The Last Stand of the Thuggees
Friday 24/12/2004 - Christmas Eve
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Diary and Notes
Gunga Bhaji writhed in a vain attempt to free himself from the tight bonds around his wrists. He was tied fast to a tall pole in a deep dark pit, the thuggee acolytes were gathered around the top looking down on him, their chants echoed about his ears. "Cu-ree, cu-ree."
Slowly the chanting ceased and a booming voice called out from above, "All who defile the temple shall be destroyed." It was the high priest Barfi Kulfi, "All who make cu-ree for the unbelievers shall be destroyed." The acolytes responded with a chant of "Cu-ree."
"Release the murghi masalam." And with these words an iron gate in front of Gunga raised and from far down a tunnel the petrifying sound of the demon creature could be heard.
"Cu-ree." Came the haunting chant, "Cu-ree." as the giant chicken headed monster closed in for the kill. Gunga held his breath against the putrifying garlic stench of the beast and prayed to vishnu for his undying soul.
The monster loomed closer, its spicy breath, hot on Gunga's face. Its beak open ready for the kill. It sniffed, pulled back and lunged... Suddenly a rifle crack erupted from the shadows and the monster fell flat on the ground. More shots exploded through the gloom and panic took hold of the thuggee warriors. Caruthers and Binky-Fforbs-Snodden had come as gunga knew they would, he was saved!
And so (happily) ends my Christmas curry extravaganza. Another day of spicy Indian food to boost my defenses against the roast potatoes and haunches of meat that are to come. Today's was an old school classic. One of those dishes that used to be the mainstay of curry houses up and down the country, back when we were nippers and our fathers ate meat and two veg in greasy cafes. It's a simple dish but with plenty of marinading is very tasty. For a Friday night, christmas eve dinner, I can't think of anything better. If only I could convince people to eat like this on Christmas day too, I'd be a happy chappy indeed.
Battenburg. Need I say more?
Marinade: Yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, garam masala.
Murghi Masalam: Chicken, ghee, curry sauce, garam masala, single cream, flaked almonds, fresh coriander.
Skin the chicken and cut into joints. Mince quite a lot of fresh garlic and mix with some yoghurt, lemon juice and loads of garam masala. Rub over the chicken and leave overnight in the fridge.
To make the curry, fry the chicken portions in a little ghee for a few minutes, then pour over some home made curry sauce and add a lot of garam masala. Simmer for about 40 mins. Before serving, stir in some fresh cream, a handful of flaked almonds and some more garam masala. Serve with some fresh coriander.