A Dry Weekend

Mallika Basu - A Dry Weekend

Posted 25th September 2006











Normally, I would cook Indian on Sunday evening for dinner, freezing the leftovers for a rainy day. But Sunday night was a write off.

Seven of us ladies met in Soho for a friend’s hen night. It seemed like a good idea to do shots with her before Mr Gay Latin America UK turned up to do his striptease. When, oh when, will I learn that mixing B52s, mojitos and Vodka Limes is never worth the ravages of the next day.

It really hurt on Sunday. I dragged myself for dim sum lunch even when every inch of me desperately needed a curry.

I just couldn’t bear the thought of the pungent smell of masalas in my delicate state. See, I love Indian food. Just in case you had doubts. And I find every possible excuse to cook Indian. Dinner parties are a great excuse.

But the truth is that cooking Indian is a smelly affair. Your kitchen and even furniture and carpets will smell for days after your jhalfrezi. You also need to wash the smells off your hair and skin. So if like me you have frizzy wavy hair that needs to tamed, this is a long drawn out process.

Here is my five-step plan for beating the masalas at their own game:

  1. Close the kitchen door and turn the exhaust up on high
  2. Open any windows. If you live in an open plan space, this is even more important
  3. Wear a shower cap when cooking. You will look like an idiot. But you’ll save time and energy in the long-term
  4. When you finish cooking, cover the pots and clean the kitchen straightaway. Light fragrant candles in the living area and corridor
  5. Lastly, and most importantly, never ever use ready mixed masalas. They have really strong aromas that take weeks to get rid off.

Not all recipes are smelly. I’ll highlight the “low-smell” ones so you know.

12 responses to “A Dry Weekend”

  1. hugh says:

    Mallika, hope you’ve got over you hang-over. I’ll try some of your quick and easy recipes, but I don’t see myself cooking in a shower-cap somehow.

  2. […] of the evening I thought long and hard about her problem. Indian food does have strong flavours and fragrances. I racked my brains for a winter, single gal (or bloke) friendly recipe that would fit the […]

  3. Ahmed says:

    Nice tips for getting rid of curry smell. It is specially a problem during winter. In France butchers leave half a bucket full of white vinegar overnight to get rid of smell. White vinegar works.

  4. […] it up again for a mid-week dinner ticking all above boxes. Except this time I dived in cooking sans shower cap and eating with fingers, forgetting the big client meeting the next day. I swear his nose twitched […]


    Dear Mallika
    In ur “palak Murg” U suggested 4 cloves of garlic. But garlic cloves come in various sizes starting from miniscule to real fat juicy ones more like rajbhogs of Kolkata and are generally taken by people trying to reduce their cholesterol levels . What do you suggest we use.
    God bless u ur hubby and the 2 brats (already made and in the making)

  6. Mallika says:

    Hi Tapas, many thanks, especially from my husband who will need all the blessings he can get. 4 tiny cloves of garlic will simply not do it for 8 pieces of chicken so I would go for the fatter variety. As for those eating garlic to reduce cholesterol levels, they might as well not bother… research has in the last few years proved that garlic doesn’t actually reduce it. healthy diet and exercise are the only way forward in this dept!! All best.


    Thank you Mallika,
    The last bit about garlic being no substitute for exercise is new to me.Thanks once again and Good Luck

  8. Vid says:

    I usually keep a little bit of baking powder on a plate in the kitchen, when I cook big dinners with spices and meat. This works excellently for me and the smell is gone within a few hours or overnight.

  9. […] it up again for a mid-week dinner ticking all above boxes. Except this time I dived in cooking sans shower cap and eating with fingers, forgetting the big client meeting the next day. I swear his nose twitched […]

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