Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fireworks & American Chopsuey...

“What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents."
Bapa was a workaholic ..he spent hours at the Secretariat and when he came home in the late evenings he came with file boxes (called Tabal Boxes in tamil) and  worked while he watched  Raj Kapoor movies. We sat in the same room as him either studying or watching the movie with him. He was messy and disorganized at home ( and the exact opposite at work)...it wasn't surprising that put him and the clean, organized freak  Ma together and most times you got - Fireworks!

Ma didn't like going out much to eat and honestly we didn't miss eating out much - what with our regular fare being a cut over the regular...sponge cakes, cutlets, samosas, home made pizzas, dosas....amazing Bhajis and Daals...both north indian and south indian. But sometimes (ok I admit it was more like once every week) the cravings struck...all I could think about was American Chopsuey and Garlic Chicken...Please do not confuse my American Chopsuey with the pasta dish that you get here....this is an out and out desi (aka Indian - Chinese Dish)...spicy, oily and hits a spot that no other dish on this universe could.

Coming back to my American Chopsuey every time there were fireworks, Bapa would cart us out and we would walk to our neighborhood  restaurant - BeachCastle ( right on Elliot's Beach, balmy breeze, awesome view)  for our fix of desi-chinese. Those were uncomplicated times...school, friends, studies, M&B's ( what you don't know Mills & Boons), loving parents ( yeah! the mom was pretty damn strict but loving nevertheless) and very simple ambitions...and what always remained was the fact that Bapa was able to cajole Ma out of her bad moods over spicy Garlic Chicken and American Chopsuey...me...I waddled home stuffed and happy...the world was my stage and I was ready to conquer it.

I don't cook Desi-Chinese at home, mostly because I just can't get myself to deep fry vegetables and meat...I  steam my veggies, cook a lot of  lentils and grains...so when the craving for desi-chinese strikes -- here is how I make do (read : cheat)

I get the Whole Foods - Sweet and Sour Chicken. I take a large skillet and fry in a tsp of peanut oil  about a head of garlic ( yes it is a lot but trust me it is so delish!) and then I add the Whole Foods Sweet and Sour Chicken and follow directions (for skillet)...I don't add any spices at this stage because the little dude (K2) gets to eat more than his fair share of this...when I am ready to serve ( I add trader joe's  habanero sauce, it is blindingly spicy so treat with care and respect)...I usually serve with brown rice and steamed broccolli and snap peas. What say you? You don't want to wuss out like me and try the real deal...then head over to this video to learn how...

For some reason, I was missing the fireworks, the phone calls and the desi-chinese at Beach Castle today.The roses in my rose garden have bloomed and herald that time is passing by fast...and time heals.

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