The Sister sent me a DVD for my birthday, which turned out to be another one of the best presents I’ve ever had. It’s been a good birthday for that! She’d filmed friends and family back home giving me a birthday message, and talking about childhood memories, growing up, random drinking stories, that sort of thing. I laughed and I cried!
One story that made me laugh was the Chicken Pakora incident. When The Sister and I were both living in Glasgow, there was a little Indian food takeaway place between the subway and my apartment – both an excellent and terrible position for such an establishment, as it meant that it was very convenient to enjoy Indian food as soon as I arrived home, and also that it was very convenient to enjoy Indian food as soon as I arrived home. Y’know?
Anyway, my favourite thing from the shop – especially as a post-pub snack – was the chicken pakora with spicy sauce. One fine evening, some of us were heading back to my place for a few drinks and a sing-song (no doubt) after an afternoon described by The Sister on my DVD as follows:
“I think it was something to do with Guinness… (puzzled look of far-off wonderment)… we had big Guinness hats on, I remember. I don’t know why… (nose wrinkled in confusion as if trying to understand this vague and distorted memory for the first time)… I think you just had to drink a lot of Guinness to get a Guinness hat. I don’t even think it was St. Paddy’s Day.”
The Sister is quite the storyteller. ;) So, unable to pass the takeaway place with its impossibly alluring exotic aromas, we went in and bought lots of unhealthy food, including the obligatory chicken pakora. Back in my apartment, the containers were opened and strewn about the table, the Beatles were put on the stereo, and everyone was cheerfully chatting and digging into the grub.
As I took my first bite of pakora, I felt an unpleasant sensation. Instead of making a heavenly crispy sound as I bit through the batter, it made more of a sludgy noise. And instead of my teeth biting through to steaming hot, tender chicken, they met hard icy coldness. Yes, the chicken pakora was, in fact, still in a semi-frozen rather than deep-fried condition.
I spat it out immediately, with quite a lot of dramatic flapping of my hands and clutching at my throat. The Sister looked at me, understandably concerned, being on her fourth or fifth bite of pakora herself. What’s wrong?
It’s not cooked! It’s raw! It’s still half-frozen! I gurgled hysterically, my Guinness hat sliding off my head as I continued to spit out air. The Sister was panic-stricken. I’ve already eaten loads! she howled, joining me in the spitting and flailing around. I asked her why on Earth she had just continued to eat half-frozen chicken, and it turned out that she’d never had chicken pakora before. I thought that’s what it was supposed to taste like! she wailed, before promptly running to the bathroom, where she remained for quite some time.
I have never eaten chicken pakora since that day, about a decade ago. Vegetable pakora all the way. You can’t give up entirely on pakora just because of one traumatic raw chicken incident! I imagine I steered clear of Indian food for at least a few weeks afterwards, though…