Asia in Italy


Last week here in middle Italy there’s been somewhat of an Asian influence.

First I spent a day making some spicy chapattis. As around these parts it can get difficult to find wholemeal flour let alone authentic chapatti flour, I make mine with a mix of Italian tipo oo and semolina flour. I first tossed some black mustard, coriander and cumin seeds along with a couple of chillies into a dry pan and heated them until the spices began to dance in the pan and perfume the kitchen air. I then ground them and added them to my flour mix before making the chapatti in the traditional way, even if they are often not perfectly circular.

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The following day I received an email telling me that a local bar was staging an evening of Indian food. Locally there’s been several of these events and despite people’s negativity they have proven quite popular with the younger population.

I open my fridge on this particular day and realise I have still got an aubergine that I haven’t used yet, so in keeping with the Indian theme I chop an onion and several garlic cloves and make a couple of jars of Brindjal chutney, which is a perfect snack accompaniment to a warm spicy chapatti.

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The Asian theme continues on throughout the week with my making a hot Thai green curry, obviously there’s a few ingredients that you can’t find in rural Italy, but with a can of coconut milk from inside the kitchen cupboard, some pureed ginger, a couple of cubes of frozen spinach and my imagination it all came together splendidly.

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The following morning, with the kitchen clinging to the Asian aromas still, I turned on the iPod and the first song to shuffle was, Crazy Kiya Re from the Bollywood movie Dhoom2.

This week it’s felt like Abruzzo has been twinned with Delhi and heve we felt the better for this?… You bet we do.

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