On my third day of shutdown, I decided to make Gulab Jamun.
Initially, I wanted to make a cake and brag about it on Facebook, just like all of my friends. But the problem is that I had never made a cake before.
Not just a cake, I have never cooked anything before. So when everyone started to spend their shutdown days in the kitchen, and my newsfeed started flooding with pictures of people making pizza, cakes, cinnamon rolls, kebabs, biriyani and everything that is delicious, I thought – why should only they earn all the love and wow reacts?
So I chose to make Gulab Jamun for two reasons. First, Gulab Jamun is easier to make (at least the video said so) compared to cakes, and secondly because I was craving it as I am known as a foodie.
Almost every day after work before the pandemic, I used to rush to a restaurant. I would also call up a friend who is nearby to join me on my late lunch or early dinner.
But then, coronavirus hit Bangladesh with full force. I still remember sitting at a restaurant in Dhanmondi when I first heard the news. Fifteen days later, the shutdowns were ordered, and we were shuttered down at home. The first blow to me was "closure of restaurants and no more outside food."
I love sweets. So, on my first take on making sweets at home, I turned to YouTube and my cooking adventure began.
The first step was to make the sugar syrup. The video said one to boil the syrup until it reaches the "one string consistency". Now, what is that? I googled it and found out what it meant.
The second step was to make the sweet balls. For that, I had to mix all the ingredients into dough and knead. And hence arose the question - How to knead?
I turned to YouTube once again and watched the video all over. This time, I mimicked the kneading technique and put a ten-minute timer on my phone because the recipe said I had to knead the dough for ten minutes without stopping.
After kneading for a few minutes, my hands started to hurt. But I had to go on for ten minutes. It felt like the longest ten minutes of my life.
After I made small balls out of the dough, it was time to fry them.
This part was easy. But I always mess up the easy things. When I was frying the sweets, I almost burned them. But then, my mother came to my rescue and finally we could save the sweets.
When my brother tasted it, he said it was very nice. This was the beginning of my kitchen-diary. Almost every day since then, I have taken the trouble to try my hands on something new.
But when I tried to make jilapi during Ramadan, it was not easy. I followed the YouTube process and did everything accordingly. But then again, making jilapi requires a technique of twisting the liquefied batter over hot oil, which I could not do. Hence, I failed and the jilapis I made looked horrific.
However, in the last three months, I have mastered the art of cooking with YouTube. I spend hours watching recipes and trying them and now,
I have excelled in making Biriyani, too. I cooked all the food this Eid.
So, it was not only my practice that made my cooking perfect. The credit also goes to the videos I watched online which made me a self-proclaimed chef.