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If I accidentally become a chef, I will add 'smiley heart' to biryani. Full stop.

14th of April, my younger who had feverish symptoms said "Amma, how I wish I become a new born baby or fall completely sick." Knowing her well, smiling I replied "How much more time do you expect me to be with you? I am all the while here with you." Giving a tight hug and feeling at ease on my lap, she gave a naughty smile "Its not the time, its the special attention that I get." I tried to deviate, "Where are your sisters? the elder and the younger? We need to decide the menu for tomorrow." She called out for her sisters, while she still savored the cozy bed that my lap offered her. 

Kids wanted to help in all the house hold works including cooking. That's how they wanted to celebrate granny's birthday. I was with them on their call. Few years with kids help us learn a certain tactics very well. One of them is, things would best work if the decisions were theirs, specially when it comes to eating. I did not want to end up making different things for each of them; for they are used to such a treat by their granny. So we had gathered to decide on the menu for the next day. While they listed their options, I would evaluate the possibility of preparation. After a discussion of about 10-15 minutes, we had finalized the menu for the next whole day. 

It was 'veg biryani' for the afternoon. This choice was heavily influenced by my eldest and came out as a team decision by the 3 of them, while I gave a final OK nod. When I usually cook something new, I blindly trust Ranveer Brar. The passion with which he cooks, the way he weaves the story behind the dish, the curiosity with which he gives the small details that are saviors for someone who is cooking first time or someone who is cooking a particular dish for the first time; makes him a natural first choice to look up, for the recipe(s). 

With my younger on my lap, elder on my left and my niece on my right, I hit the search button with 'veg biryani by ranveer brar' on the google search bar. We landed on this youtube video. We attentively watched the video. In between, my younger, who was on the lap, complained of the eye-burning. I paused the video to attend her. She had earlier complained of leg pain, all because of her fever, which in turn was because of change in atmospheric temperature. As I checked her temperature and was a little concerned, she announced 'oh, the eye-burning may be because of the onion-cutting in the video.' We all burst out into laughter. Kids are kids. They teach us how to live in the present. And they are best at it! At last we finished with the video.

Next day, all 3 had their contributions in place. While the elder helped with atta-kneading for the morning puris, mopping rooms and peas-peeling; the younger helped with washing vessels, setting them at right place, folding dried cloths and putting washed cloths for drying; the youngest helped with peas-peeling, dumping all vegetable wastes into wet bin and getting things that I needed while I sat on the ground to cut the veggies. Things seemed very easy with hands joining in; but let me warn, without proper task distribution or correct instruction(s) and right intention(s) of the child-assistants, it would turn out to be a mess. Luckily all of them were in the best of their moods; and that worked for me.

The rice, the masala veggies and the layers of  both along with my smiley hearts and mints ;)

The dum for the biryani.

When I was actually cutting the onions, there were tears in the eyes but all smiles in the heart, for it reminded the prankster who made the video-watching a fun event the previous day. The onions looked no less than a smiley heart. With that getting into the biryani, there were automated smiles on the face that tasted the biryani. Kids did demand for plain-biryani and paneer-biryani on the next try; while I registered the ingredient that turned the biryani special - the smiley heart. ;)

Dum veg biryani and the raita.


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