Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thai Red curry

I have previously blogged about how much I love Thai food especially their red and green curries. I am a reluctant cook but when I do cook, I absolutely love cooking from scratch as the entire exercise is very therapeutic for me. I hate buying readymade sauces and curry pastes.
Anyway I made the red curry at home and modified the recipe a little for our Indian palate. It turned out quite well and hasn’t lost its original flavor therefore I am sharing the recipe with you.

1 ½ lbs boneless chicken cut into thin slices

1 cup finely chopped lemon grass (I couldn’t find lemon grass hence opted for the extract that I found in the supermarket. It is the closest that you can get to the fresh ones. I cannot stand dried lemon grass. I used about half the tube as seen the image)

2 onions finely chopped

1-2 green bell peppers

½ tomato, cut into bite-size pieces

1 Japanese eggplant or 2-3 baby eggplants, chopped (leave skin on)

2 cans of coconut milk

1 tsp tamarind

As I couldn't find Thai basil or lemon grass, I used the above versions. It has not compromised the flavor or taste of the curry.

Marinate the chicken with thai basil readymade marinade, juice of one-half lemon and salt. Leave it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This is not necessary but I prefer marinating meat to neutralize any odor.

1/2 can coconut milk (reserve the other 1/2 can for later)

1 medium sized cooking onion, quartered

1 thumb-size piece ginger

3 cloves garlic

3 Tbsp. fish sauce (I used Oyster sauce)

1 Tbsp. chilli powder

1 Tbsp. cumin seeds

1 Tbsp. coriander seeds

2 tsp. shrimp paste (I didn’t have this at home so didn’t add it. My experience has been that it does not compromise the flavor at all)

1 tsp. regular dried chilli flakes (I avoided it because neither K nor I can tolerate much hot peppers in our food)

5-6 peppercorns

1-2 tb sp fennel seeds (I couldn’t find thai basil therefore added this, as the difference between regular basil leaves and Thai is that the latter has fennel like taste. A friend of ours, who is a chef in a five-star hotel in India has recommended this to me years ago)

1 Star Anise

1 Cup fresh basil leaves (I couldn’t get Thai basil)

Grind them to a fine paste. I have a grinder for my spices. If you don’t then you could use a coffee bean grinder OR buy powdered version instead of the whole seeds.


I took this picture, as you can see I don't have patience for presentation. Since I went very easy on the red chilli powder, it is not as red as it otherwise would be.

Heat oil in a Wok and add asafetida (excellent digestive and I cannot make any curry without it). Fry the finely chopped onions till they become colorless. Add the red curry paste and the lemon grass and sauté it. Add the vegetables and the chicken and sauté it very well. Add ½ cup of water and leave it to simmer. After about ten minutes, add the coconut milk and the tamarind paste. It takes about 20 minutes to cook the chicken.

Serve it with jasmine rice. Of course we didn't have that but instead used the very aromatic Basmati rice.

We had mangoes with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Harmless Peck and Foot in the mouth

I am back in the blogging world except that there is nothing to write about. I know this is old news but Richard Gere gave a harmless peck on Shilpa Shetty’s cheek (or rather series of kisses) and Shiv Sainiks got their knickers in a twist. Give me a break….that was the most harmless series of smooches and Shilpa surely was having a good laugh and most certainly didn't appear to mind. Of course I wasn't present there and I am commenting based on the footage that I saw. So who the hell are these morons to care about what two consenting adults are upto? If Shilpa were to protest then it is totally different. Besides compared to all the ubiquitous vulgar item numbers in Bollywood movies, this was totally PG13.

I am most certain all the rickshaws and taxis in Mumbai were told by the Sena to not run for a day in protest. Maybe some over zealous Sainiks vandalized some shops in protest….I don’t know….just guessing here. Aarghh...I remember the dreadful Shiv Sena bandhs when I lived in Mumbai. I think Richard Gere needs to give a friendly peck to all the Sena bigwigs and end the matter peacefully! Why doesn’t Shiv Sena just take a look at all the Sun temples in the country and all the other sculptures in the various architectural heritage sites? Isn’t that a part of Indian culture? What next, cover up all the sculptures in the country?

