Boarding students cooked pongal - a traditional South Indian dessert - for this edition of Masterchef.
Since it was Makar Sankranti and Pongal (the festival), the boarding management decided to hold a cooking competition, challenging the boarding students to cook pongal - a sweet dessert usually prepared and eaten on this day. Most of the students didn't know what pongal was, let alone know how to make it, so it was a struggle at first, but it turned out really well! The various groups succeeded in making scrumptious pongal and in the end, Rhinos won!
The competition was held on the 15th of January, a Friday, as it was a public holiday and was the day of the festive celebrations. The most interesting aspect of this competition - and also what was the hardest part for us - was that we had to cook in clay pots! It was so hard, nobody knew how to use a clay pot, and we had to do it in the heat. The clay pot ash was constantly making us participants tear up - but we were so determined to get it done - we just wiped them away and went along with it. At first, we were devided into our individual and respectful groups - with around 3-5 people in each group, and we were given a recipe sheet.
The recipe sheet showed us all the basics, and how to make the pongal. Other than that, it was up to ourselves to perfect the dish. It was so hard to keep the fire on, and it was interesting to see all the groups improvise with the various things they threw in the wood pile to keep it on. "We had to rip paper up and keep it on the wood to ignite the fire - it was so hard to get the wood on fire," says Justin. Then, we didn't have much time left, so we had to add all our ingredients and hope for the best. It was very interesting to see how to groups made their pongal dishes look presentable, some using flowers, while some making designs with the dish itself. Ashwin also adds, "Although it was really tiring, it's good that we had the competition, I learnt a few things."
In a nutshell, it was a really interesting competition and of course it was hard, but it was definitely an experience. "The competition was pretty fun - it wasn't what I expected it to be," Bhuvan says. We didn't only get to finally taste pongal, but we got to make it, in a clay pot! The judges thought it was great and so did the students.
Armaan Chainani - Grade 9B & Ashwin Melwani - Grade 9C