Thursday, 14 August 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - August 14, 2014

It's a good day for a Curry

There is nothing quite so intoxicating as the pungent aroma of gently roasting Indian spices; gossamer swirls of exotic fragrance rising above an open skillet in my kitchen. This is nothing short of divine, at least to my senses. Indian cookery is a relative newcomer to my repertoire. It all began about four years ago with a desire to prepare our palates for travel to the Middle East and India in April of 2011.

Curries fast became a "go to" on the menu when cold and damp threatened to suck the life of me; on a day like today in fact. I awoke to a chilly 9.6C and while at first such crisp, clear air invigorated my every pore - Autumn is my favourite season, though perhaps not in August! - the sun too soon disappeared, taking much of my burst of energy with it. Then the rain started, big juicy drops of cold splat extinguished every last ember of enthusiasm. It's a good day for a curry!

Crawford Market, Mumbai

There's a pork tenderloin that I can roast separately and I've got a few carrots. I've got some cauliflower and two tomatoes sneaking up on their expiry date. I've got zucchini, a bunch of chard, a lonely red pepper and there's a tin of chick peas in the larder. A curry is such a great way to dispatch all these veggies that on their own are not enough for a meal. And I will make my own garam masala, hence the wondrous fragrance in my kitchen today. My recipe? Well the fact is that I never make it the same way twice. It too is dependent upon what's on hand in the spice drawer. Cumin, coriander, cinnamon pieces, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, peppercorns, fennel and some mustard seeds made it into today's rendition. Bay leaves, turmeric, star anise, and mace have also appeared from time to time. I make absolutely no claim to authenticity - I just use what I've got. Close is good enough. Here's a link to a very simple recipe for Garam Masala.

I recall one year my mother tried her hand at making an Indian dinner for business guests of my father. She sweated and slaved for at least two days in the kitchen, her face red with the heat of the spicing. She concluded that it must be much too hot and so did her very best to tone it down. The guests were very impressed with her cooking but after the meal when Mom made a point of asking, they allowed that it was not quite hot enough. Meanwhile both Mom and Dad were red faced, sweaty and speechless after their meal. Water and antacid consumption remained high for nearly a week. Close was too close?

Today marks the fourth year since my mother's passing. It's a great day to be busy in the kitchen, her favourite place. And it's a good day for a curry!
Bon appetit!

©2014 April Hoeller


  1. Mmmmmm....can almost smell the redolent spices roasting on your pan. Had a good feeling reading this and so fitting as it is the Indian Independence Day today (15th August). Salute to your mum and her efforts to make a toned down Indian meal. While most Indians do indeed make their food quite spicy, I for one am amazed at how much heat the western palate handles these days. Also delighted to note that you have travelled to India.

    1. Thank you Ketaki! :-) And yes the western palate has come a long way since the early 1960's when mum tried her hand at an Indian meal. I do wonder how long it took her to find the spices back then? Now a days I can find most of them in the local grocery store. She must have spent the better part of a week planning the meal and I'll be it was expensive too.
      Both my husband and I loved our short time in India and would love to go back. We've been 'glued' to a TV network here that has been featuring the railways of India (Indian Hill Railways & The Great Indian Railway; both BBC productions). Fascinating!