Julia Child in Delhi – Designer Payal Singh Makes Her 10-Minute Meal, Ghaziabad
The great chef’s life in Delhi.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Buckling up the seat belt, she normally drives out into the world far from home… she’s en route to the office.
But not anymore. Payal Singh didn’t think much about the routines in her working life—until the coronavirus lockdown forced her to stay confined in the family flat with husband and daughter.
Actually she lives in two flats. Ms Singh’s elderly parents reside in a similar apartment two floors down in the housing complex in Ghaziabad in the Greater Delhi Region. “Sometimes I make lunch for us all and sometimes Mummy cooks dinner for all… so it’s now going on as smoothly as possible.”
She’s talking on WhatsApp from the isolation of her fourth floor apartment; the images have been taken through the phone screen connecting her to The Delhi Walla.
In her 40s, the cheery-voiced woman started her career as a textile designer in a home furnishing export firm in Ghaziabad. “But later I gave up the job realising that I was spending so little time with my little girl.” She rejoined rush hour life a couple of years back after her daughter entered university. Her current office is in Noida, a 20-minute drive away.
“It was nice to get back into the job… to be a part of the bigger world. And always knowing that in the evening there is always home to return to.
“And I enjoy my time in designing. And the team is so good—-we work together, eat together, and listen to music together, asking Alexa to play favroite songs in turn.”
Ms Singh is always first in the family to get up in the morning preparing breakfast and lunch before waking the others. She would leave the house only after husband and the daughter had left for the day. On her way to the car parking, she would invariably stop by her parents’ flat to share chai and gossip.
“In the office, we would share our tiffins,” says Ms Singh with a sigh. She wonders whether partaking from each other’s lunch box will ever again be possible following the virus invasion into our lives.
She confesses that the lockdown personally has been far less unkind to her. It is almost the other way around, to be frank. “I’m now getting this wonderful opportunity of peaceful days at home with my parents, husband and daughter.”
Just this afternoon she quickly rustled out a dish for her family, with her own recipe that she’s kindly agreed to share with us.
“I sort of invented it on my own,” she declares modesty. “I always carry home-made food to the office, and once, on a busy morning, I made something out of whatever I had in my kitchen. It took only 10 minutes flat!”
Masala Vegetable Oats – Servings for two persons
1 cup instant oats
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
finely chopped carrot 1 cup
Finely chopped capsicum 1 cup
2 chopped green chillies
1/2 cup finely chopped tomato
Pinch of turmeric powder
salt as per taste (I suggest pink organic salt)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a karahi, throw in a few mustard seeds and wait for them to crackle
2. Now add carrot, capsicum, tomato, green chillies, turmeric and salt.
3. Now cover the karahi with a lid and let the mix simmer for 2 minutes. Following which add oats, sprinkle a bit of water over it, and again cover the lid for 2 minutes.
4. It’s ready to eat. Serve it with curd and, if you’d like, green coriander chutney.
Life behind a quick meal