My brother, who I am going to call Sonny, is a wonderful cook and more importantly he really loves being in the kitchen. He works professionally in a creative field and once told me that he sees cooking as a extension of being creative. And his cooking is inventive, he doesn't use a cookbook, he doesn't plan his meal in advance or shop with a menu in mind. He usually just takes a look to see what we have in the fridge and pantry and then starts cooking. So below is a typical meal that Sonny might make for the family.
He starts by chopping up some beef that he found in the freezer....
an activity that my mother's cat, Kitty clearly finds fascinating.
Once the chopping is complete, Sonny marinates the meat and puts it in the fridge for a while. He refused to tell me what was in the marinade but based on the taste and colors I would guess that mustard and curry powder were featured.
Sonny fries up some chopped onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes
Later he will add the meat and some potatoes.
In the meantime our cousin, PT who is living with our family at the moment, washes the rice and prepares to get it going in the rice cooker.
Here is my brother in the pantry selecting vegetables for a second dish, eggplants and green chilies.
Once the eggplant and chillies are chopped up, he will add some diced onions and salt, some water and let it cook for a while. When things start to bubble he adds butter and two kinds of cheese: first a Swiss style cheese that is made in Bumthang (which everyone calls Bumthang Cheese) and then some datshi or Bhutanese cheese.
While the eggplant dish is cooking, Sonny take a moment to sample his beef dish, checking to see that it has everything it needs.
Sonny also prepares two side dishes for the meal; steamed zucchini (from our garden) and a Bhutanese style salad, called hogai with finely diced fresh tomatoes, chilies, onions, datshi and thingnay (sichuan peppers).
What a feast! Here is a plate of food ready to eat. Dinner is served!