Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Curry

When you think of Kenya, where I spent some years as a child, the Indian community is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Yet there are many Sikhs living in Kenya - the British brought many Indian workers to build the East Africa railroads and to serve in the police forces.
My family was often invited to the home of Kenyan Sikhs - I once saw a Sikh man rolling up his long long hair before putting on his turban, a beautiful and mesmerizing sight. Most of the time, we joined Sikh families for curry dinners and as a result, my mum learnt to prepare curries; they became staples of our own meals. Years later, in Paris, when a friend of my sister's was horrified she did not know how to make the classic French dish "escalopes à la crème", she retorted that she could make curries - and she prepared a fabulous chicken curry to drive her point home.
I always have curry in my pantry; I add it to pumpkin soups, chickpea salads and pretty much anything. I bought this one at Penzey Spices in Santa Monica yesterday.
And a must-read about curry: the fabulous Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors by Lizzie Collingham.

The picture hereunder, taken at my Nairobi school, reflects some of the ethnic diversity wonderful Kenya allowed me to discover and value.

31 comments:

Taocito said...

oooooh curry! My owner makes a mean chicken curry, tender and flavorful. She makes it almost once a week because her partner just loves it so much! I myself have had the opportunity to try it once when she left a plate unattended, I hopped on the chair and helped myself to a few mouthfuls before she caught me and chased me away. She loves to have her curry with Dal Makhni which is a lentil dish, ideal for vegetarians like Mary Laure!

Debra said...

You have had some fabulous childhood experiances-I'm so happy that you invite us into some of them. I like a little curry, but my husband is mad about curries. Mostly I enjoy it when someone else is cooking. Do you have a favorite vegetable curry?

iñaki said...

I wish I could make curry from scratch...

xx

Mary-Laure said...

TAOCITO - I can't believe you had curry! I thought it may be a bit hot for your palate///

DEBRA - not really, I like all kinds of vegetables with curry. I also like to throw in some chickpeas.
You'd be surprised how beautifully curry fits into a simple pumpkin soup, by the way. Very warming in the winter.

Angie Muresan said...

Oh yum!! I love curries! And I adore you sharing your childhood experiences with us. We traveled quite a bit as children too, but mostly stayed within Europe and the States.

Brenda's Arizona said...

A fun story to read. I am enjoying your posts! And now, hungry for something curried... hmmm.

giulia said...

Tacocito: you're going to burn your tender parts if you keep this up. I must say, your guardian is most patient with you. Even GG won't touch curry (though part of her outfit is positively garam masala-ish.)

Love curries...just finished cooking up spicy lentil soup with a bunch of curry in it. Yum. I wish I could send some to you, M-L, as soupy comfort so you wouldn't have to do anything but floof about this evening.

Speaking of pumpkin (in the curry-yes, good) -- Off to do-gooder meeting where I will pass out homemade pumpkin cupcakes. My evil plan? Get'em all sugared up (like 'liquored up') & distracted. They won't know until they get home that they've agreed to share some of the odious tasks that I have on a to-do list. (It's only fair!)

Mwahahahaha.


Who said Hallowe'en is over?

Mary-Laure said...

ANGIE - I'd love to hear more about your nomadic years...

GIULIA - oh I love lentil soups, especially with curry. Very comforting indeed.
I just LOVE your evil liquored up cupcake plan... You really rock! What liquor are you going to use? I wonder what would go well with pumpkin. Amaretto?
BTW, I have a surprise for you: Taocito will make a guest star appearance on this blog very soon!!!

Taocito said...

Giulia and Mary-laure, don't worry about me, I have an eclectic palate. I enjoy trying world cooking though I am not a fan of sushi I must admit. Pasta is a big A+ in my book. I am very eager to try couscous but that's another story!

giulia said...

Oh, a little cognac...sounds gross but it will be good. If I had some Amaretto around I'd do that in the frosting. Which makes me realize I've got to add that to the growing list-on-fridge titled 'stuff for holidays'....

