Initial on the list were Veg Cutlets, Paneer Butter Masala, Channa Masala, Veg Pulao, Mango Lassi along with few more dishes. So we had it changed to Assorted Veg Fries along with Paneer in the same way I make Onion Fries. Dal Makhani with Masala Puri, Coconut Puloa with Gutti Vankaya. Finally to be served with Chocolate Milkshake with Chocolate shavings, Konda’s favorite!
All of us were so excited with the menu. But there were some apprehensive thoughts on the Coconut Pulao. So I even had a mock session with Coconut Pulao and Gutti Vanakaya as these are traditional Andhra dishes. Well the fact that the lunch box was wiped clean proved it to be a hit combo. The entire lunch planning was handled just like any other projects we do. But I seriously realized it requires more project management skills!
I was eternally tensed wondering if the quantity would suffice. I wrote down the list and quantity and iterated with Amma couple of times. We literally walked through the list, taking examples of how we cook and how much is needed. Amma usually never goes wrong with scaling up to huge numbers. She was happy that I have at least some of her skills. I was more elated when she finally said “very good ra, you got the quantities correct!” I felt like a 5 yr old being patted on getting the Maths right!
We had the list allocated to different people responsible for getting them together. Amma was most particular that we buy the raw peanuts and roast it at home. She infact offered to roast the Poppy seeds and Sesame seeds for the Gutti Vankaya. Since it was her specialty dish, I knew how much particular she was on getting it rightly! I had all the dry masalas all ground the previous day. I can imagine the hard work the people have to handle when they are catering to huge crowd!
The previous day I ran through the entire list of ingredients we needed. 7 Kgs of rice, 7 kgs of Atta, 20 lits of milk, 3 Hershey’s Chocolate Sauce bottles, 1500 gms of Chocolates, 10 kgs of Onions, 10 kgs of Tomatoes, plus 1001 different ingredients. We had the milk boiled and sweetened the previous day and it went into the cooler. Since I was making the Brinjal Curry more like a Nune Vankaya, we had the brinjals all washed and dried.
We met the team the previous day and went through the entire process again. The team that was assigned to make the Veg fries, said they don’t know how its prepared. I assured them that we can handle it. All of us planned an early start. As things would usually happen, I couldn’t sleep the entire night, Peddu was having a running nose and wouldn’t just sleep. As I had to prepare lunch for the boys. I was up early. But I had a great relief hearing that Konda was having a day off and I need not worry about getting her ready for school.
Hubby dear kept the boys busy while I was getting ready to leave. I thought I would slip off without the boys noticing me, but Peddu saw me and asked where I was off too. He asked if I was going to “oppice”, on nodding yes, he called me close to give me a peck on the checks. Oh Sweet! I didn’t need any more wishes for a sweeter success!
We sent our helps up and down couple of times with last minute requests. I had a quick running around to check on each teams making the Veg fries and Masala Pooris. After okaying the proportions, the poori team rolled out a stupendous number of nearly 300+ puris. Since the team had few beginners learning, some came out as churis but on the whole those were really some awesome pooris I must say! Each and every dish had a roaring applause and everybody said they eat more than what they normally do.
The next one was Veg fries, with corn flour, besan, amchur and seasonings, all deep fried. There was no dispute to this being a favorite one! We added Potatoes, Okra, Onions, Baby Corns, Cauliflowers and Paneer! Of course no feast is complete without Paneer right and we had a our share of Paneer fans.
Our colleagues made us feel proud by going in for second and some third helpings too!
Would I do it again? Yes surely its such a different experience seeing people flocking around the table and coming back for a second helping. Feeling good eating a good feast! And yes if I am lucky to have such a team doing everything that’s not assigned to them, with the sole intention for the day to be a success! Some felt we were crazy but I can only remember Amma telling me that this would be such a wonderful learning experience for me! After all challenges are meant to be that right!