Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The taste is in the fingers

We’re eating chicken curry… a late night leftover snack. It’s caro chicken, burning hot! Like true Indians my mother in law and Sevika eats with their fingers… Nothing strange about that, I’m so used to it… and the chicken curry you just have to use your fingers. Sevika is worried now… marinating the fingertips in the hot curry… She is afraid to take the lenses off… worried that the eyes will burn… I know the feeling. Done exactly the same thing with both Tiger balm and camphor cream on my fingers. Not very pleasant!

A saying about Indian cooking strikes me: “The taste is in the fingers”. Eureka! The apple landed right in my head. It’s like cognac… In a 15year old cognac you put a small bit of 20 and 25year old cognac… and mature it in the oak casks. The flavour from the casks and earlier vintages set their imprint/character on the new vintage cognac. The same way Indians do it basically. The one day they eat chicken curry… and dip the fingers nicely in the oily spicy dish… with all the flavours of the masala. Next day it’s briyani time… or mutton curry… A good Indian cook, like my mother in law, will have to use the fingers whilst cooking of course… Ready marinated from the chicken curry the day before, the fingers are doing the cognac thing to the briyani… sort of gives it a vintage tuch to the food. Marinated oak casks or fingertips – same thing! Imagine all the curries, oils and masalas on the fingers through the years! I guess that should add a vintage stroke to the curry. That’s why it’s not all about experience and age with a good cook either… it’s just there, in the fingertips!

Just thinking of people from other cultures where you can sense a halo of garlic around them. Obviously because they’ve eaten garlic and now they’re sweating garlic like crazy. It’s the same principle again. Chow garlic the night before, and you can add garlic naturally to your curry or lasagne or whatever. It’s already in your fingers! Oh - but keep the fingers above the duvet!

4 comments:

house of fluff said...

jonny i'm sure we've talked about this before. i have a theory about why us westerners can't make decent chapatis, is because of the spices in the skin. i had thought it was coming out from the body, but as you say, it could be the hands are being marinated.

have you been watching koffee with karan? you can see it on youtube. i love it!

Jonny said...

Hey Jules! Yes, we definitely did discuss it - I remember! You are an obvious part of my inspiration! I swear to both, marinated or from the inside. The flavor from the inside is obviously dependent on what you ate recently. You want to add some garlic to your dish - then make sure you chow a garlic the day before... or maybe soak the fingers in garlic butter :-)

Sleepless in Manhattan said...

Yes, this is the same theory about lamb from Provence, chowing down on all that oregano and thyme makes them naturally flavourful, i hear....
Which makes me wonder what the f*ck the karoo animals are eating - i always thought they tasted amazing. Must be all that aloe...good for the skin, so....

Sleepless in Manhattan said...

aaarggh, hope jules the vegan and other un-named veggie killers didn't get offended by my lamb post. I hope you and Anne are doing good, and thanks thanks thanks so much for the music!! We miss you guys - nyc isn't too far from bergen *wink wink*