Curry and evils of the world

Hi everyone, CstM here I hope you’re all doing well. I am doing much better than my last post. Thank you all for your kind comments. I really do appreciate all your advice and well wishes.
I’m so sorry for the late post. Life has been busy around here, with the visit of the Welsh mothership. It was a very lovely visit. We had a dinner party, and of course I had to go all out and make two different currys and homemade onion bhajis. At least Leggy got to have a spicy curry for once, so he was happy. I’m a strictly butter chicken girl, anything else can be too spicy or has coconut in it. Dang weird allergies.
Speaking of allergies, something funny happened. Well I thought it was funny. I was oven roasting butternut squash for the curry. For some reason if I handle butternut squash with bare hands, I get a really bad rash, so I wear rubber gloves as protection. The Welsh mothership was in the kitchen watching me prepare the butternut squash, wearing my handy rubber gear and didn’t bat an eyelid. Although I guess it’s more dramatic inside my head. I always feel like some Dr. Frankenstein ready to bring my creation to life. Even if it’s just a curry.

Another thing I’m behind on is the books. I’m about half through the Hunger Games book. I’m genuinely enjoying it, I just keep getting distracted by other things. I must admit I didn’t remember the original books being this brutal. Maybe it’s because I’m older and everyone seems so much younger.
It is an interesting book though. We’re following Coriolanus Snow, as he and his classmates mentor the participants of the games. A game they are trying to make more viewer popular. Now this is a guy who, if you’ve read the original books, will become the personification of all the evil in the Capitol. But hearing his traumatic upbringing in the first rebellion, you do end up feeling sympathy for this young boy, who is just trying to survive and excel.
It does make you wonder, when does bad people turn bad.

The book reminds me in some ways of the film The motorcycle diaries. It’s a film about young Che Guevara travelling through latin America and seeing the poverty and destitution first hand, and ultimately leading him on a path of trying to make a change. Now I don’t condone what he did, but watching that film, you do get a bit of understanding of where he came from. He started out wanting to do good. Does that excuse all the evil he brought into the world? No, in no way. It just makes you understand to some degree where he was coming from.

One book that is a very good read on the topic of evil is The Lucifer Effect by Robert Zimbardo. It looks into the psychological explanation for why even good people sometimes turn evil. It goes over his Stanford prison experiment and also talks about how similar things has occurred in real life like the Abu Ghraib prison.
It is well worth a read, if you’re interested in the topic. I’m still annoyed that someone borrowed my hard back copy of the book and never returned it. Although quite ironic to steal a book about evil.

Now for this month book in the Gloom Dog book club, I went for something short. I figured there isn’t much left of October, so to make it plausible to actually finish it, it needed to be an easy read.
So this month we’ll be reading The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Cade over from Cade F.O.N Apollyon was the one who suggested it. He’s been reading along, and helped start the Gloom Dog Bookclub, so go give him a read, if you have the time. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.
I’ve heard very good things about The Pearl, so I’m excited to start reading it. I’ve only read Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, so it’ll be nice to read some more of his works.
I hope you’ll join us on our next reading adventure.

28 thoughts on “Curry and evils of the world

  1. As per our discussion, finding a copy of this particular book likely won’t be a problem for anyone. I’d think public libraries and used book shops just about anywhere should have copies. I also checked on foreign language versions, and it appears there are some if anyone needs to go that route.

    Lastly, I found an audio copy on YouTube if anyone cannot find the book and wants to give it a listen. The vid below works for me here in the US, but it may not work in some countries.

    Happy reading, weirdos. ;-P

    ^John Steinbeck The Pearl Audiobook^

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Butter chicken is also my go to curry. Just chuck in the onions, the garlic the ginger the usual spices add the tin of tomatoes salt ,pepper, the yogurt and hey presto ( sequence shortened). I regularly post it up on Facebook book you can ask leg iron.

    I had a very strange almost lucid dream tonight. I was looking a photos and wanted to write down the name of one. I was using big felt tip markers on a long piece of paper like a roll… Landscape. I’d put the name down and then this guy asked from the left. Can this couple take a photo of you . I nodded in agreement waited for the flash which never came and then woke up… But I could actually hear the person in the dream. That happens exceptionally rarely.

    Speaking of evil. I was reading the conspirators hierarchy, the committee of 300 by John Coleman. Fascinating evil plans by real people.

    Liked by 2 people

      • There will be no removal of finger nails. I can’t paint his bloody stumps, now can I? Also it’s not nice.

        G2 can you teach me your ways of the curry, or is it a secret family recipe?

