Monday, May 27, 2013

Curry Worries

"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." --Henry Ford

Like most Americans, I eat foods from many different cultures. Just in my small suburban town, there are restaurants specializing in Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai dishes. 

I never really thought much about the international stylings of my diet until I was in Malaysia, where most of the locals were surprised to hear that Americans eat so multiculturally.

As I explained this fact over and over to my Malaysian friends, an interesting truth dawned on me. While I often eat international foods at restaurants, I rarely cook authentic meals from other cultures at home. 

Hmm. I decided that needs to change. 

I drew great inspiration from my Malaysian host's mother-in-law, the lovely Mak. She is a powerhouse in the kitchen, whipping up multicultural meals from scratch at all times of day and night. Especially impressive to me is the fact that Mak does not rely on prepared sauces, packaged seasonings, or processed ingredients. This is a woman who grinds dried chiles, chops fresh ginger, and cleans raw seafood. As far as equipment goes, she uses an old-fashioned mortar and pestle, a good knife, a wok, and not much else. After several weeks of hard-core cooking with Mak, I came home fired up for some changes in my own kitchen.

Which brings me to this delicious plate of curry chicken. 

Homemade curry dishes are a dime a dozen at Mak's table, but I've never made curry myself. So the other day, I found a  recipe, followed it faithfully, and turned out a lovely meal that my family and I all enjoyed. 

And I was feeling all smug and satisfied with myself until I made a sad discovery. I had used a prepared curry powder instead of making my own curry paste from scratch!!

Sorry, Mak. I'll try again.

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