Life with Indian neighbours is pure torture. I have 'em on the floor just below me. The thing about Indian families is that just about all of them believe in good home-cooked goodness at every meal. This means that I am tortured about twice a day by the mouth watering smells of dhals and curries that waft from the neighbours' kitchen downstairs into my kitchen... and past that, into my study.
How do you expect me to work when a beguiling composition of exotic spices assault my nostrils and punch right through to my stomach telling it in no uncertain terms that it has been very poorly fed all these years because Petunia cannot cook Indian food.
There is no other more mind boggling cuisine than Indian cuisine, I will tell you that. It is impossible to deconstruct the spices within a curry, let alone guess at the proportions of one spice to another. I have tried so many times and failed as many. Hmmmmmmph!
So, there is just no way to assuage the primeval urge that comes over me at around 6 pm every night. In my mind, I have played out so many scenarios. I have visions of me climbing downstairs from my kitchen to theirs, and making off with the tantalizing dish of I-dunno-what-that-smells-so-good. Oh agony!! I have visions of me ringing on their doorbell and asking for a morsel (not that I would have been contented with a mere morsel). I have visions of befriending the nice Indian lady and plying her with my spaghetti bolognaise, and have her show her gratitude by plying me with yumminess. Except that I can't see how anyone would be grateful for my spaghetti bolognaise (even though it does contain fresh garden herbs)... EVERYONE can make spaghetti bolognaise, no? And if you want pesto sauce or roast chicken, you just need to waltz into Cold Storage and waltz out again. No... there is nothing I can make in my kitchen that can match those creations I imagine those Indian neighbours of mine happily eat up every night.
So nowadays, everywhere I go, I head for the Indian food stall and I still come away dissatisfied because in my mind's mouth, it isn't half as nice as I expect. To really get my fix of Indian food, I need to eat at Kinara's Holland Village. But that also fixes my wallet quite painfully.
So! I am thrilled to discover a great tandoori kitchen at tiny prices near our house - Al-Ameen in Woodgrove Mall. They've a fabulous tandoori oven that makes garlic naan to die for.... and their masala sauce just makes you want to lick the plate.
If you do go there, don't expect the pomp and ceremony of the Maharajah nor the classy ornateness of Kinara. There is no air-conditioning. The waiters do not smile. There is no Indian classical music. But man! The food is good!!