I love to read. I am an emotional reader, getting hopelessly too involved in the lives of those I read about. Often, I miss the people in the book when I have finished reading it.
Last year I read the “The Hunger Games” trilogy and my attachment to all things Panem and my overwhelming desire to say “and may the odds forever be in your favour” to just about everything became a point of concern really.
After I had devoured all three books and seen the movie, I had to take a week off from reading just to mourn the loss of my beloved Katniss, Gale and Peter. Sigh.
Right now I am reading two books, the first a fiction read of family dysfunction based on the real-life murder of teeny American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. As you can guess it’s a little dark so I interject that with another read of a couple of moms getting away for a reunion weekend. Mindless escapism.
Every now and then though, you read a book that wouldn’t win any literary awards but it makes you belly laugh or have a good sob, or even both. And that, even before the award winning novel, is probably the book you will pass on to your friends.
So today I am passing you the Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan. Such a delight to read, and to add to the joy, at the end of each chapter are recipes tested by Monica and her mum, passed down through generations of Indian cooks and mothers.
This book made me want to eat curry. All. The. Time.
Before I had even finished the last page I could bear it no longer and grabbing my precious tub of Gorima’s spices bought on my last trip to Durban, I made a potful of curry and let it simmer until the whole house smelt exotically fragrant and delicious.
This recipe is not from the Hindi-Bindi Club and I have no doubt that it lacks all authenticity, but it is still very good and it’s how we make curry in our house. It is also very mild and my kiddos love it too. Just a note on the spices I used, there are no set amounts, add extra if you want to spice it up some more, or even add some chopped chili.
What you need
8 chicken thighs (skin on)
30ml sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 thumb size piece ginger, crushed
30 ml ghee (clarified butter)
2 tsp. garum masala
3 tsp. mixed masala
2 tsp. dhania/jeera powder
2 tsp. tamarind concentrate
2 410 g cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 410 g can coconut milk
2 generous handfuls fresh coriander
- Heat 15ml of the oil in a heavy saucepan and brown the seasoned thighs on all sides. Do this in batches so that the thighs are evenly browned. Reserve the thighs on one side.
- Pour out any fat in the pan.
- Fry the onions in the remaining oil and ghee until softened and fragrant and then add the ginger and the garlic to the pan and fry for a further 2-3 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.
- Turn you heat down and add all the spices to the pan. Toss well until the aroma begins to come off the pan.
- Add the tomatoes and the coconut milk with half the coriander, roughly chopped
- Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
- At this point I like to whizz the curry sauce with my hand blender to smooth it, but this is not necessary if you prefer a chunkier curry.
- Return the chicken to the sauce and cook over a gentle heat until the chicken is done – about 35 minutes.
- Season to taste and serve with basmati rice and generous handfuls of fresh coriander.
Pretty Girl is reading up a storm and has just finished her first “actual book”. (Like her mother she is a little tired of Meg the Hen and Fat pig.) I am so excited to pass along my favourites to her, and I am really hoping she stays excited about reading. With any luck her nightstand will soon look a bit like mine, a pile of books with the potential to make you love and laugh and heal and live, and maybe even cook!