Monday, June 10, 2013
Yesterday, I decided to make a nice little tomato/onion/egg curry, but I didn't have turmeric. It's not exactly common in this part of China. I figured, however, that my curry past probably contained turmeric, so I just kind of doubled the amount of curry paste the recipe called for. (I didn't do it just for the turmeric; I also happen to love the taste of spicy curry.)
The result was fantastic, but enormously too hot for human consumption. I love it! (I tell Ma Lei that if I'm crying while I eat, I'm happy.)
She came in and wanted a taste of what I'd made. I told her it was a little warm, but I guess I sort of forgot that she's not as much a fan of the hot as I am. She tasted it, moved it around in her mouth, pronounced it really delicious — and then the napalm effect began to grow, and grow. She drank some Diet Coke to cut the pain, then left the room. A minute later she came back into my office to hit me on the shoulder really hard.
I said "Hey! That hurt." She pointed to her mouth and said "so does this!"
In culinary terms, I really should have gone to spicy Sichuan, in the far southwest of China, rather than meat-and-potatoes Dalian in the far northeast. They eat a lot of white rice in both places, but for very different reasons. In Sichuan, they eat it to quell the agony of red-pepper fire; in Dalian, they eat it because they think white rice tastes good.