Cooking, especially baking, is therapeutic for me.
When I write myself into a corner, I either go for a run or think of cooking something. But I live in Mumbai, which is a soggy and drenched mess half the year, so going for a run in the evening is not exactly a good option. Which leaves me either cooking or the option of going into a hell-spiral of watching YouTube videos till 4 in the morning.
I choose cooking.
I improvise and mix-n-match a lot. Yesterday, I baked Irish Soda bread in a pressure cooker. The recipe normally requires buttermilk and here’s where it gets interesting.
I only had milk. Now, to make it resemble something even close to real buttermilk I needed a souring agent. I had no lemon or vinegar. And so, I was in a fix. It was time for research.
Google showed me that Cream of tartar is a souring agent. But you can’t really expect someone to have cream of tartar just lying around. And so, I was left dejected.
Lazy that I am, I didn’t want to go to the supermarket to buy a tetra-pack of buttermilk. Google to the rescue again.
Turns out, your usual Baking Powder has cream of tartar in it! And guess who has two thumbs and has a packet of baking powder just waiting to be picked up?
But I am also mischievous. I remember there is another ingredient which is used in desi households for baking. It’s your good old antacid fruit salt, ENO!
Eno is mostly used in baking dhokla and, for a split second, I was tempted to bake the Gujrati delicacy instead. But sense and a fear of extra hard work prevailed.
I mixed the dough, and let it rest for twenty minutes. I came back to check and it had risen. (Pro Tip – Proving your dough twice (or thrice) would result in an even tastier bread)
I don’t have an oven, so I had to improvise yet again. I used a pressure cooker.
35 minutes later, I had a crusty, golden, Made in India Irish Soda Bread.
But that’s not the end of the story. After tasting the bread, I went back to my laptop and, after having a quick look at the chapter I was stuck on, wrote a thousand words!
This is my writing process.