Posted in Home Cooking, The Flavors of Asia, The Grocery Shop-a-holic

In Which Curry Becomes Part of an Office Potluck…

It's not quite a barta, but it was pretty good...
It’s not quite a barta, but it was pretty good…

The first time I participated at Office Potluck Friday at work, I was totally askance as to what to bring along.  The basic criteria: enough food to feed a crowd and it has to taste good.

From my experience, curry is always a good bet for feeding crowds.  You can whip it ASAP, it feeds a ton of people, tastes pretty damn good, and is nigh on portable.  Well, that’s Japanese curry, at any rate; the kind you make with roux cubes out of a box.  As it happened, however – oh, catastrophe! – no supermarket within my immediate vicinity  – even the Oriental ones – had any curry roux in stock!  So, let me ask you: what’s a harried cook to do?

Can't make it fresh?  Make it instant.
Can’t make it fresh? Make it instant.

The alternative would be to use spice mixes and instant coconut milk / seasoned coconut cream to start cooking.  Fortunately, McCormick is a regular old standby for such things and one only needs to choose from its range of curry recipe mixes: scathing red, mild green, and gingery yellow.  Knorr, on the other hand, has its ginataang gulay mix – a pre-seasoned coconut milk compound which adds savour and richness to dishes that require coconut milk or cream.

Pack it up, take it out.
Pack it up, take it out.

Throw in some okra, potatoes, eggplant, and cooked chicken, and you’ve got a fairly delicious meal for a hungry crowd.  The end-result is similar to the vegetable curry known as a barta (a combination of okra and eggplant): creamy, spicy, a slightly herbaceous taste showing just how fresh the vegetables are.  Bring on the rice and you, dear reader, are good to go.



Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

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