At the back of the hill

Warning: May contain traces of soy, wheat, lecithin and tree nuts. That you are here
strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton.
And that you might like cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


What, you may well ask, is "Calcutta Chicken Curry"? Well, like many very Anglo curry recipes, it is a variation on an Irish stew, slightly Frenchified, with curry powder added, and chicken in lieu of mutton or horsemeat. And as with all such dishes no Indian will touch it. It can be easily concocted with that Chinese preference curry powder you bought in Chinatown when you felt courageous. Plus stuff that normally is present in the White Person's pantry.


Two Lbs skinned and boned chicken breast, chunk cut.
One white or yellow onion, also chunk cut.
One carrot, peeled and ... chunk cut.
One stalk celery ...
Three to four TBS curry powder.
One Tsp. cayenne.
A generous pinch of dried thyme.
A tiny pinch dried oregano.
One and a half cups chicken stock.
One cup coconut milk.
Half a cup mediocre white wine.

Heat oil in an enamel stewpot, dump in the chicken, onion, carrot, and celery. Cook while stirring till the chicken is cooked through, add the curry powder and pinches, and stir to incorporate. Add the wine, bring to a boil, then add the coconut milk and chicken stock. Bring barely back to a boil, and put the heat on low to simmer for about half an hour or so. When the liquid is velvety and becoming thicker, take off heat.

Remove the chicken chunks to a bowl. Decant the liquid and vegetables into a blender and whir till smooth. Put everything back in the stewpot, adjust flavour with salt and freshly ground pepper, reheat.

Serve over rice with the usual weird Anglo additions, garnishes, and condiments. Plus hard-boiled egg, and nimboo achar.

Yesterday evening I filled a second pipe after tea in Chinatown, and strolled down Jackson Street past where the old Indian restaurant had been many years ago, near the Customs Building, between Sansome and Battery. An Englishman started it some time after the war, it was still around up until the nineties, I think. Staffed by sour and taciturn Sikhs, and serving much the same kind of exotic fare as Trader Vic's; curries that Mata-ji would abhor, best washed down with Scotch.

It can also be done with quartered rabbit.
In which case cook a little more.
The Scotch is the same.

Further down towards the Embarcadero, at Sue Bierman Park, the conures were happily kwettering in the trees, fighting over precedence and perches, and flying loop-de-loop circles, swooping low over the colony of insane people encamped on the benches.

When I got home, it was still light out, but fog was covering the high points, making the low areas between Hyde and Franklin gloomy.
Yet magical.

Cawing crows flew overhead.
My neighborhood has no parrots.
But crows are just as nice.
Somewhat quieter.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 7:04 AM, Anonymous e-kvetcher said…

    Some random link

  • At 8:26 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Well, the essay and the comments went all over the place.

    Quite interesting, many different ways.

    Queues are slowly starting to exist at the bus stop nearest Willie Woo Woo Wong playground (Sacramento & Stockton), but the very important White People from the law offices in the Embarcadero Centers still don't want to let the Chinese on the bus.

    It's a power struggle.

  • At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Limbo Jones said…

    Are you making that chicken for World No Tobacco Day? I assume you celebrate it, because you always say clove cigarettes are evil.

  • At 3:34 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    "Are you making that chicken for World No Tobacco Day? I assume you celebrate it, because you always say clove cigarettes are evil."


    No. And I've already smoked three pipes today. Soon I'll be heading into C'town for tea and another smoke.

    I didn't even know today was World No Tobacco day until you brought it to my attention.

    And yes, clove cigarettes are evil.


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