CHAPTER 11 (continued)

Posted: June 1, 2014 in Uncategorized


In so far as one denies what is, one is possessed by what is not and the compulsion flocks to fill the void – Ursula LeGuin

Back at home I searched the cupboards for inspiration. The successful meeting with Mr. Ebrahim had me in good spirits so I intended to indulge my taste buds. Throwing a few things together to make a meal was my specialty. I also loved mixing flavours and they seemed to work – most of the time. Today I was in the mood for pasta and decided on Spaghetti and meatballs. But not any meatballs, I thought to myself cheekily. Maybe ill try Husna’s Kaapse meatballs. With a giggle , remembering Husna’s joke at Taalim,, I checked for all the ingredients.

 I begin with the tomato based sauce. I use an onion sautéed in ghee. Yes, today I’m going for the authentic -no canola oil and olive oil – its pure ghee today. Ghee is basically coronary heart disease that comes in a 1kg yellow tub. My mother always went for pure ghee in her cooking, like most authentic Indian ‘aunties’. Ghee is credited with the high prevalence of cardiac disease among Indian men, but don’t tell that to my father. He enjoys modern cooking, but if you are going to cook Indian, you better be using ghee – and trust me  he can tell the difference. It does give an amazing aroma. The onion base fuses spices in the ghee and creates an irresistible aroma of chillie, garlic, ginger and coriander before the tomato is added. This is my Daddi’s “tomato chutney” recipe. It is a classic Indian base for most Indian curries giving an otherwise bland sauce, a spicy twist to create a traditional tomato based Italian sauce with a Indian signature. As the acidic tomato takes on the spices and flavour, it bubbles away into a thick rich red lava. After simmering for a while, the thickened concentration of tomato and spices is reduced to a flavour-packed sauce that erupts intermittently, letting out the air bubbles that slowly rise to the top in a contained lava explosion of flavour. I tackle the meatballs next adding all the main ingredients. Husna’s secret ingredient of meebos gets finely chopped and chucked in with a silent ‘Bismillah’, and durood for good measure. I have never made it before, but Husna did say it was fool proof, and I know first hand that it is simply delicious.

Cooking is therapeutic. Maybe it’s the involvement of all your senses that bombard your brain with smell, texture, taste and sounds that pushes all negative thoughts out of your brain. My grey matter is being kept busy by stirring and tasting here, rolling and dipping there. When the meatballs are done and the secret ingredient unassumingly combined into little balls packed with flavour and a secret surprise, its time for frying. No ghee this time.

Spaghetti is put up and quickly done to perfection, al dente, to be specific. Looking at the sauce, I take a taste. Its delicious, but I’m feeling adventurous. I dash to the grocery cupboard and pull out a tin of coconut milk. Some Thai inspiration, I think, as I add a dash into the pot. Immediately the red lava swirls with the thick milk. A second taste gives me confirmation of a tomato coconut marriage made in heaven.

 I look across at the kitchen clock on the wall. Hussain should be back in an hour. The food looks and smells great. The home is filled with the promise of supper. The aroma fills every corner of the kitchen and I realize that it is only when there are dishes pilled in the sink and a smell of cooking filling the air that this house is turned into a home and the void that is usually so apparent, is filled momentarily. Satisfied, I turn to take a plate and set a place for myself for supper. Another lonely meal I think. Just as I do, the phone rings.


  1. Al says:

    Slm. Absolutely loving ur blog, fresh n well-written! How often do u post?

    • shabeeha says:

      Ws. Thank you so much. I try to post everyday. If you want to be notified by email whenever I add a new post please send me your email address. ENJOY. S

  2. amy says:

    Hey can u please post your email, so we can email you and receive the new posts. جزاك الله خير
    Eagerly looking forward to the next post

  3. shabeeha says:

    e mail is also if you have twitter my handle is @heeshaba twitter posts links to all updates as soon as it is posted. ENJOY. S

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