I have just finished teaching a short cookery course. During the course we decided that the recipe we would cook more than any other is the ultimate reliable simple chicken curry. This keeps happening on the courses I teach. Everyone loves curry, it’s unanimous. I make it at least once a week and recently as a family we have been enjoying curry nights on a Saturday evening in a bid to get the children to love it as much as us parents.
With the addition of the multi layered loveliness of parathas to soak up all the richly spiced gravy and a dollop or two of sweet mango chutney, the children are now accepting of a chicken curry. They are as yet unconvinced about lentils, so the dhal gets pushed to the side of the plate after one spoonful. I need to work on this. But the joy of tucking into a Saturday night curry feels like such an achievement after so many year of trying AND I have noticed I am no longer in need of adding loads of cream and coconut to the curry to make to edible for the kids. Now that’s progress.
Going back to the last cookery lesson, the reason it has stuck in my mind is down to the generosity of one of the learners. A Mauritian lady, a mother to five children. She was kind enough to bring chicken curry to feed us all. Individually packed up in little boxes, still warm and smelling divine. She unpacked this picnic, along with napkins, place-mats, salad and a coconut dessert for the girl who did not eat meat.
This was and is the best curry I have eaten. Do you know why? Simply because this dish was made with a kindness of spirit. By someone who genuinely loves to cook, eat and share good food. A celebration of what a family dish should be, made by someone who cares about what her children eat and feeds them well, teaching her children as she cooks. And what a lesson to learn. If her five children only ever learn how to make this humble chicken curry they have achieved something great in life. A lesson to us all.