Speaking of politics, Rahul Gandhi needs someone to tutor him about modern Indian history OR cure him of foot in the mouth disease. The one week that I had so much fodder to make fun of and I was very busy at work. Knowing the Sena and the Gandhi scion, I am certain there will be other occasions.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Will be back soon

I have been really busy at work for the past week. In fact I am also working this weekend....Weekend....what weekend???? Anyway so blogging has taken a back seat. I miss you guys and I am so tired right now that the only alphabet I see is Z.

The good news is that the weather is going to suck tomorrow so I won't feel bad about not enjoying spring!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

American Idol

I do not watch American Idol and didn't really care about the show. I do know, however, that American Idol makes an excellent water fountain conversation. The other day at my workplace, I saw a group of people discussing American Idol and complaining about the guy “Sunjee.” Someone wondered where the hell did the name “Sunjee” come from while some other person corrected the others and said that it was “Sanjaaya.” Someone else noticed me and nudged the others and they all dispersed with sheepish grins. I was really curious and wanted to know who this “Sunjee” guy was and therefore that evening tuned in to watch American Idol. I found that "Sunjee" is Sanjaya Malakar. How come there is no big hoopla about him with the desi tabloids, who pretty much cover anything about the desi diaspora in North America?

I thought that Sanjay Malakar was Maharastrian because a lot of Maharashtrian last names have the suffix “kar” which basically translates as “belonging to,” and it is generally a certain village. Like the legendary Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar or the legendary cricketers “Gavaskar” and “Tendulkar,” who all are incidentally Mumbaikar like yours truly. His sister, who also auditioned for the show, is named Shyamali which is another very common Maharashtrian name. Enquiring minds wanted to know so just to be certain; I did some sleuthing to find that he is not a maharashtrian but a bengali from his father’s side. Who knew? Anyway the guy cannot sing to save his life but I think is surviving on the show because of the appeal he has with teenage girls all over the United States.

As an Indian I have been asked a lot of stupid questions from random people like,
“Don’t women get beaten a lot by their husbands in your country like when they don’t get dowry and all?”

I have answered in the past, “No not really but we have a day in the Hindu calendar called “Punchami” which is celebrated nationally as a day where women get punched by men. Men randomly target women, not necessarily their wives and beat them black and blue.”

To my non-Hindu readers Punchami is indeed a day in the Hindu Calendar and means the fifth day after the waxing or waning moon and has got nothing to do with getting punched!

“Don’t women like always wear a red dot?”

I have answered, “Yes they do but only on days they are seeing red.”

These days I don’t have the patience to come up with creative answers and tell people that Wikipedia is a good resource for finding information and “google search” is another useful tool as well.

Therefore I was asked the other day, “Wow that Sanjay Malakar is hawt….like… are all Indian guys hot?” I had a half mind to tell her to check the Edison area in New Jersey and find out for herself!

I told K that it was such a welcome relief to see a lousy but hawt Indian singer on primetime television than seeing perverted desis getting caught at a sting operation, on NBC’s “How to Catch a Predator?”

PS: I am hooked on to Idol now. It is not for the show but to see for how long the miracle that lets Sanjay move on from one level to the other lasts!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

What Cartoon Character Are You?

I have nothing to write these days hence I am sharing the following quiz. The Administrative Assistant from my old job keeps in touch with me via email. She is a very nice person and for four and a half years was my "Office Mom." She always sends very interesting and funny emails to me. Most of her forwarded emails make fun of men! There is nothing like making fun of men in your free time. Actually I am a mean and a bitter person who makes fun of everyone in her free time so that I can feel better about my own pathetic life! Anyway I digress....she sent me this email quiz about what cartoon character closely resembles your personality. Why don't you take it and let me know?

Everyone has a personality of a cartoon character.
Have you ever asked yourself what cartoon character do you most resemble?

A group of investigators got together and analyzed the personalities of well known and modern cartoon characters. The information that was gathered was made into this test.

Answer all the questions (only 10) with what describes you best, add up all your Points (which are next to the answer that you choose) at the end and look for your results.

Do not cheat by looking at the end of the e-mail before you are done.

1. Which one of the following describes the perfect
..a) Candlelight dinner (4 pts.)
..b) Fun/Theme Park (2 pts.)
..c) Painting in the park (5 pts)
..d) Rock concert (1 pt.)
..e) Going to the movies (3 pts.)

