A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What I Had for Lunch Today: Masaman Curry

Cordelia came to visit today, and requested this dish. Masaman curry is Thai, a corruption of "Musalman," or Muslim, curry. Muslims aren't typically vegetarian, and the original dish is made with meat, but tofu is a common variation in Thailand.

I suppose this is complicated enough to make if you do it completely from scratch, but I use a can of masaman curry paste purchased from Tran's in Hadley, Mass. It costs 89 cents and it's delicious. I mix it with a can of coconut milk, add an onion cut into eighths, a couple of carrots and a couple of good-sized potatotes cut into chunks, and a 14-ounce package of tofu cut into cubes. Before throwing them into the pot, I nuke the carrots and potatoes till they're nearly cooked, and I deep-fry the tofu in my little Fry-daddy. Let the whole business simmer a bit and serve over jasmine rice. And that's it.

The carrots aren't standard, but the first time I ever ate masaman curry, it had carrots in it, and I liked them. My kids are crazy about carrots and fight over them in soup, so now I never leave them out of this dish, either.

The brand of curry paste I use is Maesri. It contains garlic, sugar, soybean oil, dried red chilies, tamarind juice, shallot, salt, lemon grass, coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, lesser galanga, cloves, Kaffir lime, galangal, and citric acid.

Cordelia is petite, but she eats like a lumberjack, so I added some broccoli, steamed and then tossed in a hot pan with olive oil, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice, as well as some Brussels sprouts, microwaved (you could steam or boil), sliced in half, and finished in a hot pan with "butter." Cooked this way, sprouts are bright green and have a sweet, nutty flavor. Even people who think they loathe Brussels sprouts usually love them.

Beer would probably be good with this meal, if you liked beer, which I don't. So I had homemade ginger ale instead.

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