        Liked by 3 people

        • The spice mix is a family thing. However the preparation isn’t. So I can write that down here. Im not giving out the garam masala recipe easy. But black cardamoms are involved. The green ones are too sweet. If you want a hint go see Madhur Jaffrey for some spice hints.

          You will need. 600-650g of chicken Either breast or thigh meat. Thigh meat can be nicer some times. And its cheaper. ( I find either does)
          two onions, about the size of a billiard ball or a little bigger. but not the size of a tennis ball if that makes sense Chop finely. and pop in a bowl.
          About half an adult finger size of ginger., peel with a spoon and also chop into finer mince than the onions ( set aside), garlic cloves. Now I tend to go for about two to three depending on the size, I take the green bits out of the middle cos I saw that on Masterchef. Again finely mince and put to gether with the ginger., ( you could use a commercial paste but thats entirely up to you.)

          One tin of peeled plum tomatoes. ( doesnt matter if its the cheap version at 19p or the nicer version at 37 p or the Napolina version at 67 p/) I find it doesnt really make a difference but tinned chopped tomatoes are out. Not enough flesh. ( cue halloween laughter)

          Some normal fat plain yogurt. Greek is out , low fat can be used. Greek tends to be a touch oily and whilst it is butter chicken you dont want streaks from the greek yogurt. 4% or6% is fine. 10% fat is too much.

          Spices. If you can get black cumin seeds ( eg kummel) you’ll need some. Makes it nicer.

          ground roasted ordinary cumin seeds and then ground up see Madhur Jaffrey. Its probably on a youtube somewhere.
          Garam masala obviously ( the ones that dont include turmeric) Mine is made up of black cardamom, black pepper ,cinnamon and cloves in a certain ratio. Nuff said on that one. A commercial one can suffice. just.

          Turmeric powder
          Freshly ground black pepper
          Salt ( I use the celtic or the maldon or you can use ordinary cooking salt but thats entirely your choice)

          (If you want a little heat you may add. Totally optional ( And I never do) either half a chopped green chilli or a full one or a quarter teaspoon of cayenne ( I never add that either) You dont need these. ( Ive put when you might want to add them) For those people who like a little piquancy.

          Chop chicken into bite size pieces I usually roughly do it into two cm pieces square.

          Fry the chicken and the black cumin or kummel in ghee. ( clarified butter) until its sealed. in a decent frying pan ( stainless steel or cast iron if youre into that)

          Have a saucepan with a lid handy on the hob. Pop the sealed chicken from the frying pan into the saucepan ( and then pop the lid on) Whilst the chicken rests from being sealed it releases chicken liquor which you’ll need later. If you let it evaporate well its not as nice.
          You are now left with a pan with some water, some ghee a few kummel seeds and a few bits of left over chicken bits. Just add the onion and a bit more ghee and then soften the onion until it gets translucent and starts to brown a bit at the corners ( anyone who fries onions regularly will know exactly what I mean) when that happens add the minced garlic and ginger. and fry it around a bit more for a minute or so ( it does not matter if anything starts to brown or stick) Then add about a teaspoon or so ( I never measure I just chuck) of turmeric and fry for a bit longer, Then add about three teaspoons of garam masala and about one to two teaspoons of ground roast cumin Not too much mind. and fry them in with the onion. At this point it should have dried and look a bit mucky. and stick to the pan a bit. Thats fine. You should wear an apron This is always when I remember to wear one. Open the tin of tomatoes and let it go into the frying pan to deglaze and mix with the onion mix. chop it up with your implement and mix it round. This is where you add the salt and the pepper. I usually do 20 revolutions of a pepper grinder. salt about two teaspoons or to taste. I usually do that with my hands.

          Mix it around until the mix looks a bit more smooth etc and is bubbling and separating a little. At this point add about three dessert spoons of yogurt. its a rough measure. mix it in and you’ll have to wait until the mixture starts to separate again. ( It doesnt matter how dryish the mixture gets,) At this point you can look under the saucepan lid and see your chicken with a bit of liquor.)

          Take the heat off the frying pan and pop the saucepan on the heat and add the sauce from the frying pan into the saucepan with the chicken in it.

          You may wish to use a little boiling water ( not much mind) to clean the frying pan and add the juices to the saucepan.

          Then heat it together taste it for the salt and wait for the chicken to cook through. Hey presto Butter chicken,. ( if you are adding heat add the chili with the frying ginger* and/or the cayenne when you add the tomatoes)

          If you want you can prepare it a day ahead as it always gets nicer when it soaks through over night and gets reheated. This recipe makes three portions or two greedy ones. Change the quantities if you are making a big one but dont ask me about that.

          Note the commercial sauces use sugar You dont need sugar. The plum tomatoes should be sweet enough once youve cooked it all down.