2. What is your favorite type of music?
..a) Rock and Roll (2 pts.)
..b) Alternative (1 pt.)
..c) Soft Rock (4 pts.)
..d) Country (5 pts.)
..e) Pop (3 pts.)

3. What type of movies do you prefer?
..a) Comedy (2 pts.)
..b) Horror (1 pt.)
..c) Musical (3 pts.)
..d) Romance (4 pts.)
..e) Documentary (5 pts.)

4. Which one of these occupations would you choose if you only could choose one of these?
..a) Waiter (4 pts.)
..b) Professional Sports Player (5 pts.)
..c) Teacher (3 pts.)
..d) Police (2 pts.)
..e) Cashier (1 pt)

5. What do you do with your spare time?
..a) Exercise (5 pts.)
..b) Read (4 pts.)
..c) Watch television (2 pts.)
..d) Listen to music (1 pt.)
..e) Sleep (3 pts.)

6. Which one of the following colors do you like best?
..a) Yellow (1 pt.)
..b) White (5 pts.)
..c) Sky Blue (3 pts.)
..d) Dark Blue (2 pts.)
..e) Red (4 pts.)

7. What do you prefer to eat?
..a) Snow (3 pts.)
..b) Pizza (2 pts.)
..c) Sushi (1 pt.)
..d) Pasta (4 pts.)
..e) Salad (5 pts.)

8 What is your favorite holiday?
..a) Halloween (1 pt.)
..b) Christmas (3 pts.)
..c) New Year (2 pts.)
..d) Valentine's Day (4 pts.)
..e) Thanksgiving (5 pts.)

9. If you could go to one of these places which one would it be?
..a) Paris (4 pts)
..b) Spain (5 pts)
..c) Las Vegas (1 pt)
..d) Hawaii (4 pts)
..e) Hollywood (3 pts)

10. With which of the following would you prefer to spend time with?
..a) Someone Smart ( 5 pts.)
..b) Someone attractive (2 pts.)
..c) Someone who likes to Party (1 pt.)
..d) Someone who always has fun (3 pts.)
..e) Someone very sentimental (4 pts.)

Now add up your points and find out the answer you have been waiting for!

(10-16 points) You are Garfield :
You are very comfortable, easy going, and you definitely know how to have fun but sometimes you take it to an extreme. You always know what you are doing and you are always in control of your life. Others may not see things as you do, but that doesn't mean that you always have to do what is right. Try to remember, your happy spirit may hurt you or others.

(17-23 p oints) You are Snoopy:
You are fun, you are very cool and popular. You always know what's in and you are never are out of style You are good at knowing how to satisfy everyone else. You have probably disappeared for a few days more than once but you always come home with the family values that you learned. Being married and having children are important to you, but only after you have had your share of fun times.

(24-28 points) You are Elmo:
You have lots of friends and you are also popular, always willing to give advice and help out a person in need. You are very optimistic and you always see the bright side of things. Some good advice: try not to be too much of a dreamer. Dreaming too big could cause many conflicts in your life.

(29-35 points) You are Sponge Bob Square Pants:
You are the classic person that everyone loves. You are the best friend that anyone could ever have and never wants to lose. You never cause harm to anyone and they would never not understand your feelings. Life is a journey, it's funny and calm for the most
part. Stay away from traitors and jealous people, and you will be stress free.

(36-43 points) You are Charlie Brown:
You are tender, you fall in love quickly but you are also very serious about all relationships. You are a family person. You call your Mom every Sunday. You have many friends and may occasionally forget a few Birthdays. Don't let your passion confuse you with reality.

(44-50 points) You are Dexter:
You are smart and definitely a thinker... Every situation is fronted with a plan. You have a brilliant mind. You demonstrate very strong family principles. You maintain a stable routine but never ignore a bad situation when it comes. Try to do less over thinking every once in a while to spice things up a bit with spontaneity!

PS: In case you are curious, I am "Charlie Brown." By the way, I don't call my mother every Sunday but call her every other day. I am a family person, which really means that I am needy and lean on to them. I had a lot of friends when I was growing up but I remember each and everyone's birthday and anniversary.