Monsoon Madness – Slurrrpy and warm
Monsoons are here! And they’re all about romantic cosying up, beautiful rains, the sweet smell of wet earth, trees looking all green, and all of us staring at the falling rain and listening to some awesome jazz (or any music of your choice to suit the weather). Right? NO! WRONG! VERY, VERY WRONG!
Don’t brand me a pessimist or something, but you know what, when you live in Mumbai, and the monsoons decide to come down on you in all its glory, trust me, it isn’t pretty. No sir, no, it isn’t. Why you wonder? Let me tell you. Although, it is supposedly the most romantic season (thanks to all those stupid rom-coms and of course squinted Facebook updates). That said, rains in Mumbai are one of the things I dread the most in life. It makes the already inundated city, way yuckier and disgusting. The roads are full of muck and potholes and traffic jams and drains overflowing. If that’s not enough, people owning vehicles have complete disregard for people walking or on bikes or in rickshaws and would merrily splash you with a generous spray of the roadside mucky slush.
Now that I have painted the disgusting picture, grossed all of you out and given you a closer view of what Mumbai rains are actually like; let me take the privilege of painting a rather ‘jugaadu’ picture of how I cope with it. Now I know I am one of the few privileged people who work from home and can choose to step out at my will (my husband hates this, because he has a regular job), and I do not, for a single moment take it for granted (well, sometimes! But I am only human and hate the Mumbai rains… and you can’t blame me!). But I have a few tricks to keep me dry and keep my spirits up, in the luxury of my house and cook up a storm.
If you hate stepping out in the rains or the fact that you have to go that extra mile to feed the family while trudging through potholes or flooded streets, or simply because the gloomy weather gets you down, this one is for you.
A warm noodle soup for every soul
So, it’s simple, you collect all the materials that you would discard from your weekly cooking but in this case, put it to maximum use. Each and every ingredient, and every aspect of it. So basically, use all peels, discarded stems, roots, and the likes and freeze them in a zip-lock bag as you go forward. Once you have your bag of frozen treasures, here goes:
Leftover peels, bulbs, bones of meat and parts that you would usually discard – 3 cups
Ginger and garlic chopped really fine – 2tbsp
Fish sauce – 1tbsp
Soy sauce – 1tbsp
Water – 3 litres
Noodles – 1 pack
Spring onions (only the greens) – 1/2cup
Butter – 1tbsp
Cayenne pepper – 2tsp
Salt and pepper to taste
- Boil all the leftover treasures with whole spices of cloves, cinnamon, cumin and salt to taste. Let it boil for about 3 hours (once it has reached the boiling point on a high flame), lower the flame.
- Once that has boiled on a low flame for 3 hours, turn the gas off and let it steep for about 20 minutes.
- Drain the broth, because all you need is the broth. The vegetables and spices would have done their job, so you can discard those. The broth is precious.
- Next, add olive oil in a deep bottomed pan, and add the spring onions, and the leftover condiments, sauces, spices and the broth.
- Let it boil for 15 minutes taste it, and add the seasonings and the noodles.
- Let it boil for 8 minutes or once the noodles are al dente, which means they have just about the right amount of bite left to it without being gluggy.
- That done, the dish is done.
- I’ll let you in on a secret, if you are as lazy as I am, just make the stock whenever you have time. Once cooled, freeze it into ice cubes and use whenever you choose to make the soup. Trust me, the speed at which you will be able to whip up a delicious bowl of noodle soup, will elevate you to superhuman status!
- Make sure you wash all the vegetables well at every point you cook through the week, because remember, we are not discarding the unwanted.
- If you want to add some meat to it, you can. Save the bones from de-boning chicken thighs, mutton paya, or any other bones. Crack them and boil them with the initial broth and you will have a wonderful flavour of meat singing through the broth, without it being too meaty.
There you have it, a superhero recipe, that you would want to explore even when it’s gloomy outside, and I bet this will liven your meal up. This will be the sun that shines on a cloudy day. And pssst, it’s fairly effortless. Now be a darling and follow me on Instagram and Facebook and then you can praise me all you want on these social platforms!