Take out, schmake out

Sure, the Indians make some insanely good takeout. I’ll even go so far as to say that it is the best type of takeout, period. Maybe that’s why the “takeaway curry” is more popular in England than the notion of orthodontics. The reason is probably both a) the complex flavors and textures that make Indian food a guaranteed mouthgasm and b) the fact that very few of us have a freaking tandoor with which to create tandoori chicken and naan, etc. Here’s a good question, actually: why is it that white people seem to be the only type of people who don’t have crazy-ass heat sources for the making of dinner? I mean, the Chinese have their woks resting on burners with such high heat that they’ve evolved not to have facial hair from years of having it singed off. The Mexicans have their underground caverns of heat that can roast a whole goat, tin cans and all, in not enough time for you to escape before being fed goat. The Indians have their giant clay ovens that they slap their bread against, creating a very similar result to possibly chucking a piece of wonderbread onto the surface of the sun. It’s amazing. But Americans? Europeans? Shit no! We’re supposed to be cooking over surfaces that are, at best, “fairly warm.” I understand that the average home cook is more likely to set their home on fire than they are to make an edible foodstuff that isn’t made from Miracle Whip and canned tuna. But that doesn’t mean we should all have to suffer with appliances that can’t cut the mustard.

Fortunately, if you avoid the tandoori-style items, you can create some fairly respectable Indian-esque food at home in very little time. Now, I don’t recommend going out to your Indian friends and being all like “Hey! Mr. Patel, come try this curry!” because they will laugh at your ass and then go home and talk about how ridiculous your attempt was. The good news is that when they make their Indian takeout food to sell to you, they’re making it to pander to the tastes of silly Americans. So even if they won’t respect your effort, YOU will think it tastes just like good takeout.

So, yeah. It was great. But the second I can figure out how to set up a tandoor in my house, it’s oooooonnnn. Maybe I’ll just buy a kiln from the arty-folk store and see about throwing some dough on the sides. At WORST, I’ll come out with a new hobby.
Here we have basmati rice steamed with turmeric and coriander, green peas with butter and garam masala, garlic naan (totally purchased), and a tomato and coconut milk version of chicken curry. Sure, it said “biryani” on the curry paste I found at the expensive-food-store, but I spiced it up a bit so as not to have to feel the shame of a thousand nations.

7 thoughts on “Take out, schmake out”

  1. Tina has acquired specifications for a home-based tandoor, and somehow in a drunken pledge I promised to permit its construction on our premises. If possible, I plan to integrate it into the smokehouse I also drunkenly pledged to help build.

    I should stop drinking if I don’t want these things to happen… but they promise to be too delicious.

    (today’s security word: “unficom.” Sounds like somewhere you’d apply to do data entry work.)

  2. Do you have a garden? If so, Heston Blumenthal’s “More Adventures in Search of Perfection” has details on how to fake up a tandoor with bricks and a barbeque. All his other recipes come out stunning, so I wouldn’t expect this one to be different.

    (We may end up testing this on Kamikaze Cookery at some point).

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