          Dad can tell if Ive added just one teaspoon of sugar to the mix. I was recreating my mothers recipe. and shes been gone for 11 years plus so I had to rely on memory and taste. After about 40 goes this year Ive almost got it off pat now.

          This sauce is also good for whole chicken pieces aswell. Thighs, chicken legs etc. Make sure you taste it before you serve it. If it tastes good then youve got the salt right ( you can always add a little more. at the table if necessary but dont screw the pot up)

          If you like coriander you can garnish the top with coriander leaves. Im not a big fan of it. Commercial mixes have it in everything for some bloody reason.

          So have fun. Do let me know if its different to how you were preparing it. Unfortunately black cardamoms are bloody expensive these days so thats why most commercial mixes dont have it in.

          The deglazing is important for colour Ive found. I dont think non stick frypans actually get that colour so its a bit of a problem . Wok would do too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Wow! Thank you so much. I truly appreciate it. I’ll have to look into spice mixes. I’m sure Leggy won’t mind being a curry guinea pig.
            To be honest I am still very new to curry. It’s not as popular back in Denmark as it is here. I don’t think I had a curry until I went over here. I’m pretty sure the first time I had butternut squash, I thought it was potatoes.
            The first curry I ever had, was butter chicken. I went out to eat with some people and the guy working at the restaurant was great, I was asking for something not too spicy and he was like “sure, I got you covered”. I did try the pilaf rice and the people I was with thought it would be hilarious to feed me the cloves or cardamom seeds. I’ve never really trusted pilaf rice after that.

            I have a probably dumb question. The cardamom seeds. We have ground cardamom, it’s used a lot in some Danish Christmas cookies. If we can’t find the seeds, or in a pinch, could the ground cardamom be used? It may be the wrong coloured one.

            It is different to how I’ve been making it. I haven’t been removing the chicken and putting it back again. I definitely haven’t been letting the onion and garlic go brown. There was a study back when I was pretty young saying that burnt food causes cancer, so I am weirdly paranoid about burnt food. I know it’s dumb, but it still makes me nervous. There’s a whole toast debacle in the household. But hey, you have to live life on the wild side, right? Time to brown some onions. Lol

            Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi CStM, Butter Chicken is good. But it does not need to be complicated. All you need I think is some chicken which had had a good and decent life, all cut up ready to fry gently in olive oil (the Indians didn’t have any other kind i think) with a little slat and peper, and when it’s slightly brown and so on, you just add whatever curry spices please you, Also much garlic and a few onions and maybe some chives and stuff and quite a lot of ginger all cut up, You fry it for some time longer (oh and don’t forget to add quite a lot of butter late in the process, not too early) and then you will be fine. Then, all you have to do is eat it which is the easy bit. That’s how I do it. I don’t even measure quantities.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your instructions. I really appreciate it.
      I’ve been on a soup making kick this past week, so Leggy has been fed potato soup with homemade croutons and broccoli and cheddar soup. He’s been hinting at mulligatawny soup, so that will be coming up after the next shopping delivery.
      We went into autumn and I went from not having made a soup in my life, to making all the soups. I’m sure Leggy would appreciate a nice curry soon.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh, erm, CStM, please could you tell The Old Man that I have a final (final) (FINAL!!!) revision of the Christmas story please? I discovered a very bad continuity error in the plot and the “screenplay” which would have negated the story’s value, and I have also made it more tear-jerking, which is what I wanted to do all along. Later tonight or perhaps tomorrow I will send the (final final) draft, which is, er….final. So sorry to be such a pain. I hope you are both well.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The thing about curry spices is that in fact they acted as pre-modern antibiotics in some cases. Nobody knew about “antibiotics” until Fleming, Florey and Chain, separately or severally – we may never know now – discovered the properties of some mycotoxins in about 1929 quite by accident.

    In India, Ceylon and other South East Asian places, when you slaughtered meat for food, if you didn’t cook and eat it straight away then it would be “off”. This is what the curry spices were for.

    We the British, the One People that invented the Modern World and taught All People The Way To The Door Out Of Hell, and _pointed to it and shouted_ (we shall never be forgiven for that thing) shall never be forgiven for this dreadful crime.

    Not even for making curry one of our national dishes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Care to elaborate on your anencephalic ejaculation? You have indeed struck a chord here with your irrelevancy, it has piqued the interest of people with actual thought processes, something you might struggle to comprehend. Give it some time, maybe a millennium or so, and I’m sure your evolutionary progeny will begin to fathom some kind of meaning in your response.
      In the meantime, if you want to try your luck at the trolling game, you are welcome to bring it on.
      Hint: You’re a fucking amateur.

      Liked by 1 person

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