In keeping with the ethnic Indian thread, I here present a recipe for Indian food. And, before you ask, the Naga in the recipe refers to chili peppers. This variety is known as Bhut Jolokia in India, but in American parlance is Ghost Pepper. It is reputed to be the very hottest chili pepper in the whole world!
Chicken Naga Curry
(with thanks to the Curry Frenzy web site)
2 Chicken Breasts, diced
1 cup Masala Gravy (recipe is on the web site)
1/4 of an Onion, finely chopped
2 tsp Curry Powder
24 Naga Chilies
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 inches Ginger Root, grated
5 Tb Vegetable Oil
4 Tb Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
1 Tb Coriander Leaves, whole
1) Puree the chilies in a blender (I assume you stem and seed them first) and form into a paste with the curry powder and some of the vegetable oil.
2) Fry the onion in the remaining oil until it begins to look transparent. Add the garlic and ginger, and fry 5 minutes more.
3) Add the chopped chicken and fry until lightly browned.
4) Now add the chili/curry paste and stir for 30 seconds to coat the chicken.
5) Add the gravy, reduce temperature, and cook 20 minutes until chicken is done. Stir occasionally; add water or more gravy if the mixture thickens too much.
6) Serve over rice or with naan bread, sprinkling the whole coriander leaves over the top. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, and enjoy!
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One of the great things about mythology is how it opens a window into the minds and hearts of people in far-away places. The legend of Indra and Vritra is a prime example of this.
Like many pantheons, the deities of Vedic myth reflect a time when people felt at the mercy of nature. For instance, Indra, King of the Gods, is a lord of the sky and rains, and his major weapon is a thunder bolt. This is very similar to Zeus, lord of storms, who is King of the Gods in the Greek myths which are familiar to most of us. Likewise Vritra, the terrible dragon, is a being of malice and chaos familiar to Western thought.
On the other hand, Indra’s advisor in the myth of Vritra is Vishnu — not just a fellow god, but a Supreme God. Vishnu is all knowing, all powerful, alpha and omega. Much like the Christian God of the Bible. To Western eyes it seems strange that Vishnu is supreme, yet Indra is King of the Gods. In our stories, the most powerful one simply has to be the leader.
Further, Vritra is created by Tvashtri, who has designs to overthrow Indra’s rule. But Tvashtri is not a fellow deity — he is a mortal priest who has learned great magic through years of study. For a mortal to conspire against a deity would be unthinkinkable in Western myth. In Greek myth, to keep with my example above, it is always the gods who go out messing with people.
I’m not saying I know what this difference means. Just that it’s a very cool and interesting way to look at the world.
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