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Feeling The Heat In Winter

This weekend my boyfriend and I made our first curry from scratch. It was something we’d been wanting for do for a long time, and as my boyfriend gave me an Indian cookbook for our anniversary it seemed a good idea to use it before Christmas.

There is a concept I’ve been introduced to by many Indian friends – Indian time. Indian time, as per their description, is a case of working slowly, of not always being on time. So when the cookbook said that the curry would take 20 minutes to make, perhaps we should have thought twice and ordered a takeaway instead. We begun cooking at 7pm.

At 10:30pm we finally sat down to eat. My father had given up waiting for his meal and had gone to bed. My sister had had her shower, completed her epic preening routine, and left.

Making the curry was an experience. As we were making it from scratch we found that we were in need of a spice mixer to make the garam masala. In trying to find an equivalent we did a variety of activities including watching out for the arrival of party-goers, offering a child a banana, and putting a plastic bag over a bowl in an attempt to stop a multitude of cumin, cloves, and peppercorns from creating a Van Gogh-inspired piece out of our kitchen. Creating garam masala with a hand mixer is like putting a bag of popcorn in the microwave, punching a hole in the bag, and leaving the microwave door open.

Once we’d created the masala, which we later found we needed only a single teaspoon of, we started cutting up the onions and garlic. My boyfriend looks like he’s been distraught for weeks, while my trousers, by themselves, smelt enough to stink out an entire room when left to air overnight. And like all good newbies, it was only after dicing up the onions and garlic that we realised we needed to mix it into a paste anyway and so we might as well have thrown them in whole. At least my boyfriend now had a true reason to cry.

By this time both of us were in pain from standing so long so we sat down to a slice of red velvet cake. Red velvet had been my choice – for a few years I’ve read blog posts by American bloggers on this type of cake and I’ve wanted to try it. I thought I’d have to make one myself but we found one in a shop and I have to say they are gorgeous, I can see why you guys on the other side of the pond talk about them. I must recommend, however, that you don’t eat them after you’ve been cutting up garlic, even if you’ve washed your hands three times first.

Cooking the chicken was easy, as was pouring in the onion mix, sprinkling the garam masala, and squeezing tomato paste over the top. What we won’t do again, and this we had a feeling about prior to the event, is believe the author when he says to add half a pint of water.

The end result? Chicken swimming in lightly spiced water. The curry flavour was there, but there was an invisible barrier between it and the meat, and the rice just added to the problem.

Suffice to say we won’t be following the recipe quite as strictly next time.

The rest of the weekend proved fun. Mix family with music and the suggestion of putting bathroom activities and stereotypical elderly actions in place of regular dance movements, and those tears we gained from the onions will start streaming again, only this time in laughter.

In case I don’t have the opportunity to come back before Christmas and say it, I hope you all have a merry Christmas and happy new year!



December 22, 2011, 10:47 am

Eep – sounds like an experience indeed! I’m glad you had a fun weekend anyway, though.

And Happy Holidays to you too!

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