Monday, November 22, 2010


One reason why I take the easy route in cooking by seasoning vegetables rather than cooking a “masale-daar” dish or sometimes, even try to stay out of the kitchen, is Onions! I love a lot of Indian dishes that unfortunately needs Onion as its ingredient, Of course, most of the Indian dishes with gravy would be incomplete with out Onion as one of its ingredients. The more gravy you need, the more onions we need to cut. How can I cut these because in the time it would take for me to peel and cut 2-3 onions under water, I would have cried pots and pans of tears, much more than I would be cooking.  By the time I would complete the cutting process and finish the cooking, my eyes would have puffed up like I had been crying my heart out, the whole day.  Its a very painful process for me. No amount of washing the onion in cold water helps me.

From that fine day, that my kids noticed me crying and realized the reason my tears were flowing as I cooked in the kitchen, they have made it a point to stand around and fan away the Sulphur vapors that my eyes are so allergic to. So cute, that gesture was, the first time they did it. I almost felt like I was getting pampered by my kids.  Then they would test their eyes while I cut the onions. One of them would stand at some distance and come closer to check if their eyes are as sensitive as mine. Surely, nobody at home is as allergic to the cut of the onion as I am.  My husband would cut them like he is cutting squash. So easy with no weeping eye and nose.

The other day, I suddenly felt that I needed to cook chickpeas. Why not, even my kids love it. But then, the onions had to be dealt with. Again, Why not? The thought of eating Chana-Masala was so appealing that I was going to go through this process of cutting the onions.  But, before that I needed to peel it. That was enough to set this whole tearing process into motion. I  washed the onion in water before I could even touch the knife to the bulb. It didn’t help. And I started to cut them..  I was rubbing my face onto my sleeves to dry my eyes and then my nose and when I could do no more..I closed my eyes and tears still pouring, I tried cutting them with closed eyes. First one and then second and then third.  My eyes, my nose and everything that could burn or water were doing so.

“I  have dirtied all your work place”, the painter said from behind me.

There was a painter and his crew at home, trying to make my home a beautiful place to live in with colors the walls never knew existed before then. I was wondering if I should turn and let him see my face..I had no choice, it would be too rude to ignore him.

I turned and laughed at his remark and told him that it was ok. I had continued to talk to him but, I could see he wasn’t listening to what I said. He was staring at those wet eyes. He must have been thinking.

“Did she break down because I messed up her kitchen”. As I tried to dry up my wet eyes, and appeared like I was trying to smile through my tears,  trying to hide a galaxy of sadness like the women who feed on prozaic do in the soaps on Indian Saas and Bahu channel, I’m sure he was guessing that this women is really going through the lowest of lows of her life that she is breaking down in front of ME!…

His chest was almost starting to swell up at the hope that he was going to be that person in the whole wide world, who is going to enlighten me, not to loose hope and cheer up, that things could get worse….like this strip from Calvin and Hobbes.


“Onions…, its the onions” I said pointing to the onions I was cutting.

I almost could see that I broke his hope of being the savior.  He really let out this big laugh and told me..

“Oh Onions!”.  and he continued to laugh some more...

“I could eat the bulb as is”.  he said

“Wow” I said.

There ended our conversation about onions.

But, when it comes to Flowering Allium/Onions, I don’t have a problem..coz, I don't have to peel or chop them, right! Cheers to all the Onions (Alliums) growing in my Yard and make spring feel like spring!  The flowering cultivars that are available are so many…and we see may be, 3 types of edible Onions in the Market. The Red, White and Yellow colored ones.


 DSC_1424  (Allium Gladiator)DSC_1484  (Allium Cowani)DSC_1461  (Allium Unifolium)DSC_1380 (Allium Purple Sensation)


editedpic-1245  (Allium Globemaster)

  DSC_1609  (Allium Molly)


Apart from the ones displayed,  there is the white kind just like the Gladiator, the tiny dark pink ones, the ones that look like porcupines, and a lot more than one can imagine.

This is a very nice place to find Alliums. I’m not sure if the edible ones flower like these or the flowering ones are edible as the ones available in the Market.  But, I’m sure of one thing, they smell the same.


bhagyareema said...

I too cry and cry while cutting onions but then Konkani cooking has a lot of no garlic, no onion recipes but it involves coconut.
But then again grating coconut makes me cry-- too lazy to grate coconuts
had a fun time reading this post

Purba said...

I read somewhere if you chew gum while chopping onions it helps. Try it next time.

And why don't you use a chopper?? It's so convenient. Btw your painter is one helluva sensitive guy :))

gayatri said...

Hi Bhagyreema, most of south indian vegetable cooking is without onions too. And, I looooove coconuts in cooking. Actually, my husbands family introduced me to making kaadi..using cocunut and white pumpkin..It comes out so yum! The first time I heard Pavan say vegetables in Kadi..I felt he's just creating his own dish.

gayatri said...

Hi Purba, Have heard another too..Have a burning candle nearby while cutting which sounds plausible could be burning those sulphur vapors.

You must be so right about the choppers. I've only managed to fill my cabinets with gadgets I don't end up using. It just feels so much work to clean up a food processor for the sake of cutting 3 onions!

On the spot about the painter and very patient man too..that he's back for a second time. Surely, the previous project wasn't a painful experience for him as much as it appeared to my husband.