There is something about cooking for you that brings me to levels of spirituality beyond my human faculty’s capacity to comprehend. And only through writing about this beautiful experience am I able to at least grasp it in my hands, delicately clasp it, only to escape the moment I thought, at last, I have fully understood it.
We’ve traveled the world through our Friday night’s experiments, and along the way we’ve discovered things about each other that are as amusing as the different fusions of flavors we concoct, as interesting as the texture we produce, and as colorful as the polychromatic ingredients we use in our every recipe.
Such as last Friday night’s Indian Curry:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
- 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
- salt to taste
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until lightly browned. Stir in garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, bay leaf, ginger, sugar and salt. Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add chicken pieces, tomato paste, yogurt, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf, and stir in lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Simmer 5 more minutes.
While sauteing garlic, onions and grated ginger for the Curry, I would randomly glanced at the mirror and see you looking at the dancing minced bulbs in hot oil as I flipped them briskly, doing my best to keep the garlic from turning brown and bitter. Because of that look of glowing curiosity from your eyes, I had to make sure I handled the spatula like an expert chef, with calculated spontaneity, lest you’d think your boyfriend is a novice in the realm of the kitchen.
And it was obvious I am. Only that I am learning each time, committing fewer mistakes, relying more on my instinct, and getting helpful cues from your every reaction.
Then I added the other-worldly smelling curry powder, aromatic cinnamon, and paprika (the stress, I stood corrected by you, should be in the second syllable). You ran to open the door and windows. The smell of the spices drenched in olive oil was arresting; the paste was scary. The entire room “smelled like KL,” I said. “Not India?” You asked. “No, I’ve never been there, I wouldn’t know,” I answered.
And I wanted to go visit it someday, to get lost in Calcutta, Delhi, and Agra, with you.
I dunked in a bowlful of haphazardly cut up chicken breasts, poured in the coconut milk you extracted, and added in plain yogurt. The salt was to your taste.
But you complained it was a bit too salty. As I added a pinch while you excused yourself to smoke in the bathroom.
The brown rice wasn’t too bad, but needed a little water to allow it to swell a bit.
We served our Curries (chicken and potato) with chilled sweet white wine, which was perfect. But I insisted on drinking a bottle San Miguel’s Cerveza Negra made from roasted malt which was a more perfect partner to our Indian Chicken Curry.
And the simple meal and the evening was over.
But the memories of the experience shall remain here. For good.