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Daal Chawwal…(thanks Ammi)

October 9, 2011


“Ammi!! Daal Chawwal phir! ufff…” seemed like a desperate cry in vain . Her response would usually be on the lines of ” abh banhaa liyaa hai, khow abh!” .

That’s how my school days went, coming home and ammi (mom) would occasionally cook Daal Chawwal.. on the good days, my favorite Chicken Karahi would be made (only if I received an A or as a final grade or on some test). Not that she didn’t make anything else, (Mom’s a great cook) but the Daal Chawwal was just those days where you felt the day was going perfect and you wanted to come home to a great meal(like kebabs or protein related goodness) and you are met with the dullness of liquidy/soupy potion with blandness of white rice (mood kharaab hojata thaa). I was never a fan of the dreaded Daal Chawwal (Lentils and Rice) till recently that is. Maybe at 25 I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity of it all, or maybe in my mind I just realize that whatever is put in front of me to eat (it is a blessing from Allah) and I should be thankful that I have food to eat (where many others don’t).

My appreciation of Daal Chawwal is not recent (it came back in uni days), the hatred though stayed till high school when (I was getting free food on demand) literally. You know the good days when you don’t have to cook, your mom does it for you and if you’re Paris Hilton rich (your own chefs). That is until you go to college (University) you feel like a mentally challenged individual (no offense to those who are..) but that was the case with me. I didn’t even know how to fry an egg which is probably the easiest thing to do. I would rely on the good ol mobile to call up Dominos or drive to Maccas (McDonald’s) to fill up the tummy. Not that I have anything against these junk food types, they were amazing at that time..but in the process I was gaining weight and getting extremely bored of eating the same old burgers/pizzas and such. Yea in school, I always wanted these types of foods (moms cooking was boring) because it was always available and I was used to it… Would say to her sometimes ( Main jaaron hoon doston kay saath bahir kahnay!). Her expression would tell me (oh no not again, junk food pai paisay zaya karnay jaa ra hai!). I mean it wasn’t my fault too now, I did go to an Amreeken school, so it was by default that I would be eating Amreeken food right? (Pizza Hut and Hardeez) were the usual choice of destination for us cool kids ( a place to hangout and eat Amreeken foods).

Anyways,  as the process of eating junk food at college continued, it was during the first Eid in Australia (spent alone) that I was reminded so much of home. No Daal wasn’t made back home on Eid(Haleem, Biryani, Sawaiyaan etc.), but for the first time I missed eating Mom’s food as I dug in to my Maggi noodles box. It was a sad moment for me, I realized if only I had learnt to cook, I wouldn’t be eating this on Eid. I remember the next day, I actually went to an Indian restaurant and ordered Daal Makhni and white rice(was delicious).. but was shocked at the bill, came to 16 dollars all for some soup and rice. In my mind at that time I was like, all those years I was eating  16 dollars worth of food for free, sometimes twice. It was expensive alright, but it occurred to me that if learnt, it can be quite filling and way tastier than Maggi or the lame junk food I had become accustomed to. It was time to back to roots, learn desi cooking ( a much tastier, and cheaper way to live).

On my first trip back to Doha, I was determined to learn how to cook, at least Daal (shouldn’t be hard). As it turns out, it was pretty hard, you had to get the timing right of everything (as usually all cooking does) . There was this whole pain staking process of cutting up tomatoes, washing the Daal in water, mixing spices..etc etc.. It was like rocket science to me, my mom is a genius (in my head), how can she do this, so quickly. I had just gotten a glimpse of how Daal is made at that time, but it was YouTube where I learnt how to cook Daal(at Uni) after numerous failures.  Random Aunties have cooking videos uploaded on YouTube for cooking noobs like me, those videos helped me get through college as it turned out cooking is actually pretty fun. So throughout the rest of my Uni days, after my first trip back home, I would cook Daal once, or twice a week, .. it was quite filling, tasty, and enjoyable to eat.

Gone are the days of junk food and Maggi noodles ( I do eat them occasionally ) but it’s home cooking (mom’s cooking) all the time now (the preference) also because I’m back now(to Doha). She doesn’t make it as often as she used to and that just makes it special even more, but when she does.. I embrace it, not just her cooking alone, but Daal in general. It has been a growing up process as I shifted from Daal to junk food, and from junk food back to Daal.. I’ve realized that our desi foods are so much better than the latter (or any other foods as a matter of fact), also our parents are so right (mom cooks from the heart) because she cares and that as kids (we can be so unforgiving) when everything is given to us. I also wonder if I hadn’t gone abroad or lived alone, maybe I would’ve never enjoyed having Daal or appreciated mom’s cooking ever (maybe it was meant to be). So in the end, at 25 (still maturing and still learning =) ) I’m thankful to mom, to Allah, to my parents, and Daal.. for whenever there is food in front of me to eat (I’m thankful) that it is.

PS.. Daal on the menu tonight.. thanks Mom


From → The Blogs

  1. So….is your daal any good???

  2. oooppppsss. whatever it seems u love to have dal chawal that often 😛

  3. Ayesha permalink

    kaali waali daal is best! =)

  4. Ayesha permalink

    Goray rang ka zamaana ho gayaa ab puraana hehehe…khaa lou jitna khaana hai lol

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