Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bhajis a la Rob the Husband

On Monday 15.0, Rob the Husband decided to cook.

Rob is pretty adorable on the rare occasion when he tries to cook. He's so incredibly meticulous (I'd even venture so far as to label him anal) about it all, and he likes to keep his meals a surprise. He takes pride in plating his culinary creations to make them look super nice (because he's metro like that), and he is constantly apologetic while we are eating, needing reassurance that his meals are indeed edible, and in some cases, pretty spectacular.

The majority of stuff he prepares, to be honest, is processed food that he tries to fancy up or put his own spin on, because in his own words, he is "hopeless in the kitchen." One dish he has mastered, from scratch, is Portobello Mushroom Burgers. He makes some pretty awesome Deviled Eggs too, but not anymore, of course...those have officially fallen off our menu.

Rob hasn't made his Portobello Mushroom Burgers since we embarked on this vegan journey, as I think he needs to figure out a way to vegan-ize the secret sauce, and I am definitely looking forward to them when he does. Hope it's sooner than later...hint hint.

**We text while in the same house, communicate via facebook, and now I'm making dinner requests via my blog while he sits on the couch 12 feet in front of me. Talking is totally obsolete.**

But last night he took a big risk and tried a recipe from Taste magazine (yay BC Liquor Stores!)...bhajis, which are basically pakoras, which are basically lentil fritters.

At first, he didn't want my help. He wouldn't tell me anything about the recipe, other than it was an Indian dish. I had an idea of where it was headed, as he had called me earlier in the day asking if we had lentils and cilantro and ginger. But the cloak of secrecy remained intact, and he was determined to go it alone for this meal...except for asking me to chop up some cilantro and green chillies (which ended up burning my eyes later that night when I took out my contacts...holy crap does the essence of chili pepper stay on your skin for a stupid long period of time!).

As Rob proceeded with his cooking endeavor, the smell of cumin quickly began to permeate the house. And not just a pleasant, fragrant scent indicating that some excellent food is being prepared...I'm talking like a cumin plant grow-op house inhabited by teenage boys whose Axe bottles were filled with cumin powder as a prank by their clueless sisters who also accidentally mistook cumin powder for detergent and did the family laundry with the stuff.

It was after a few minutes of listening to me complain about the smell that Rob abandoned his hope of surprising me with dinner and asked for help. I smiled and sighed and shook my head (because I can be kinda bitchy and condescending like that), and prepared to save the day. As it turned out, however, the Taste recipe was confusing and not very clear, and I ended up being pretty useless.

Rob then did something dangerous, and totally abandoned the recipe. He found similar dishes online and added a bunch of other spices and stuff, playing around with the taste and texture, determined to salvage his meal.

Check out that intensity. That is definitely one determined cook.

The tension was mounting as he fried up his first batch of bhajis...this was entirely too much effort not to taste good.  

He despaired, fearing that all his time and effort would amount to naught. He didn't even bother channeling his metro side to plate them all pretty (and he ain't looking all too metro in that swanky yellow sweatshirt). But the true test was in how these things tasted. 

And you know what?

They sucked so bad that I filed for divorce.

Just kidding. They were actually pretty good. Rob wasn't too thrilled with the taste at first, but I was. They tasted exactly like one would expect an Indian pakora to taste, and the tamarind dipping sauce was seriously quite delicious. The first batch was soggy on the inside, so he made the next batch smaller so they would cook through more thoroughly, and they were great.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting them to turn out as well as they did. I pretty much wrote the meal off after Rob announced that he wasn't following the recipe anymore and that he altered it so much that he could call it his own creation at this point. But it was good. It was really good.

Rob the Husband genuinely surprised me and proved that he could in fact improvise in the kitchen.

In the words of the illustrious Wil Wheaton, I'm so proud I could fart a rainbow :)

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