Saturday, July 1st 2017
The month of June went by quickly due to our end of school commitments but we almost made it by signing up on July 1st for our next meal donation. This was our third cookout! Based on our Waffles experience last time our main chef decided to keep it simple this time. Our chef likes to try out new recipes, so we decided to have an Indian influenced British food. For dinner, we made Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice Pulao, a side of salad, and fruit Custard for dessert.
We surprised ourselves by how organized we were this time around. Nitya made an inventory of ingredients before shopping. We asked the butcher in our local grocery store to skin and dice the chicken breasts to avoid spending a lot of time cutting meat; our strawberry cutting episode during our last cookout had left us exhausted!
We decided to prepare the custard the night before. We peeled 2 full bags of oranges and squirting the orange peels at each other was the most fun we had that evening.
The next day we got together to complete our cooking. This time we repeated our Salad recipe from the first cookout because it was a big hit the first time! We didn’t have to look at a recipe at all!! For the main course, we started by chopping onions, garlic and ginger. It took a lot of tears and complaints, but we got it done.
Ria and her mom worked on frying the chicken, and as they added all the ingredients to the gravy, the sauce magically came together. The sauce was utterly- butterly delicious but looks like we made a ton of it! We shared the extra sauce with 3 of our neighbors. Nitya and I are vegetarians and we are still warming up to work with meat.
We made Pulao using a different method this time. We decided to bake rice with water and veggies in the oven. The rice turned out beautiful with each grain well separated. The aroma filled the kitchen when we opened the oven. We knew our rice was cooked successfully!
We were excited about getting a chance to serve again this time. As soon as we entered the shelter, the manager wearing glasses and a hat welcomed us. “The kids haven't eaten all day”, he said with a relieved look on his face. Not many donors had signed up to donate food as it was the July 4th weekend.
It felt good to serve the kids and we saw a few familiar faces. We were skeptical that the kids would not enjoy Indian food because it tends to be spicy. Thankfully, most of them said they liked spicy food, and one of them could name every dish and was very familiar with the cuisine.
A big shoutout and thank you to Ria’s aunt and uncle, Rama and Goplas for sponsoring the ingredients for this dinner! Your generosity always encourages us to keep going!! -Neha