When was the last time I won an award? Can't remember. Story of my life. Above average but never the best! So it was obviously nice to get the Best Curry prize. The best part however, to use the cliche, was the process.
It was the Darden chili/curry cook off where around 18 teams were preparing a variety of chillies and curies. Around 3 gallons was the requirement so we decided to start off a day in advance.
6 pounds of organic chicken breasts, whipped cream, yogurt, milk, spices from the Indian store, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, lime juice, onions and tomato paste - the ingredients were bought on Wednesday afternoon. We prepared the marination paste by mixing yogurt with chili powder, turmeric, salt and lime juice. Mixing it well with the chicken, it was kept in the fridge to be cooked the next day.
We were pressed for time on Thursday so we decided to make the curry on Wednesday itself. A Bollywood playlist was selected, the volume turned high, and in went the chopped onions, tomato paste and the assortment of spices in the largest pan that we had, as the red curry simmered with intermittent tastings and addition of cream, milk and more masala. Later at night, when the curry was done the three of us decided to go out for a few drinks. A friend came to pick us up and as we entered the car the others said - 'Wow, you guys smell of yummy butter chicken.'
The marinated chicken came out of the fridge on Thursday afternoon as we launched phase two of the project. We medium roasted the chicken in the oven before putting the pieces in the curry. The volume had doubled so we split the curry into two containers and set it on low heat. In the meanwhile, the brilliant poster idea - "FINGER LICKERS Present The Great Indian Curry" was conceived. Of course there was a lot of absolutely hilarious and mindless conversation around this which will not be posted here.
The last bit - garnished the curry with coriander leaves and whipped cream, put the containers in the car trunk, drove as slowly as possible and were just in time for the start of the cook off at 6:00PM. By 6:30 PM, we were scraping the bottom for some leftover curry.
Learning to cook and enjoying cooking has been one of the more tangible benefits for me in the last couple of years. No, seriously. To master chefs AA and HW, strong work guys!