In the matter of curry, I’m pretty indifferent to, and catholic in my tastes, as far as the country of origin and heat output. A nice Thai panang (red or green curry), or Kiang Som Kung (sour shrimp curry) is scrumptious. Vindaloo, ramped up to a heat scale of about nine out of ten is delicious, as is Makhani, a mild chicken dish. Stretching the definition a bit, I’ll throw in a nice jambalaya here as well. The common factor with most curries, worldwide is rice, although the varieties change from place to place–plain long-grain, basmati, jasmine and so on. The subtle flavor of the rice enhances the spices in the curry, or in the case of plain rice, provides a nice contrast, and it’s important to use the right one for the right dish. Or so I think.
I’ve just returned from a trip to Pittsburgh to help my friend Andrea, who’s had a bit of a run of bad health lately, plant some flowers in her garden. She and I had a delightful afternoon last week at a local ice-cream parlor, and we followed that up with a visit to Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse, just down the road. It’s a lovely nursery of the plant variety. It’s the only other place, besides luxury fabric stores in Italy, and sundry exotic spinning and knitting supply places all over the world, where I have to worry that the credit card company might be calling Mr. Right to “turn me in” for an overabundance of retail therapy before I make it home. But I digress.
Andy and I had a delightful morning and afternoon, starting with delicious fresh bagels, cream cheese and coffee, followed by gardening (her garden is lovely; a haven for birds and wildlife, almost right in the middle of the city of Pittsburgh), and then she took me to lunch.
At a new and nice little curry place on Banksville Road. I asked for Vindaloo, as hot as they could make it. The young woman taking my order wasn’t sure I knew what I was asking for, and was a bit tentative about writing it down.
Andrea assured her I did, and that “hot as you can make it” was exactly what I wanted.
You see, she was with me in Washington DC a few decades ago, on a trip to the Smithsonian to see the Mesopotamian Art treasures from the Louvre which were on display. The trip on which I ate the hottest Vindaloo I think the world has ever seen. And she’s been trying to recreate that experience for me ever since.
Now that’s a real pal.
When you’re in the mood for a good curry, what do you order up?