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‘Help! There’s A Comedian In My Kitchen!’ 5 Lockdown Recipes Comics Insist You Try

By Maanya Sachdeva 18 May 2020

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We’re all spending a lot more time in the kitchen these days, thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown. Judging by the number of Instagram posts about banana bread on our feeds—second only to the number of Instagram Lives at any point in the day—it’s clear that we’re all looking for solace at the bottom of our kadhais and inside our ovens. That includes stand-up comedians, who have gone from making jokes about food bloggers to making Instagram videos of their latest culinary achievements.

So, we asked five of them to share their go-to recipes—from wholesome dal-rice to a spicy Goan chorizo pulao—that you can recreate at home with minimal damage. After all, you can’t eat banana bread for all your meals no? Well, you shouldn’t.

Sumukhi Suresh’s Onion Chutney

Unlike many millennials, Sumukhi Suresh has been cooking since way before the lockdown. Putting together a delicious meal comes naturally to the comedian who, in her standup special, reveals that she was trained to be the perfect wife by her amma. However, if you don’t have years of experience in the kitchen like she does, start small. Here’s her recipe for a tangy, delicious onion chutney that is noob-proof.

Ingredients

1 large onion, sliced
3 garlic pods, chopped
1 tsp chana dal
½ tsp urad dal
2 red chillies
2 to 3 strands of imli (or 1tsp of imli paste)
2 tbsp oil (ideally sesame. If not, any oil is fine)
Salt to taste
¼ tsp Asafoetida (hing)

For tempering

1 tsp oil (ideally sesame. If not, any oil is fine)
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 stem curry leaves

Procedure

  • Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan and then lower the flame.
  • Add 1 teaspoon chana dal and urad dal. Sauté till they turn golden. DO NOT BURN THEM.
  • Then add red chillies. Sauté for a few seconds till the chillies change colour. DO NOT BURN THEM (Ed: this is obviously the voice of experience speaking shouting).
  • Then add the onions and garlic. Sauté till the onions turn a light brown. Switch off the flame and let the onions become warm or cool down.
  • Then take the entire onion mixture in a chutney grinder. Add tamarind, hing and salt.
  • Add water accordingly and grind to a smooth paste.

For tempering

  • Heat oil in the same pan, add mustard seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add curry leaves.
  • Keep the flame low, and now add the ground chutney. Cook for 2 minutes and it’s ready! Enjoy with dosa or rice!
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Anu Menon’s Healthy Banana Oat Pancakes

When we asked Anu Menon for a recipe, she laughed good-naturedly and sent it across in under ten minutes. We should have known that, as a mom, she’s probably got a recipe tucked away for any occasion. And her banana oat pancakes sound like the breakfast offering of your Sunday brunch dreams.

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
½ cup or 9 tbsp of quick oats
2/3 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 tsp of coconut oil (it’s not a Malayali thing, it’s a recipe thing so stop judging)

Procedure

  • Mash the bananas.
  • Add in the eggs (vegetarians look away!) and beat well.
  • Add vanilla extract and cinnamon powder, and whisk well
  • Powder the oats in a mixer/blender.
  • Add baking powder and salt.
  • Mix the dry ingredients with the wet and stir well.
  • Add the coconut oil to a frying pan and wait till it heats up.
  • Pour the batter in and cook for 1-2 minutes until bubbles start appearing. Then flip the pancake and do the same thing on the other side.

Serving suggestion: Drizzle honey or chocolate sauce or devour it with Nutella/peanut butter. Did I say it was healthy? STOP IT!

Baggy’s Spaghetti Aglio Olio

In episode one of Bugging Baggy, the comic shares his feelings on cooking. “It’s amazing, it’s therapeutic, I love it and I think everyone should know how to do the basics of it,” he says. When we called to bug him for a recipe, he shared one for his version of spaghetti aglio olio.

Ingredients

Olive oil
Thinly sliced garlic
Dried red chillies
Pasta
Any vegetables you’d like to use/have lying around
Salt to taste
Cheese

Procedure

  • Put a pot of water to boil.
  • Once it’s boiling, add pasta and salt. Based on the type of pasta you’re using, this should take anywhere between 6-12 minutes to cook.
  • While the pasta is cooking, pour some olive oil onto a pan.
  • Add the garlic and chillies while the oil is still cold and cook it on a low flame. This allows the flavours to infuse in the oil. 
  • Drain the pasta and save some of the water.
  • If you’re going to add anything else—mushrooms, capsicum, corn—to the oil, now would be the time to do it.
  • If not, add the pasta. Mix it really well.
  • Add some of the pasta water and cook it till it evaporates.
  • Add salt, cheese and serve.

Bonus Recipe: Baggy can also make a mean grilled cheese sandwich! You can check out its recipe below.

Jeeya Sethi’s Dal Dhokli (Minus the Dhokli)

Jeeya Sethi’s silky, creamy, buttery mashed potatoes, served with grilled chicken, gave her a clear advantage in The Grin Revolution’s cook-off against Sonali Thakker. And, on popular demand, she has included its recipe here. First, however, she wants you to try her version of the popular Gujarati dish dal dhokli, though she’s skipped the dhokli because “it’s thoda extra work.” Why? “It’s damn tasty dude! It’s spicy and khatta and meetha and everything. It’s a dabba of heaven once it’s made,” Jeeya says.

Ingredients

1 cup of toor dal
1 tomato, chopped
A little bit of haldi
A little bit of red chilli powder (depending on your spice tolerance)
Lime juice
Jaggery

For the tadka

1 tbsp oil/ghee
Jeera
Rai
1-2 green chillies
A few curry leaves

Procedure

  • Clean, wash and drain the dal.
  • Pressure cook it with two cups of water, tomato, chilli powder and haldi. Cook it for three whistles on full flame, four whistles on low flame.
  • Switch off the gas and let the steam out.
  • Grind everything with a hand blender till it becomes a nice, thick soup.
  • Put it back on the gas. Add jaggery and lime juice, and continue to cook it.
  • If you haven’t added enough water at the pressure cooker stage, you can add in some more.
  • Taste the dal and see if you want to add more jaggery/lime juice depending on your personal preferences.

For the tadka

  • Heat the oil, add the jeera and rai.
  • Once they start sputtering, add the green chillies and curry leaves and cook.
  • Pour over the dal and dig in!

Neville Shah’s Chorizo Pulao

Want to learn how to cook like Neville Shah? You’re in luck. Ad man, comedian, director AND chef – Neville is using this time in lockdown to cook things and share their recipes on YouTube as well as Instagram. So, when we called him about this story, he pointed us in the direction of his Instagram highlights, which includes recipes for a mushroom stir fry with star anise & lemongrass rice, lasagna, pork shoulder and dahi kadhi.

But Shah’s delicacy of choice is his Goan chorizo pulao, so we made him write that one out specially for you (because we can).

Ingredients

500 gms of chorizo
4 tbps oil
2 big-ish onions
2 big-ish tomatoes
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken
2 bay leaves
10-12 peppercorns (maybe more, who knows?)
Cardamom
1 cup of rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
3 cups of water

Procedure

  • Heat oil. Add the whole garam masalas i.e. cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, peppercorns and cardamom.
    Once they splutter, add the onions.
  • Sauté the onions till they are translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook them.
  • Add the chorizo.
  • Add the soaked rice.
  • Add the water and mix well.
  • Stir continuously on high heat for a bit. This is important so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the utensil.
  • Reduce the flame and cover the rice with a lid.
  • Add a little bit of warm or hot water and stir on high heat till the excess water has evaporated. And that’s it!

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