Oil & Water


Rudyard Kipling once wrote, “Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet…”

And I would like to add, “Well, oil is oil and water is water, and never do the twain ever meet…”

This fact grabbed me by my throat with great violence recently when I made a big blunder in the kitchen. 

Here is the full story.

A few days ago, my husband Sukhangshu prepared a kaadha for his persistent cough. (A kaadha, just in case you don’t know already, is a herbal cough remedy made by boiling several cough relieving items in water, such as ginger, cinnamon, whole black pepper, cloves, and Tulsi leaves and reducing the volume to half). After running the contents through a sieve, he kept the liquid aside for use at night.

I returned home that night from work, feeling very tired. I could not get into bed right away, however, without preparing dinner. 

As soon as I entered the kitchen, I noticed that along with the bowl of used refined oil I had kept aside last night, there was one more bowl containing a liquid of same color. I thought Sukhangshu perhaps deep fried some kebabs and out of consideration for me, a vegetarian, decided as usual not to mix the 2 oils. 

When I sniffed this second liquid, it did not have any non-veg. smell. I had neither the time nor energy for further investigation, so I decided to unite it with its vegetarian counterpart. We don’t, you see, make nonveg. dishes too often at home and keeping aside nonveg used oil for the next nonveg preparation didn’t seem to be a prudent thing.

Well, no sooner had I done this, a very weird thing happened. There were two layers now, oil at the bottom and another liquid on top. Where did this other thing come from, I wondered. The quantity of the modified oil was far too much for me to consider the idea of discarding it. So I decided to continue cooking with this oil. It is not poison, after all, I reasoned, and quite edible too. I placed a cooker on the gas stove and set the gas flame alight below it. A few seconds later, I put the jeera and onions. I was not prepared for what happened next.

The oil erupted into a big cloud of steam! My immediate reaction was to switch off the gas. I still did not give up. I put the cut vegetables into the cooker and, very gingerly, I switched on the gas. From here onwards, everything went on smoothly and to my utter surprise, the dish that I made turned out to be awesome.

After having a spoonful of it, my husband said, with an amused smile,  “This dish has a very unusual taste, but it’s delicious. How did you make it?”

“I used your kebab oil, the one you used for frying kebabs.”

“Kebab oil?

Well, as the cliche’ goes, (and I am pulling a deep sigh of relief here), all that ends well is well, doesn’t it?

Here are some useful things I learnt from this accident.

1. Tulsi leaves can be used as a regular seasoning too, like coriander.

2. Refined oil doesn’t have any taste of its own. It is the spices and items used that provide flavor, color, and aroma.

3. And most importantly, you can reduce  your consumption of oil considerably if you supplement the missing quantity of oil with water.

4. New inventions too, like babies, need severe labor pains before taking birth.

Dear readers, I hope you enjoyed reading about this happy accident. I look forward to reading your comments on this post.

Here are the pics of different stages of cooking.

Treated Oil










4 thoughts on “Oil & Water”

  1. Inventions have always come at a cost and so many have come by accident. Even steam engines came out of tea kettle.
    Very interesting piece….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.