The Phuket List

So, have you heard? I figure if I’ve heard, then the rest of the more civilized inhabitants of the earth most certainly have: Saturday is a big day for the planet.

Did you know that? Yes, Saturday marks three weeks of living in San Francisco, which is not-so-monumental-but-still-cool. But what I mean to point out is this: the world is coming to an end on Saturday. For realz. Or at least the beginning of the end will occur; whatever you call it.

I haven’t gotten too excited about it, but since I have this awesome drive to and from work everyday I’ve gotten back into my podcast listening, so now I’m more “in the know”, you know. It’s interesting to see how folks respond to these assertions, how some of us are totally nonchalant while others are totally hardcore. This morning I was listening to “Uhh yeah dude” (UYD), which I highly recommend, and rather than making a “bucket list”, they proposed something a little bit different in light of future events: a “fuck-it list”. Because if the world really is coming to an end soon, we may as well say screw it (or “phuket”, to be P.C.) and go balls to the wall.

Are you still with me?

If you are, I thought I’d share my Phuket List with you. It’s short, because I’ve got shit to do, you see.

  1. Survive a concert of “This Will Destroy You!!” at the Independent with Chris. Check. This is the first of a bazillion shows he’s going to drag me to since this venue is a block from home. Thankfully, I’ll like 90% of them; this fell into the other 10%, minus 3 songs.
  2. Eat chicken tartare at Ippuku in Berkeley. Check (see picture here!). Because if I’m not getting taken up into the sky on Saturday (let’s face it, my chances are slim to none) I may as well start eating all the stuff that could potentially kill me, right?! (also, it tasted awesome. not like salmonella at all. but if you don’t hear from me next week, send a search party for the Wetzels.)
  3. Find a way to get from work to home in 1 hour flat. My morning commute is 1 hour flat, but I can’t seem to get home in less than 1 hour and 10 minutes. I have another shortcut to try out, so this is a work in progress. Plus, it might not matter anyway, right?
  4. Bike through Golden Gate Park. Although, if a major earthquake is happening on Saturday, being on a bike probably isn’t the best idea I’ve come up with this week. Maybe I’ll wait until Sunday and see if I’m still around :).
  5. Make a killer ragù. This is on the list for Friday. I think I can get this squared away lickety split.
  6. Oh, and make something that tastes like real Indian food. Check. I could eat this tomato-based curry dish a thousand more times. Despite it being loaded with onions, which isn’t great for say, dates or being romantic, it’s a lovely weeknight dish.

I think that’s a decent amount of stuff, right? I mean, I could put skydiving or bungee jumping on my list, or going to Italy again, but I’m a little low on time here. I’ll have to remember that for next time one of these big predictions surfaces. If there is a next time, that is. We’ll see what happens, and if this is really the end of the world, as we know it. But right now, I feel fine.  

Dhaba Chicken Curry
adapted from Food & Wine, March 2011; serves 4

time commitment: 40 minutes, 25 of which is active

printable version

I don’t make a lot of Indian food at home, but this is one that will certainly get made again. It’s easy, it’s relatively quick, and it is so. damn. good. Make sure your spices are fresh for maximum flavor, and definitely use the cilantro garnish rather than the scallions you see pictured here. I didn’t have any cilantro and wanted to pretty it up, but the scallions were a bit much with all the other oniony goodness the dish had going on already.

3 onions, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 c canola oil
1 T ground coriander
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground cardamom
1/4 t turmeric
1 c tomato sauce
Four medium-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and fresh-ground pepper
1 c water
2 T chopped cilantro
1 c uncooked basmati rice

In a food processor, chop the onions. Add the garlic and ginger and process until they are finely chopped (and almost watery).

In a medium, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the canola oil. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onion mixture and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the turmeric and tomato sauce and simmer over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook rice according to package instructions. Keep warm.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add them to the casserole. Coat the chicken with the sauce. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, turning a few times, until the chicken is white throughout, about 10 minutes. Season the chicken curry with salt. Transfer the cooked rice, chicken and sauce to a serving bowl. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.

One thought on “The Phuket List

  1. Katherine says:

    I like your word play and word choice in this post very much. 🙂

    I’ll also be making this sometime soon.


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