kaffyr (kaffyr) wrote,

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Dept. of Weird Smells In The Kitchen

Not So Much "Weird" as ... Really Awful

*enters, stage left, bathed in a soft sheen of culinarianistic effort*

Well, perhaps it's just the capsicum. 

Still, I'm almost obscenely pleased with myself for having made my own green Thai curry paste from scratch tonight. It's something I've wanted to do for ages, but haven't had the nerve.

Today, though, BB and I went out to the huge Korean-oriented supermarket in one of our near north Chicago suburbs, known as the H-Mart (no, I have no idea why it's called the H-Mart. I did reject the idea that the H stood for hentai, as my beloved couldn't help but suggest at one point) and picked up the last few remaining ingredients I needed to make the curry paste.

We also stopped in the store's massive food court, where BB enjoyed hot Korean beef soup in a bowl roughly the size of Georgian Bay (I'd recommended it to him from the last time we were there) while I chowed down on humongous Korean pork dumplings.. It was a fantastic Sunday date and set the scene for my cooking adventure when we returned home.

It was, however, an adventure not without a certain frisson of "first circle of hell" olfactory impact.

Why do I say that? Well ... first, I should say what was easy, and completely enjoyable. Mincing the galangal was easy. Chopping all the other items (the garlic, the green pepper, the hot peppers, the onion) was also easy, thanks to the different types of choppers I've collected - hurrah for adaptive technology so that people with bad arms and wrists can still cut stuff up in their kitchens! Grinding the cumin and coriander seeds and roasting them was easy. While there was a temporary crisis after I inadvertently got capsicum all over my upper lip and nose because I was an idiot and forgot to wash my hands after preparing the chilies, the fire on my face eventually died down.

Which left frying up the shrimp paste. And oh, dear, sweet lord in heaven, that shit smells foul.

I opened the newly-purchased bottle of shrimp paste and nearly ran from the kitchen. I thought it had gone bad. Once I'd checked to ensure that the bottle had been securely shut when I bought it, and the paste was, therefore, not rotten, but was supposed to smell like that, I had to take the amount needed for the curry paste and "fry until dry and crumbly."

It was like frying cat food.

My nose quickly gave up and died, so eventually the full brunt of the odor was lost on me. BB, however, who'd been napping in the bedroom, woke up and came out, wondering what on earth had died, cursed us, and gone to hell on the stove.

Not to worry, says I, it's just  fried cat food sauteed shrimp paste. He gave me a look, but was kind enough to stay in the kitchen and chat with me while I completed the paste.

Much to his surprise, and mine, the completed paste smelled fantastic. The cat food rotting gym socks beached minke whale shrimp paste damm it  was completely subsumed into the whole. I can only hope it adds some certain je ne sais quois to that whole. Because, truly, if I could get by without using shrimp paste ever again, I would be a happy curry-cookin' chef. Sadly, I suspect it will turn out to be integral to the taste.

God, I love cooking stuff!

(And no, I didn't get any writing done this weekend. But ... green Thai curry paste! Come on!)

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/219129.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.
Tags: food, home stuff, life in the circus
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