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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Ninterview

I work with two Indians; Nin and Nav.

Some white folks in the office (Nadine) interchange their names as though interchangeable Indians are just a reality in the workforce of today. In this spirit, I decided to pigeonhole them even further after deciding I would like to learn to cook Indian food (I talked about how it was my favorite cuisine if I had to choose one a few posts ago). I did this by assuming they would be able to give me a tutorial of sorts, which if you think about it is no less obnoxious than asking a Korean why Kim Jong-Il looks so batshit crazy all the time, or asking a Canadian if it's "cold back home". Oh well, too late.

When they stared at me blankly, I just asked them what their favorite Indian dish was, and decided whatever they named, I would make. We agreed on chicken Vindaloo. Fortunately many Indian recipes are easy to Nav-igate (see what I did there? See? See?)

Chicken Vindaloo
1 large yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 ground ginger
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cloves
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup ghee or vegetable oil
2lbs of chicken pieces

Roughly chop the onion, add all the spices together in a blender and puree the shit out of it. Combine chicken and spices in a bowl overnight.

Put ghee or vegetable oil in a saucepan or dutch oven and heat over medium, add the chicken pieces, then reduce heat to medium low and cook for 45 mins. Serve over rice.

In addition to guiding me on the choice of dish, Nin and Nav have given me the inside scoop on a wonderful Indian custom, which I’m sure has a proper name but I will call the Exchange of the Coveted Indian Blanket. According to Nin and Nav being given an Indian blanket happens at special occasions, like weddings, where typically one man will present said  blanket to another man followed by an awkward, bromantic hug. Receiving an Indian blanket is both an honor and a hindrance: it’s a sign of respect and much appreciated, but you are also then stuck with an insanely bright and/or pattered blanket that is the size and weight of a Japanese car. Although they are hideous, Nin says there is nothing they can’t keep warm. When you come home after a commute spanning the length of several cities and are chilled to the bone, cuddling up in one or more Indian blankets is known as “blanket power”. Respect.

It should be noted here that Indian blankets are not made in India. Who knows where they're made. They are made of 100% unnatural fibers and are the softest things in the world. Nav has let me cuddle with myself inside her Indian blanket (which is a less-than-blinding-although-not-by-much blue colour without any patterns on it) and secretly I really wanted a big, bold one of my own. To complete this post, I was originally going to post a photo of one of Nin's (several) Indian blankets here so you could get the general outline of what their polyester awesomeness is all about. Imagine my delight on coming into the office and finding this on my desk:


That's right, Nin's mom bought me one out of the kindness of her heart. If you can't tell what the pattern is, it's a bouquet of pastel calla lilies. Things are going to go down between me and this blanket. This blanket is my personal life. I'm never going to take it off. I'm going to sleep in it. Next time I have to go somewhere formal, I will fashion this blanket into a strapless floor-length evening gown. Don't believe me? Wait.

Of course, the second I got home I put the Indian blanket down near the couch in its plastic suitcase. I turned around and it took Stella 5 seconds to knock it over and claim it:

(Note she is now perfectly healthy and cone-free. It turns out after all those tests she's just weird. I didn't need a vet to tell me that). I managed to wrestle it away from her and spread it out, inhaling its not-found-in-nature smell as I did so.

Whose house looks like the set of Roseanne now? Mine does!

Read and reflect upon this amazing turn of events. And yes, I can feel your jealousy from here.

Oh,. the food? It was okay, but definitely missing something. I asked Nin's opinion (opindian?) and he says try it with lamb as lamb soaks up marinades a little better. So I will try this and let you know. Honestly though right now I couldn't give a fuck. All I'm thinking about is my Indian blanket. Someone in India had the right idea! I love that person.


  1. opindian?!

  2. You are my new food god, I thank my cousin (who oddly looks rather indian with a tan, despite her pasty white mother) for exposing me to you!

  3. Thanks guys! You're awesome!

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