"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Monday, 25 April 2011

what you learn when working with anusha............

1.   religion

anusha is indian - hindu (and don't you dare confuse that with any other type).  i have been thinking of her this weekend because the first thing i heard on the radio yesterday morning was that sai baba had died.  before this would have meant absolutely nothing to me but since anusha visited india a couple of years ago i was fascinated with her whole trip and the pilgrimage of sorts which she took to the temple of sai baba.

he was an indian guru, spiritual teacher and educator.  when anusha and her mom were in india they visited his ashram, prashanti nilayam.  i suppose sai baba dying is a bit like how we will all feel when madiba dies.

2.  cooking

besides learning lots about the hindu religion i also benefit from her curry cooking expertise.  she has taught me to make the most divine butter chicken, she knows where to buy the correct spices and taught me how to make breyani the indian way (it is not just fried rice with lentils and bit of lamb or chicken added cooked on a pan on top of the oven).  there is a whole ritual involved in layering the ingredients, using buttermilk and then baking it in the oven.  her butter chicken though is awesome.  matthew was home for the weekend (left early yesterday morning) and he requested the butter chicken for the family dinner on friday night.  here is the recipe....

1kg chicken fillet
1 onion chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tin of ideal milk - (i have also used greek yogurt instead)
2 tablespoons garlic
3 tablespoons butter chicken spice (from the curry pot on lansdowne road)
¼ cup ground almonds (optional) - (a must)
1 large tin tomato puree
1 small tin tomato paste
60g butter
Salt to taste
Cut chicken into cubes
Liquidize the following:
3 tablespoons butter chicken spice
Tomato puree
Ground Almonds (optional)
Fry the onion in the butter.  Add cubed chicken and cook until sealed.
Dish out into a bowl and add the left over margarine/butter to liquidizer and blend of 30 seconds.
Place the pot back onto the stove and add the liquidized ingredients and cook for 10 minutes on moderate heat.  Add Ideal milk and bring to a slow boil.  Add the tomato paste and once thickening; add the chicken keeping it on low heat
Stir, then and sprinkle with course black pepper and allow simmering for ± 15 minutes.
Serve with basmati rice or roti

3.  how to be "tough"

in our very small legal office anusha runs the collection department.  she has been away for the week so our office has been extremely quiet and peaceful (actually too quiet and peaceful).  we have interleading offices and to hear her on the telephone to debtors is quite something to behold-

anusha - "so, i need R2 000 from you by friday, no excuses.  if it is not in our bank account i will get the sheriff to remove your goods, but - no, i am not listening to any more excuses and yes, i am sorry that your mother is really sick but we will remove all the furniture on friday if you don't pay (mother's sick-bed too)"

4.   how to be less "tough"

sometimes she does weaken but that is usually only when they have advised her of a service that they can offer to her (and therefore to us as well) -  "oh, so you make built in cupboards?" "you sell russell hobbs appliances?  i am looking for a stick blender" "you sell fire wood? how much? that is good, please can you deliver a load to our office"  she can strike a bargain like no-one else.

5.    how to manage your husband according to anusha

feed him well and he will put your toothpaste on your toothbrush for you and, in winter, run your car with the heater on to warm it up for you 10 minutes before you leave the house – oh – and as you run out of the house hand you a lunchbox with chopped cucumber, fruit and yogurt!!!

i do not know how she gets point 5 right – must be some secret ingredient in her magical spices.  come on anusha, share!!

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