Oh, Tacocito as guest blogger. Well, looking forward to that. When the little rotters start arguing at the meeting (before liquor-sugar kicks in), I shall imagine funny Benjy & Tacocito doings. GG better not do anything remotely 'funny' while I'm gone. She wandered into the hallway & started down the stairs, as bold as can be, a moment ago when I was signing for our packages of holiday cards & so on. I keep telling her: it's over-rated out there, Missy.

ciao-meow to all

xo

Beverly Ash Gilbert said...

Love your pic of the pot of curry and the image of your childhood experiences.

btw - 'Curry' and all of the scrumptious individual spices that go into it are staples in my house and find their way into almost everything... just made roasted root veggies with olive oil, garlic, cumin, coriander, cardamom etc...

Mary-Laure said...

GIULIA - I'd love to taste your naughty cupcakes!
Hopefully Taocito's post will keep CG busy by the computer for a while, looking wistfully into his dark eyes, and she'll do no mischief.
I agree - it IS over-rated out there.

BEVERLY - I adore cumin too! And cardamon, and ginger and cinnamon...

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

I LOVE Penzey's - stocked up last year in Michigan but sadly am running low on a few things including our beloved black and red....

J Elaine said...

I love it when you share childhood stories and pictures. Is that you in the white Salopettes and smile?

Mary-Laure said...

MARDI - I think Penzey sells online... Or don't they?

J ELAINE - I'm the big girl in my teacher's arms. My sister is sitting on my mum's hip.
Isn't mum beautiful?

gracia said...

As always, I love your childhood snaps... and curry is a staple in our home. I could not live without it. The smell of it fills the house and makes my tummy rumble.

Gabbi said...

How lovely that a food or a taste can hold so much dear Mary-Laure! Now I need a pumpkin soup... :)

vintage simple said...

What lovely memories..! And that such a particular smell and flavor would carry such memories is just beautiful... Thanks for sharing, my dear.

xo,
-maria

Mary-Laure said...

GABBI - well pumpkin is in season, so do indulge!

Joyful said...

I love Kenya and sampling the Kenyan foods, though I have not yet sampled curry dishes there. We also have a sizeable Sikh community here where I live and a plethora of good restaurants. It is only in the recent years that I began to enjoy curry dishes, partly because I was introduced to curry done improperly when I was younger and never gave it another chance til much later. I'm glad I did!

Laura in Paris said...

Oh, I love love curries and have learned about green thai curries, made with herbs and not with spices. But of course, my favorite is Chicken curry!
Visit my blog, I have a French Cheese Knife giveaway! And I am SURE you buy cheese where you live.

patti said...

Yum, yum, yum. We love curry. This weekend we are going to the best Indian grocery in the Boston area to stock up on spices and other soul food.

Joyce said...

I love Penzey Spices! Don't you? I enjoyed readig your childhood memories too. xoxo

jean-louis said...

Tu n'imagines pas le souvenir que j'ai d'un curry ou toi, maman et Celine avions du partager au mariage de la fille d'un de mes sub-contractor Sikk a Nyeri Hill..
Curry vegetarien au 7UP ..Je n'ai jamais eu aussi soif de ma vie ( a l'exception toutefois du Sahara!)

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Such a color, it is conjectured by actual scientific inquiry that the Turmeric in Curry is what keeps the incidence of Alzheimers in India remarkably low.....

Sam said...

What a lovely post! You have some very rich and wonderful childhood memories there! I'm a huuuuge fan of curries! ...and we don't get many Sihks out here in Aus but I saw quite a few in London while I was there - and incidentally the curries in London are very good indeed! Take care and have a lovely weekend!

Anonymous said...

always enjoy hearing your stories...and i would lllllllove some curry now...;))

Mary-Laure said...

LAURA - I love your curries and all your cooking.

JL - tu m'as bien fait rire. Moi j'adore le 7Up.

D.MOLL - really? That's fascinating. I did read that all spices are really good for you.

J Elaine said...

Your mum is truly radiant and so is your smiling face while in your teacher's arms. You are both beautiful.

Mary-Laure said...

J ELAINE - oh you're always too sweet. I was very happy in Kenya.

azahar said...

If you love curry then Malaysia is the country you want to visit.

Everybody loves curry here. We have beef curry, mutton curry, fish head curry, egg-plant curry, lady's finger curry, etc...

My wife is an expert in cooking curry...