Tuesday, May 27, 2014


If nothing else, the British misadventure in India taught us about masala tea and chicken curry. We probably would have found out about these things eventually, but both of those have become the standards for living an English life out in the wilds of Borneo or Kansas. Almost nothing else spurs the impulsive purchase of lovely bottle-chutneys, Patak's Pickles, chili, poppadums, and whole spices in the distant corners of the world.
Kansas, for craps sake! It might as well be Vladivostok!
Expect a troupe of ugly dancing girls any moment!
Or colourful native religious rituals.
Swaths of blue and white.

"Confederated at first for defense against pro-slavery outrages, but ultimately falling more or less completely into the vocation of robbers and assassins, they have received the name --- whatever its origin may be -- of jayhawkers"

[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_Jayhawks.]

Brigands, highway men, and other recalcitrant types!

Keep the dacoits at bay by serving good food and hot tea.
If it doesn't scare them, they may melt.

Where the hell is Kansas anyhow, Dorothy?


Per cup:
One TBS black tea leaves.
Half dozen green cardamom pods.
A thin slice of ginger.
Pinch cinnamon.
Half Tsp. fennel seeds.
Sugar as desired.
One cup water.
Hefty jigger of milk.

Crack open the green cardamom pods so that the seeds are exposed. Bring water to a boil, add the cardamom and other spices, and simmer five minutes to release the flavour into the water. Add the tea leaves, simmer just below boiling for a couple minutes ere adding the milk. Simmer a few seconds longer after that, but do not allow it to roil.

Decant into a porcelain cup and have a kaju biscuit on the side.

Drink while waiting for the train.


One pound of chicken, chunk-cut on bone.
Two onions, chopped.
One dozen Roma tomatoes, peeled seeded chopped.
One cup cashews.
Half a cup heavy cream.
Quarter cup yoghurt.
Two TBS. garam masala.
Half TBS. cayenne.
Thumblength ginger.
Five or six cloves garlic.
Pinches of salt and pepper.

One teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted till quite dark, then ground fine.

Mince and smash the garlic and ginger to a paste, mix it with the yoghurt and the pinches of salt and pepper. Marinate the chicken in this for an hour.

Pour boiling water (enough to cover) over the cashews and let them soften for that time.

Take the chicken pieces out of the marinade, and colour them well in hot oil. Remove to a plate, add the onions to the pan with a little more oil. Saute till coloured, add the tomatoes and spices, and cook soft, which will be about five minutes.

Dump the cashews and their soaking water into a blender, add the contents of the pan, and osterize smooth. Return this to the pan and reduce till velvety, then put in the chicken pieces. Bring back to a boil, turn heat low, and simmer a few minutes. Stir the cream into the dish, and let it heat, but do not bring it to a boil.

Dust the dark-roasted cumin powder over the top before serving.
Decorate with the merest sprinkle of sliced green chili.

Have it with chappatis, rice, and flaky onion kulcha, OR cornbread, hickory barbecue, macaroni salad, and hot sauce on the side.
Bahot lazeez, yaar.

What the heck do I know from Kansas?

There's a restaurant called "Korma Sutra" in Kansas City. It appears to be run by Punjabis. Apparently their garlic naan is very good.

Whenever it's too early for a gin pahit, it's time for tea.

Please note: Bottle chutneys represent the hope, sometimes forlorn, that whatever that ingredient is, it can be made edible by the addition of vinegar, sugar, and cayenne. Sometimes good things come out of a bottle. Sometimes not. In some cases, what was a brilliant idea has been ruined by the use of malt vinegar, brown sugar, and wholesome additions of a macrobiotic or sustainably farmed nature, along with turmeric.

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

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