Thursday, October 02, 2008


Years ago, when I worked at the restaurant, I would often hear the owner waxing poetic about the marvelous benefits of Indian food. It was a miracle of good diet, healthy, good for the heart, delicious, and a supreme mark of an ancient and refined culture.

Plus many more superlatives. It's good for you!

I once heard him launch into this shpiel to a customer who was waiting for a take-out order. While he lyrically sang the healthful praises of his favourite cuisine, I glanced at the customer's bill..........
Murgh Makhni, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Garlic Naan - two versions of chicken drenched in butter sauce, plus bread slathered with melted butter.

The restaurant, as far as I know, did not serve anything that lacked ghee except for drinks and kachumber salad. A triple bacon-cheese burger would've been healthier than a serving of the two most popular dishes - murgh makhni and chicken tikka masala. Both of these are made by taking chunked cooked chicken and serving it in a sauce composed of butter, cream, tomato, and spices. Lots of butter. Half a stick each at least. Do you feel your arteries solidifying yet? That crackling sound is your crystallized blood-vessels crinkling as you bend over with heart-pains. You'll keep forever with that amount of wax in your veins.

Indian Restaurant Food is hardly the healthgiving benevolent cuisine that you have been told.

Not that it makes much difference to me, as one of my favourite dishes qualifies as a heart-destroying artery clogger of bio-war proportions.

[Dutch east Indies style seethed pork]

Two pounds pork belly (the cut known in Chinatown as 五花 腩 - ng-fa naam - five flower fatty abdominal meat).
Two TBS wet shrimp paste (the nice purple stinky stuff available in C'town called 鹹蝦醬 - haam haa jeung - salty shrimp sauce).
Four or five cloves garlic, and equivalent amount ginger, chopped up.
A dash of dark vinegar.
A dash of soy sauce.
A teaspoon or two of sugar.

Don't bother cutting up the nice streaky meat, just put it into a pot with all the other ingredients and water to cover. Bring to a boil, simmer for an hour and a half - the liquid will reduce much, and some of the fat will render. Take the lump of meat out and let it dry and cool. The cooking juices may be reserved for a dipping sauce, with lots of mashed hot chilies added after skimming off the fat.

Cut the meat into thick flat chunks. Seethe these in oil (low-heat fry) till nicely golden. Turn over carefully, and do the same to the other side. Garnish with cilantro and scallion.

Note that this is an extremely rich ('greasy') dish. It need not be eaten by itself, but can be served as one dish out of many on the table. If the pork is seethed till dark, it keeps without refrigeration for a day or two at least. Chopped up it is a nice addition to noodle soups or simmered vegetables. Always have lime wedges on the side.

Your doctor does NOT want to hear about it.


Anonymous said...

No, no, my friend, you are wrong! Neither of those is a heart attack on a plate. Poutine is. And according to an article here: The Ten Commanded Ones several other dishes are. But Murgh Makhni and Chicken Tikka Masala are not. Not listed, in any case.

So, you are wrong. Go back to scarfing your stick-of-butter chicken. And good health to you.

Anonymous said...

And, if you are to busy/lazy to click, or G_d forbid your mouse has had a part-attack, here is the article itself. Enjoy it in the best of health!

Heart Attack on a Plate: Top 10 List of Foods that Can Cause an Immediate, Fatal Heart Attack
According to the reasoning of at least 28 anti-smoking groups, transient changes in endothelial dysfunction imply an increased risk of an immediate, fatal heart attack. These groups have claimed that because a study by Otsuka et al., published in JAMA, showed that 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke causes endothelial dysfunction in nonsmokers, those individuals who are exposed transiently to secondhand smoke are therefore at risk of developing atherosclerosis and suffering a heart attack.

Another article published in JAMA demonstrated that eating a single high-fat meal also causes endothelial dysfunction in healthy individuals. In this study, endothelial dysfunction was measured as flow-mediated artery dilation (identical to the way that endothelial dysfunction was measured in the Otsuka study).

