer to as the master chef bhabi.
BTW if you're going to ask about the meat and potato 🥔 curry recipe, I am just tired thinking about cooking that day.
But honestly my MIL was one of the best cooks. Although I had a very complex and extensive knowledge of cooking before I got married I learnt some amazing cooking skills from her. We used to enjoy cooking together. She has left some amazing cooking legacies which I will cherish forever.