This year’s Mother’s Day was extra-special for a reason. Well, this was the second time I ever participated in a cookout and the first time that I won!
Last week, I was invited by Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI) to participate in the #Maakehaathkakhana Mother’s Day cookout, sponsored by Godrej Yummiez. It was held at Palate Culinary Studio in Mumbai, and the studio was abuzz with foodies experimenting with Godrej Yummiez ready-to-cook products to create something innovative. We were told to come preferably with our mothers, mother-in-laws or kids. I was excited as I went there with my six year-old son Aditya to participate together, and he was obviously even more excited than me! Meeting Chef Vicky Ratnani at Godrej Yummiez Mother’s Day Cookout was something we both were looking forward to (Aditya is very fond of TV chefs). As a part of his duty, my son educated his mommy that this is the chef uncle who comes on TV, cooks good food and wrote a book called “Vicky Goes Veg.” He also told me that if I want to win, I have to decorate my food nicely and that anything with mayo tastes good. As I nodded my head, I was smiling to myself. Today’s kids!
Among the participants, I only knew my good ol’ friend Mohit Chotrani. I had an amazing time interacting with the participants and getting to know them more. There were also a beautiful mother-daughter duo, a daughter-in-law who came with her mother-in-law, and two other foodies. Sameer Malkani of FBAI, CN Nageshwaran and Pallavi of Godrej Yummiez and Rakhee Vasvani of Palate Culinary Studio were always there to help and were extremely approachable, in case we had any query.
We were given a basketful of yogurt, vegetables, fruits and herbs, along with two packets of Godrej Yummiez products. One product was the Hariyali Bites (vegetarian) and the other was their yummy chicken sausages. There were some other ingredients kept on the table, which we could use if we wanted. The fun challenge was that we had to create an innovative dish using these ingredients.
After occupying our respective workstations, all of us began our work. As I started peeling a raw mango, my enthusiastic son whispered his little culinary ideas into my ears. He also helped me a lot in his own ways: by throwing the vegetable peels in the dustbin, getting kitchen towels whenever I needed, not being naughty, etc. Later, he was kind enough to permit me to use my own ideas to create our dish. He was the apple of everyone’s eye that day and he was so happy when people casually called him as little sous chef and junior masterchef!
So what did I make? First, I made stuffed tomatoes with Hariyali Bites mixed with a grated raw-mango dip. I made something similar to a sweet-sour-hot version of raw mango chunda (a hot-and-sweet Indian pickle) mixed with yogurt, sugar, salt, chilli flakes, a little mayo (remember, Aditya’s suggestion!) and just a trace of ginger-garlic paste. Just before serving, I added crisp-fried, broken Godrej Yummiez Hariyali Bites to the raw-mango dip and stuffed this into the tomatoes, topped with fresh basil.
The other dish which I made was a stir fry of Godrej Yummiez chicken sausages and potatoes in a special sauce. I added a good amount of chopped onions and garlic in hot olive oil, followed by some salt. I browned the onions, until these lost their crunch. Then I added finely chopped potatoes and cooked for about 10 min, until cooked, but firm. I also added chopped and semi-crushed sausages and very finely chopped green capsicum. I sautéed continuously on a medium flame, until the edges of the sausages turned light brown. And now the special sauce: to these sausages, I added a mixture of a little mayo, sugar, good dash of Worcestershire sauce, very little tomato ketchup and soy sauce and just trace of ginger paste. I added this sauce and sautéed till the sausages absorbed all the sauce. The dish did not have any gravy and had a little brown tan on the sausages. I added crushed black pepper at the end.
When I was plating the dish, my foodie friends came to me and said that my dish looked beautiful. Then Chef Vicky Ratnani came and judged everyone’s dish meticulously. And guess what, I was declared the winner! My dish has been approved by the celebrity chef himself was reason enough for me to rejoice. The chef said that he liked my attention to detail, innovativeness and presentation. I was happy not only because I won, but also because my son was delighted as everyone clapped for his mommy.
While returning home with all the gifts (an array of Godrej Yummiez products), I called up my mother. She said that her day was made, just because she could feel the gleam in my eyes, and that was the biggest Mother’s Day gift for her. This was the same gleam which I saw in my son Aditya’s eyes when I won. I already got my biggest Mother’s Day gift too!
Picture courtesy and thanks to Godrej Yummiez, Sameer Malkani, Pallavi and CN Nageshwaran for organising such an interesting and fun-filled event.
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