The study concluded that "A single high-fat meal transiently reduces endothelial dysfunction for up to 4 hours in healthy, normocholesterolemic subjects, probably through the accumulation of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins." (see Plotnick GD, Corretti MC, Vogel RA. Effect of antioxidant vitamins on the transient impairment of endothelium-dependent brachial artery vasoactivity following a single high-fat meal. JAMA 1997; 278:1682-1686).

The endothelial dysfunction in this study was caused by a meal containing 50 grams of fat.

Thus, anti-smoking groups should be cautioning the public not to eat any of the following foods that can apparently trigger a heart attack, as they contain 50 or more grams of fat and will therefore cause endothelial dysfunction:

10. Two servings of Sonic cheese tater tots

9. Five ounces of sour cream and onion-flavored potato chips

8. Eleven Hostess twinkies

7. Five Kellogg's brown-sugar cinnamon pop tarts

6. One serving of Chicken McNuggets (20 piece)

5. Two Quarter Pounders with cheese

4. One Burger King bacon double cheeseburger deluxe

3. Two classic Cinnabon rolls

2. One Chick-fil-A chicken deluxe sandwich with 3 packages of Polynesian dipping sauce and small cole slaw

1. One Taco Bell beef and potato burrito with 3 tablespoons guacamole and 3 cinnamon twists

If you are at risk of heart disease or even if you are completely healthy, do not eat the above foods. You will be at risk of keeling over and dropping dead from a heart attack.

Note, however, that you can safely have 8 servings of the highly-recommended tater tot casserole.

Anonymous said...

This is also a heart-attack on a plate:

1 lbs chicken liver.
3 large onions.
1/4 cup shmaltz for frying.
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled.
salt and pepper.

Cook the livers until done. Chop the onions medium-coarsely and fry in the oil until browned, constantly stirring, so they don't burn. Grind the livers in a food processor, or chop with two cleavers like a Chinese chef. Add the onions and the shmaltz and do the same. Chop the hard-boiled eggs medium fine, and add into the liver and onion mixture. Work over a bit more with those cleavers, or whirl it all again. As you see fit. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with crackers or challah.
Or just shovel it directly into your mouth with a spoon.

Or maybe an acid attack in a bowl. Depends on your age and your resistance to temptation.

Anonymous said...


6 hard-boiled eggs, well chilled
1 pound good-quality sausage meat
1/2 cup flour
1-2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying

Peel eggs, and divide sausage into six portions. Roll each egg in flour. Press and shape a portion of the sausage around each egg. Dip sausage-wrapped eggs into beaten egg and roll breadcrumbs.
Heat oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Deepfry each egg for 4-5 minutes, till sausage is cooked and browned.

Enjoy with a pint of best pepto.

Spiros said...

Best use of Scotch Eggs in a sitcom:
Seasons One and Two of THE OFFICE on BBC, when Keith is seen eating Scotch Eggs at times of emotional upheaval for Tim and Dawn. It should be pointed out that Keith eats the Scotch Eggs, as he does everything else, with no sign of any emotion whatsoever. Also, he shows no sign of gastric upheaval, which I am fairly certain would not be the case were I to essay a Scotch Egg.

Tzipporah said...

Mmm, makhni murgh...

Anonymous said...

Breakfast of champions: fried lard chunks ala Indonesienne (as receipeed), tandoori chicken drenched in a butter-cream-tomato sauce, and Scotch eggs. Plus a dougnut bacon cheese and fried egg burger.

Now we're talking. Have a nap afterwards.

What's for lunch?

---Grant Patel

Anonymous said...

The question we must truly ask ourselves, especially at times like these, when we are faced with something so truly monumental and staggering, is: "Does it come with hotsauce?"

Other people might ask "does it come with fries", but we are more focused and wise.

---Grant Patel


So very greasy! You must jogg a lot.

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