Speedy Crab Cakes

April 16, 2013

 
crab cakes 550

Shubho Noboborsho to you all. As I was going about my business towards the end of the Bengali year, I got a cryptic email in my inbox. It was on behalf of none other than Patak’s, the British Indian curry sauce people.

Now Patak’s and I have a long history together. Mostly involving my early days in England at university, when I first discovered housework, illegal substances and the horror that I would have to feed myself. I slowly made my way from Taj Mahal takeaway to boil-in-the-bag rice and yep, Patak’s curry sauce jars for sustenance.

Somewhere since then, I stumbled upon Jamie Oliver and mother’s very own chicken curry recipe. The rest as they say is history. But while the curry sauce jars fell off my weekly shopping list, I still reached for Patak’s Mango Pickle and shook my head dutifully at their “when I was a little boy” adverts.

What exactly did they want? Request no 1:  Would I like to be one of the faces of a new campaign for their curry pastes? A loaded question. Here I am, preaching the joys of cooking Indian food from scratch, savouring the pleasure of adding each spice lovingly to sizzling oil and watching oil ooze through pores on fresh masalas. Yes I would. Everyone needs a bloody night off. I need several.

Request no 2: Would I mind sharing a platform with my friend and professional chef, the better looking and far more sensible Maunika? Would I ever? I’m just hoping some of her eventually rubs off on me. (NOT like that, behave)

Request no 3: Please could I bring some bright coloured clothes to the shoot. That basically killed my entire current wardrobe. And no, animal print did not qualify as a “vibrant pattern”.

So I settled on a denim shirt. Knocked back a glass of Lansons and went for it cooking three recipes, with two spoons of a jar of Patak’s masala paste. Or something. The resulting dishes were delicious: Crab Cakes, the perennial favourite Palak Paneer and Karwari Jhinga, a coconut prawn curry.

A jar of Patak’s masala paste will now join the lofty ranks of the Thai Green Curry Paste well by its use by date in my fridge. The video is here for your viewing pleasure. Poor mother has racked up 1,000 clicks on it alone. I’ll be standing against a fence waiting for the rotten tomatoes to land.

Do me a favour: try one of the jars to see what you make of it and tell me what you do on your night off. Will you?

Comments

20 Responses to “How to Cook Papadum (papad)”

  1. Jules Says:

    November 19th, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Glad I’m not the only one who does them in the microwave!

  2. sarah Says:

    November 19th, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    for how long do u let it cook in the microwave?

  3. sarah Says:

    November 19th, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    oops nevermind my question.. i just reread ur post and realized it says 1 min each…

  4. sra Says:

    November 20th, 2008 at 1:55 am

    You’ve encapsulated the conversation bit so well! :-D

  5. Srivalli Says:

    November 20th, 2008 at 6:43 am

    oh those are perfect..though when I tried it mw, they turn little charred!..:)

  6. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen Says:

    November 20th, 2008 at 7:55 am

    I agree conversations with friends over a meal is the best times in life. Those Papad look gorgeous!

  7. mandira Says:

    November 20th, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    these evenings with friends are great… dunno about the three course meal though :)

  8. RedChillies Says:

    November 20th, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    All time favorite snack of ours!

  9. IshitaUnblogged Says:

    August 7th, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Lovely reading… gorgeous mom of a gorgeous daughter! I am quite like you – although I got inspired by my ma, dida… I cook like no one else – I have learnt to cook only after getting married and S and I started setting up our home, far away from the shores of Bengal. We used to crave for traditional dishes which as a child we used to avoid – korola bhaja, shukto, chyachra, patla maacher jhaal etc.

  10. Fiona Says:

    August 7th, 2015 at 8:48 am

    What interesting reading! That’s such a nice smiley pic of your Mum.
    I love cooking Indian food and because I am not blessed with any connection to the Indian subcontinent, bought quite a few cookbooks.
    I learnt to cook thanks to cookery writers like MJ and yourself. My family always request your Murgh Makhani and we have made the Seekh Kebabs and loved your story about the Outback barbecue!
    Waiting for your next book…

  11. shaoli Dasgupta Says:

    August 7th, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Hi Mallika,
    I suddenly who you are….this is truly one of those OMG moments….ur mother’s quite the celebrity…and of course u r the from the Basu clan….am in utter shock…btw am in instagram as dasshaoli…ardent follower for last 7 yrs but writing to u for the first time….
    ..

  12. Binny Says:

    August 7th, 2015 at 10:05 am

    I learned myself through lots of failed dishes and experimenting :) my hubby has been my taste critic and I have my own style – different to both my mum and mother in law :)

  13. Pamela Says:

    August 7th, 2015 at 11:33 am

    I can’t actually remember my mother teaching me anything. But I did a lot of cooking while I was growing up. American style Norwegian Lefse, for example. Bacon and eggs with pancakes out in Big Sur in California. Chocolate pudding made with cornstarch and milk! Those were the kind of dishes I made between the ages of 10 and 16 or so.

