A cold winter day in November, 2006
The original title of this recipe was Portuguese Marries Goan Has Affair With Chinese While Cheating With Mexican And Living In Sin With Italian. A nice mouthful. A veritable goulash of words. A cauldron brimming with alphabet soup singing in different tongues. Yet when it comes to food, or more particularly flavour, nothing gets lost in translation. A rush of saliva to the mouth, a tendril of drool running down a chin; a hungry glint in the eyes doesn’t require an interpreter. All it needs is an appetite, an unfussy mien, a clean plate (large, only white; please), clean cutlery and an unabashed ability do an Oliver Twist by word or gesture.
Which is why A Simple Twist Of Fate is a better title. Like love, sex, theft and serendipity, good food, too, is the commingling of different molecules accidentally colliding in a fixed space, madly dancing to a lunatic tune, spinning around wildly with abandon before coming to rest in a heap: in a tray on a rose petal-strewn bed, a wicker-basket in a fallen autumn-leaved bower or a plate (large, only white; please) on a bare-naked wooden table.
The Portuguese sausages were an impulse purchase from a Portuguese bakery that makes simple yet beautiful loaves; long, oval in shape and cleaved in the centre with a dent, the luscious loaf closely resembles a yoni. Isn’t there something about bread being the staff of life? One look at this baby and the line should be changed to bread is the stuff of life. The Goan reichade masala ended up in the Batcave courtesy Ross’s cousin-in-law Bernie. She was making a batch for herself and very thoughtfully made a bit more for us. The rice wine vinegar from Oriental Harvest on Spadina, Chinese grocery store par excellence. The tequila-soaked chilli was my contribution. Owing to have consumed an excessive amount the earlier night, I dropped a chilli into the unfinished remains of a shot glass, which I left to marinate in the fridge. The gusanito powder (salt with crushed tequila worm) travelled all the way from Mexico with Mireia. The spaghetti is an excellent local brand, probably my most favourite brand name in the world: No Name.
They met their fate in a large wok where they made orgiastic love, so to speak, before they ended up locking lips, tongues and palates with the Batcave inmates. It was love at first bite.
1 tbsp canola oil
A dash of sesame oil
2 medium onion, chopped lengthwise
4 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
2 green chillies
6 Portuguese sausages, cut into small pieces
200 gms chicken cut in strips
1 tsp oyster sayce
1 tsp teriyaki sauce
2 tsps Goan reichade masala
Splash of Chinese rice wine vinegar
1 tequila-soaked chilli
Dash of gusanito powder
200 gms spaghetti
Keep a medium flame.
When smoking, add onions. Fry till translucent.
Add garlic. Fry till soft.
Then add sausages.
Fry till edges get brown.
Add chicken strips.
Give them enough time to cook (maybe three minutes)
Stir in sauces: oyster and teriyaki.
Put reichade masala into the mix.
By now, everything is all nice and friendly.
Just the right time to add the rice wine vinegar, tequila-soaked chilli and gusanito powder.
Give it good stir for a few minutes.
Then add boiling water in proportion to the spaghetti (actually Chinese egg noodles would have been a better bet since they cook quickly; the ones I used were Italian [durum wheat], it took some chicanery with additional water to achieve the right texture).
But no worries.
In a while, it will all come together!