Posted on | April 15, 2008 | 36 Comments |
This is a two part post with the two parts having no connection to each other. I am too jet-lagged and sleepy to come up with some twisted way of joining the two as I sometimes do. So feel free to skip the first part and jump to the recipe directly. Sorry, but I must rant!
I am jinxed when it comes to air travel. Really, I am not exaggerating! Anything that can go wrong on a trip (apart from the obvious deadly ones of course) has happened to me, at least that is what I think until the next thing goes wrong! Siv, who travels about five times more than me normally, has very uneventful journeys, unless he is with me. I don’t remember many trips in my life where things were just normal. This last India trip was no different. We used our Northwest miles to book a free trip, which was so not worth it!
It started with Continental airlines failing to find Siv’s reservation for the first leg of our trip since Northwest forgot to send the details over to them!!! How does that even happen, doesn’t it all just happen via some automated process??? We missed the flight while they were trying to sort this out. Continental very generously offered to put us on an evening flight, where we would have to go to NY, stay a night and take the next day’s flight from there to Mumbai. A very angry phone call to NWA fixed it immediately, they put us on a direct SEA-BOM flight, which was an awesome route.
But NWA again forgot to inform Continental about the change in the itinerary. So as far as Continental was concerned, we were no-shows for their flight, which meant we were still in Seattle, so our return trip from BOM-SEA was automatically canceled. Sure, they didn’t inform NW either, so when I reconfirmed our reservations on nwa.com everything seemed just fine. Somehow I sensed something might go wrong, so I checked Continental website for our trip details and found the mistake in time. Continental obviously couldn’t help me, because the tickets were booked through Northwest! Northwest conveniently doesn’t have any local numbers in India, and I had to talk to their customer service in the US. It finally took me three hours of international talk time- mostly hold time – with Northwest customer service to get it fixed. Every time I called, they would forget to do something, and I had to call back and talk to a brand new person who would shamelessly blame the previous agent and of course Continental airlines for the mistake.
I was planning to write a long e-mail to Northwest about the whole experience, but I know that they will just send me some NW flight coupons to make up for this, which means I will have to fly Northwest again to use those up. So I am not sure if I should even write that letter!
The icing on the #$%^ cake was when we tried to get seats together on the last flight segment on Alaska air. We had seats 6E and 10D. But when they tried to find us seats together, they somehow managed to lose 10D, and got us 30D instead and no seats together. I gave up my 6E to get the 30E, just so that I have a shoulder to sleep on for the six hour flight. 30 is the last row of the flight, which meant our seats were right in front of the toilet. I was sitting so close to the loo, if someone kept the door open I could fall into it in my sleep! On a six hour flight I think about 90% of the passengers would use the toilet at least once, and after about three hours the smell got so unbearable in that area. I used up one very expensive bottle of perfume as an air freshener just to keep myself from throwing up. And the worse was when occasionally a queue formed in front of the loo and people thought it was okay to just lean on my seat or stand right in front of me with their rear ends on my eye level! Seriously, so many times I opened my eyes to see an ass just inches away from my nose!
It really was the flight from hell!
As I said before the story has nothing to do with the recipe. We got back yesterday and after all the crappy airline food, we were in the mood for some home cooked meal, and a quick peek at the blogging events showed me that today is the last day for RCI Bengal. I pretty much doubled the number of my cookbook collection this trip, I picked up a bunch of $2 pocket cookbooks on various regional Indian cuisines among others, and luckily there was one on Bengali cuisine as well.
This easy breezy chicken curry recipe is from this book called Bengali Kitchen by Sujit Bose. I more or less stuck to the original recipe, except for the addition of Panch Phoron. This recipe didn’t call for it, but another chicken curry recipe in this book did. I badly wanted to use the Panch Phoron that Musical sent me, it could only add to the authenticity right?
- 1.5 lb Chicken cut into medium pieces
- 1 tbsp oil (original recipe calls for ghee)
- 2 tsp panch phoron
- 1.5 cups chopped onions
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 2 cloves
- 2 black cardamoms
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp red chili powder
- 1 cup hot water
- salt to taste
Heat the oil or butter in a large pan. Add the panch phoran and saute for a few seconds.
Add the onions and stir till it becomes soft.
Add the ginger and garlic pastes, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon powder. Saute for a few seconds.
Add the chicken pieces and mix well. Cook on high heat for about 10-12 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add the spice powders and mix well. Saute for a minute or so till the spices start to brown. Add the tomato pieces and mix well. Add a cup of hot water and bring to a boil.
Cook covered for about 7-8 minutes or till then chicken pieces and tender. Uncover and cook on high till the gravy is thick.
Serve hot with rice or chapatis, we had it with idiyappam (steamed rice noodles or string hoppers), not a classic Bengali combination, but still was delicious.