Asha’s Chicken Maqlubah

Circa sometime then and now!
I have eaten this dish way way before I moved to Dubai/the Middle East. Asha’s version of maqlubah is rice-y, spicy and so much much more nice-y than the original version, which, to put it mildly, is mild.

An interesting addition to Asha’s Chicken Maqlubah is beer. Not to the dish. But to the dishee. Cold. And in plenty. Quaff enough to sink below the Plimsoll line and when the vessel bearing Chicken Maqlubah heaves into sight, forks ahoy!

After those beers, and the meal, which always ends up with seconds and thirds (beer too! Toot toot!!), one’s mental faculties have long raised the white flag, switched off the lights, gone fishing.

Incoherence is the order of the day. As is a nice long nap.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 kg chicken

3 brinjals (the fat, round ones),

1 cauliflower (large)

3-4 large onions

3 large tomatoes

Rice (long-grained basmati; a mug of)

The usual mix of eclectic indian spices (basically, go with your gut)

 

HOW TO

Cut the chicken into largish portions.

Wash and marinate in ginger-garlic paste for at least a couple of hours.

Cut brinjals into fat round slices and rub in salt, haldi and red chilli powder all over.

Shallow fry till semi-cooked. slightly raw is good.

Similar treatment to cauliflower; cut in big chunks.

Set both aside.

In a large chatty, add finely sliced onions. Fry ’em.

When they turn transluscent, add chopped tomatoes.

Once the onions and tomatoes are a fine mash, add haldi, red chilli powder,garam masala powder (and if by now u r on ur 4th beer, any other spice that seems attractive; the recipe owner’s words represented as is; as is in the entire How To).

While the spices fry, wash the rice.

Add the chicken and salt and mix well with contents of chatty.

Then add enough water to just about cover the chicken. Cover the chatty and leave to cook (keep it for 15mins till half done).

Meanwhile, prepare a salad: Beat some dahi, chop some cucumbers (with skin) and pineapple. Mix along with a  sprinkling of salt and chaat masala (if you  can’t find the latter, add red chilli powder, a smattering). Bung in fridge to cool.

Chicken should be semi-done by now.

Layer the rice, brinjals and cauliflowers, and add water to just cover the whole mess.

Cook on a slow fire periodically checking to see if water has evaporated (time it with when your drink needs replenishing).

Once done, henjoy!

The Music Snob


Circa 2007

Generally, most snobs are assholes. Correction: All snobs are assholes. I hate the breed. But it’s quite difficult to go ape-shit when a person gets his snob on about types of tree bark or belly button fluff or the mating habits of Bufo periglenes. But put on a Toad the Wet Sprocket CD in a roomful of people, and listen carefully. Four out of ten will cock their heads, two will smile in appreciation, three won’t give a damn (they’re doing better things like getting sozzled or schmoozing that chick with the awesome rack) and one will wince, grimace, twitch like a bitch and say, ‘My God, who on earth listens to this crap; Toad the Wet Sprocket is so passé.’

Voila! The music snob.

He’s the bloke* who comes to your home, gives the music currently playing the raised eyebrow, rushes to the CD rack, rifles through your collection, selects one after much hemming and hawing, and changes the music, for Christ’s sake.

He’s the bloke who collars the airtime at a party. Expounding to all and sundry (actually, only poor old you since everyone else is giving him a wide berth) about the song the room is rocking to. Giving it the thumb north or south. Recounting minutiae about the band.  Doing everything but listening. Worse, his droning monologue drowns out the music.

He’s the bloke you’ve sat with in a car at least once in your life. He slips in a tape/CD and the song is really kickass. When you enquire – ‘Who’s the band?’ – you’re greeted with this wall of silence. He’s giving you that what-planet-do-you-live-on? look. He makes you feel like the most pathetic, sorry-assed feller that ever lived. Then he puts his larynx into gear and drives you round the bend.

He’s the bloke who listens to new and upcoming bands; bands that cater to a select sub-culture. For some reason, the bloke chooses to act like an archway to this underground music. Discriminately sharing the music on a need-to-listen basis. Hoarding it like a black marketeer; like a Scrooge of Sound; like a 40-year old virgin in Hollywood. But the moment said group’s music becomes the toast of the charts, the bloke drops the band like a sizzling spud. ‘Too commercial,’ he moans. ‘They sold out,’ he whinges. Right. Like the band got into rock ‘n’ roll just for kicks since the income from their day jobs is all they need to get by in life.

He’s the bloke who sneers at ABBA.

Now most folks who know me know I’m an easygoing kind of guy. With a live and let shit fly attitude. But there are times, when it has to be hammer time. Buster, if I’m in the vicinity when I hear you flip ABBA the verbal bird, I’m going to do a Bonzo Bonham on your skull with a baseball bat. By the end of it, the only music you’re going to hear is ‘Taps.’ Here’s some news for you. Most probably your mammy and pappy got it on with Knowing Me, Knowing You. It was ABBA who brought you into the world. Not Him. So don’t knock the music that ushered in your disagreeable ass on to terra firma, Mr. Fucking Music Snob.

When you diss ABBA, you diss my growing years. Happy days of family parties and shandy and caramel custard and shaking my wee rump to Does Your Mother Know. Awkward days of enviously watching older male cousins waltz (the term we on-the-cusp-of-pubescence lads used was close-dance as in – Look at that bloody Louis close dance with that chick, man) to Chiquitita. The glorious day when I got my first, good feel of breast, close-dancing to Dancing Queen.

Bastard.

But still, I know your type. You’re not one to pipe down ever. You are going to come home someday, scan my music rack and let loose a snotty opinion. But I will have Dancing Queen on full tilt, full-on, full throttle bouncing off the walls. So FUCK THAT. I can’t hear you anyway.

* I might be wrong but guys are more prone to music snobbery than women.