I Dream of Bollywood, or “Oh Wow, Curry!”

How does Bollywood dream, you ask?

Let me tell you. It dreams in vibrant, verdant, unctuous, “holy-hell-that’s hot!” curries, naan and lassis, that is how.

Ladies and Gentleman of the table, I present to you, tonight, an extraordinary feat in culinary entertainment….or as my friend James describes it: “OH WOW…Curry!!!”

Oh Wow!

Jason and I have several favorite restaurants in Okinawa, but at the top of the pile is an Indian joint called “Bollywood Dreams.” Walking in to this second floor corner of Island Depot you are immediately greeted by Ganesh, photos of Bollywood stars and usually the slightly stoic yet friendly owner.  The place, itself, is glitzed out like some cross between a mid-eighties nightclub and an homage to all the fabulous Bollywood actors, all sumptuous and scantily clad, staring at you like you too could be that gorgeous by eating butter chicken.

Butter Chicken.

Oh YES.

Butter Chicken accompanied by Keema!

It is, perhaps, the most addictive substance on earth….at least from Bollywood. My friend Erin actually asked me if they put nicotine in it or something of that nature. I count myself as a good foodie-head, usually able to pick out ingredients from the pro dishes I consume, but Butter Chicken perplexes me. Perhaps that is why I love it so, for I am sure that there are less than 10 ingredients. Suffice to say the butter is ghee, which is Indian clarified butter, which they also smear all over the Naan (Indian flatbread) and makes this a decadent dish. And I can say it is orangish-red in color and tastes like you started making out with an devilish angel! I dunno what that means but you get my drift. It’s sexy, spicy and addictive as all get out!  When you get home, all of a sudden, all you want is more. This is a phenomenon I have witnessed with every person I have taken to Bollywood. I am a curry pusher. What can I say? “Substances like Spice and Salvia and Butter Chicken may seem harmless, but the US government has banned….blah blah.” Kicking a dead horse. You get it, it’s good.

But Bollywood is so much more than a vice-laden opium den for me. It really takes me back. Takes me back to one of my best friends, Reepu, who introduced me to Indian culture when we were the only two non-Catholics at Sacred Heart in 5th grade. It takes me to the Shivakumars, Hari in particular, who was a big old crush of mine! His family and my family were close so we would do so much together…try on saris, go to picnics, and eat! There have been so many Folks from India who have blessed my life and my palate. And loads of masochistic English people, too, because Chicken Tikka Masala is often referred to as “Britain’s true national dish”, notably in a 2002 speech by former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. Yup. I was there on holiday when that happened. Of course we went out to celebrate and I, being a wiseass, ordered Phall, which is the hottest form of curry (invented, again by Brits with something to prove….oooo gonna get shit for that one too!) and contains a various number of hot peppers, including scotch bonnets! And naturally, in my constant growth from little gal to big old lady is the good old Taj Mahal. The Prescott restaurant, not the mausoleum. It changed hands several times but my mother and I never failed to make friends with the owners and I learned so much about Indian cooking, particularly Punjabi, from those experiences.

When I moved to England…well, every time I moved to England, it was as easy as calling a Pizza Hut, to get a good curry. I was really spoiled.

Curry even came in sandwiches in London, which my friend Vic used to bring me for our daily pint fest!

When I moved back to NYC I realized I had been having a love affair with Indian food all my life and suddenly I could find just a scarce and superficial version of the delicacies I adored, for outrageous prices! Where was my Chicken Tikka Masala? Where the Vindaloo? Where, dear Ganesh, WHERE was the bloody chutney??? New York, Flagstaff….a veritable wasteland when it comes to good Indian.

Then I moved to good, old Oki, and guess what? There are tons of Indians living on this island and the coolest of the cool opened Bollywood Dreams. I think, perhaps, we were there opening day, and have been returning ever since. We usually go for lunch, which is a choice of set menus, but the other night we hit up their massive dinner menu and ordered a ton of food that was spectacular.

Today was really super fun though! We brought my friends James and Erin to Bollywood for James’s first curry ever!

James and Erin try out some Kebabs and Curry!

I think I have spoiled him for life. All I heard from him through the entire meal was “Oh WOW!” A good sign, I suspect. We all luxuriated in the warm, happy comfort of good Keema, Tikka, Kebabs, Saag, Vindaloo, Seafood with Coconut, and GIANT slabs of Naan!

Saag, Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken and Kebab!

Chakra beers and white wine flowed freely and we found ourselves giggling through the heat and rice and enjoying every second of our brunch! This, THIS, is what good food is all about. Happy people, hanging out, trying new things, gettin’ a little tipsy and feeling totally, deliciously full, satiated and having a good gander at the Bollywood hotties on the wall and tvs!

Happy Erin!

Erin texted me later saying “Well I’m a total believer that after eating that I could do backflips off a trapeze!” I wouldn’t try it myself. Too much in my tummy. I am, however,  happy to be the ringmaster and invite you all to the Bollywood SHOW!!!! Oh and please go ahead and like them on facebook, because I sure do!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bollywood-Dreams/227086013971431

About tashierags

I love food. I love eating it, I love playing with it, I love growing it, I love having it served to me, I love traveling to discover it and I love all the things that go with it, like wine and conversation, ambiance and entertainment, relaxation, divine inspiration and laughter. I will never be a professional chef. I like to like the act of cooking too much to be angry about having to make it for people I don't know, on a schedule, with the pressure to succeed. I am much happier learning, taking risks, exploring and taking my time in the process. So instead I make it for the people I love. I share it with the people of my choosing and give it as a gift. Lately, it seemed that I was having so many requests and conversations about the food I make and the restaurants I visit that I thought that a blog might be a cool way to discuss the art, luxury, necessity, irreverence, beauty, rebelliousness and spirituality of the thing that keeps us alive and happy.....food.
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5 Responses to I Dream of Bollywood, or “Oh Wow, Curry!”

  1. Erin Riley says:

    I would personally like to thank you for an AMAZING Bollywood experience! I think this is my husband’s new favorite thing, EVER. As well as mine. The paragraph you wrote about how this is what it’s all about… couples getting together with couples…. SO true! Such a perfect soliloquy of the beauty of that meal. 🙂

  2. evan ragsdale says:

    Nice work again daughter dear. Although almost none of the food you talk about is of my taste, your style of writing is . . . so keep it up. It is both intelligent and amusing.

  3. tashierags says:

    Thanks you for the lovely response, darling, and thanks so much for eating together with us! Interestingly enough I used did something really interesting with the leftovers! I cooked them up with some polenta and jalapenos! I’m sure you have already eaten your but next time give it a whirl! It is scrumptious!!!

  4. tashierags says:

    That first reply was meant for Erin! This one is for you, Dad: I think you should go back and read my “Okinawan Taco Revolution” post. That is your kinda food!!! I love you!

  5. Pingback: We PAID for that Laxm-ative!? | Forage

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