Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanks Giving Dinner with Mango Yogurt Pachadi, Shallots Sambar and Plantain Poriyal

This year, I have a lot to be thankful for. We celebrated family dinner with shallots sambar, plantain poriyal and mango yogurt pachadi. Dishes were served with basmati rice. All three dishes are quintessentially South Indian. I cooked all the dishes and made sure no corners were cut. It turned out to be a nice dinner.

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I believe that successful cooking has a lot in common with successful project execution. I have been cooking for over 25 years now and learned that when I followed certain steps, the dishes turned out to be a success. These are the steps.

1. Always follow the recipe of an accomplished chef or cook diligently. Don't improvise on that recipe. Just because you are a good product manager does not mean you know anything about cooking.

2. Plan your dishes when you shop. Not after you enter the kitchen.

3. Do not compromise on the ingredients. Grow them in your back yard if you have to. I do this. I grow curry leaves and lemons in my back yard for cooking and pickling.

4. Don't experiment when you are cooking for others.

5. Focus on a few dishes you are good at and perfect them. It is better to be very good at a few things than to be mediocre at many things.

If you are interested in South Indian cooking you must have the cook book by S. Meenaksi Ammal. Her book is considered the bible of South Indian cooking. I also like the cook book by Chandra Padmanabhan. The dishes I cooked today were all based on her recipes. I have owned both books for several years.

You might be wondering if there is a restaurant in your area where you can sample these dishes. Try the Saravan Bhavan chain of restaurants. They have restaurants around the world in many countries. They may not be the most authentic. But they are close enough.

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