Assume too much and I lose my cool

Aasma Day
Aasma Day
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Don’t try and curry favour with super-hot curry flavour.

Some like it hot … while others most definitely do NOT.



I’m not talking about the weather – which I undeniably do like hot, but the strength of curries.

Now there are many incorrect stereotypes that people hold about certain others.

Blondes are all dizzy and dumb, all tall people must be good at basketball, everyone rich must be stuck up – and anyone who is Asian likes their curries as hot and spicy as possible.

Not I.

I have to confess I am a bit of a wuss when it comes to spicy curries and food crammed with chillies.

While I am not completely averse to spice and am not the type of person who will only touch a korma, I like to be able to taste my food without burning my mouth off and medium is just about the right level for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my curries and Indian and South Asian food in general. After all, I did grow up eating it.

However, I just don’t see the point of completely overwhelming any subtle flavours in food by drowning it with red hot chillies that leave you red faced and sweating. I just don’t see the point of eating food that is too hot as it would just take away all the enjoyment of eating it for me.

And there is no way you would ever get me trying something like a vindaloo. But try telling that to other people.

After clocking that I am Asian, some people just take one glance at me and mistakenly think that I must love my food hot, hot, hot.

I have lost track of the times when I have eaten at an Indian restaurant and when taking my order, the waiter has mis-guidedly assumed that I must like my food extra hot and my medium strength balti or korai has suddenly arrived with the addition of extra chillies.

Meanwhile, Hubby can eat a lot hotter food than me and always look perplexed when I say something is “too hot for me”. But whenever people see us as a couple, they always leap to the conclusion I must be the fire-eating half of the duo.

Even my own parents are guilty of it. Despite 14 years of marriage, every time we head down south to visit them and we tuck into a delicious spread of curries and accompaniments, my mum anxiously hovers around the table and asks Keith: “Nothing’s too hot for you is it?”

Hubby replies that: “No, everything is perfect and absolutely delicious” while I sit there with my tongue hanging out of my mouth gasping: “Water, water!”

Like most mums, my mum is a real feeder and loves nothing more than rustling up mouthwatering meals from scratch and seeing the contented looks on her family’s and guests faces as they eat it.

Visitors to my parents’ home rarely leave without being persuaded to stop for dinner (which is what we call tea down south!) or at the very least having filled up on samosas, pakoras and other treats.

I absolutely love my mum’s cooking – so long as the spice levels are not too hot – and one of the highlights every time we head for a visit to the home where I grew up is knowing I will be able to enjoy some “proper” Indian food rather than the mass produced Anglified dishes served up in most restaurants and takeaways.

Which brings me to the other stereotype that I often fall victim to: People think I can cook curries.

Although I love eating lovingly crafted homecooked fodder, I have to confess I can’t actually cook curries from scratch myself. Any “homecooked” curry in our household either comes out of a jar or is eaten after a ping from the microwave.

Hubby says his colleagues often enviously say: “I bet you get some lovely curries cooked for you at home?” To which he traitrously replies: “Er ... no.”

And my own workmates long ago gave up any hope of me bringing in platters of tasty samosas and pakoras for our annual Jacob’s Join. Not unless they are of the shop bought variety.

It’s not just being Asian which leads some to wrongly presume you can cook.

When it comes to children’s birthdays, many people surmise that just because you are a mum, you will painstakingly bake, decorate and ice your child’s birthday cake to the required theme.

Do they not realise that that’s why God invented Sainsbury’s?