Being neighbourly - dinner with a Pakistani family

While I enjoy eating at a restaurant, nothing beats a home cooked meal. I had the good fortune of being invited for dinner by my neighbour and his family. After casual encounters in which we discussed Jaguars (cars not animals), cricket ( of course ) and jobs in the U.A.E. we took it to the next level.

I love South Asian food very much. The almost careless abandonment of rules when it comes to spices is something I enjoy. 'Spicy' does not simply mean 'hot'. That would be an injustice to cuisine from this part of the world. There are many subtle variations as one scoops a bit of curry and eats it. Over my years in the Middle East I have eaten at numerous Indian and Pakistani restaurants, but for the life of me I cannot remember the names. As my education with food continues, I hope to be able to write in my next post when I have a meal with them, the exact names!

Potato cakes.

Chicken and ginger curry.

Rice with butter, peas and corn.

Fish and chili curry on the left and beef curry on the right, 

The highlight for me whenever I have a meal with a family from Pakistan or India, is the warmth of the whole evening. There is something incomparable about it. This does not mean the food is not worth mentioning. On the contrary. We had a beautiful fish curry with green chili. There was also a light chicken curry as well as beef and ginger curry. When I asked my host about there usual dinners, he said they normally have just one dish. It was this that took me back to Henan,  in central China where I lived between 2003 and 2005. The people I encountered there were the warmest I have known in my life. It is a feeling of being being unworthy. Unworthy that a neighbour could deem the evening so special that such a  feast is laid out.

It was a fantastic evening of sharing family stories, a bit of comfortable chit chat and a promise of a reciprocal visit.