    Soon after that I went off to college and then on to Japan where I’ve been ever since. I grew a great interest in cooking and taught myself Japanese cooking. Along with Western cooking, to keep up. ;-)

    But now I’m absolutely mad about Indian cuisine. And I am studying and studying and learning and learning and reading and reading to learn more about Indian cooking. I just love it! Although it is still a mystery and challenge in many ways!
    ;-)

  14. Sra Says:

    August 7th, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    My family was rather adamant about not letting its kids cook, grandparents downward. The women in the generation above me learnt out of necessity, when they moved abroad and had to fend for themselves. It was seen as a life skill that could be acquired when it was needed.

    In a lull in my academics, between MA, job applications, entrance/competitive exams and M Phil, I got bored and started baking despite severe protests. Never cooked regular food, only fancy stuff like souffles, puddings and rum babas, with an old oven lying around the house.

    Of course, once I made it, my folks would try it out and say Nice but also cluck that I could do better (academic, professional) things with my time. The grandparents, now gone, probably would not like it that I have a food blog but at the same time I am pretty sure they would be proud, amidst all the clucking. My parents are – very!

    I learnt regular cooking only after I got married. Cookbooks, The Spouse, and my mother, who’s not a cook herself but manages fine when necessary, would explain on the phone if I had questions.

  15. Laurie MacBride Says:

    August 7th, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Cooking with my mother when I was living at home was mostly stirring the gravy, while she did all the other (and more interesting) tasks….though I admit, she taught me to peel veggies and make French toast, both of which have been useful skills. She was a great cook but she had so many other interests in life that the kitchen was not our prime focus together, other than when we were engaged in nightly dishwashing and cleanup. The real cooking, I learned from my first spouse. He had left home earlier than me so had been feeding himself (rather well) for a couple of years before we got together. It seemed like he could tackle any type of food without fear. But on the rare occasions when there was something neither of us knew how to do, I’d call my older sister-in-law, who was a genius in the kitchen department, and she’d walk me through the process over the phone. I remember doing that once – the first time I ever had to cook a turkey, with guests coming for dinner. My significant other was supposed to make the dinner but he got held up working late so I had to take over. My sister-in-law was wonderful!

  16. Laurie MacBride Says:

    August 7th, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Cooking with my mother when I was living at home was mostly stirring the gravy, while she did all the other (and more interesting) tasks….though I admit, she taught me to peel veggies and make French toast, both of which have been useful skills. She was a great cook but she had so many other interests in life that the kitchen was not our prime focus together, other than when we were engaged in nightly dishwashing and cleanup. The real cooking, I learned from my first spouse. He had left home earlier than me so had been feeding himself (rather well) for a couple of years before we got together. It seemed like he could tackle any type of food without fear. But on the rare occasions when there was something neither of us knew how to do, I’d call my older sister-in-law, who was a genius in the kitchen department, and she’d walk me through the process over the phone. I remember doing that once – the first time I ever had to cook a turkey, with guests coming for dinner. My significant other was supposed to make the dinner but he got held up working late so I had to take over. I knew how to stir gravy, but not how to actually make the gravy, or much of anything else that preceded that step. My sister-in-law was a wonderful coach and the dinner was a success!

  17. Shraddha Says:

    August 8th, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Hi Mallika,
    Loved this post – been reading your blog religiously for years now and very happy to say that it’s your fantastic posts that taught me cooking :-)
    Yes – and definitely to my mother’s surprise….. I think am quite a respectable cook now (secretly armed with your recipes)
    Thank you xx

  18. Shireen Says:

    August 9th, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Fabulous blog. You nailed it on the head for all of us growing up in big cities in India with mothers who looked over their glasses whilst reading the morning paper at the cook, to make the final decision about the days menu for the family ( dad’s hypertension- related dietary needs and sisters aversion for some vegetable or other included). I learnt to cook out of sheer desperation for ‘ghar ka khana’ when I came to the UK. My gratitude to the cooks of my childhood who tolerated me hanging about the kitchen asking them about their life whilst making nails and baskets out of chapatti dough . I’m sure I subconsciously learnt something from them when I started to make messes in my own kitchen.

  19. Lakshmi Says:

    August 9th, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Hi Mallika,
    I am a newcomer to your blog. Wonderful post and it really made me thinking! I never cooked with my mother much, before I actually started cooking. In fact, just enjoyed eating them. But after marriage, I did ask her for the typical South Indian recipes. But cooking has always been my style, with the way I do. I did have a few downs during my initial cooking days, but it made me a better cook.

  20. Amir Says:

    August 28th, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Hi,

    Few Month Ago biteclub person contact me for investment..he told me that it cuold be great deal for biteclub if you will invest in biteclub.. becuz we are different from others and i was impressed..and kafi money invest kar diya.. unhone mujhe 10% profit dene ke liye kaha then on that time i was happy, after a long time biteclub not contact me and provide me any profit money then i contact with biteclub..you know what he was saying to me..who are you ..i dont know who are you..and unhone har baat se dinnied kar diya main prui tarha shocked tha..maine bhut bada amount biteclub pr lga diya tha..apne dusre kaam chor kar but biteclub ab mere sath dhokha kar raha tha..or mere paise bhi rakh liye..please help me..my friend suggest me that file a complaints against biteclub..then he will refund your money..i want file a complaints against biteclub please help me

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