Ode to Babuji by Maya Mathur

When I think of my father, I think of:  

– his preference of watching the television on silent 

– his love of golf and wine 

– his heartwarming chicken curry. 

It’s the one dish I’ll miss the most when I move away from home, and the one that I’ll  probably fail at recreating when I miss him.  

I’ve always wanted to visit India. Sadly, I have never been able to go. I’ve been lucky  enough to live vicariously through the stories of my Indian father— from the alcohol  poisoning he got when stealing his father’s vodka and replacing it with water (my  brother following in his footsteps years later) to attending school in Shimla, where he  would pick apples in the orchards with his friends, the trees laden with orchard mice. 

Sometimes I wish I knew my father when he was younger, as most children do with  their parents as they grow older. Hopefully, we’d be best friends. He would most  definitely annoy the hell out of me, but I would give anything to know intimately who my  dad was before he was my dad. He can paint the picture with tales of his childhood  mischief and university girlfriends who made him banana cream pie, but I’ll always  yearn to actually share those moments with him.  

My dad is easily one of my best friends. We may not agree on everything and I  definitely won’t always listen to his advice, but he’s someone I look up to and hope to  be like one day. His chicken curry will always remind me of him, of home. I’ll never feel guilty for stuffing my face full when I’m lucky enough to have a warm bowl of curry in front of me.

Achar Gosht 


  • 2 lbs. of skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • Ginger, minced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Tomato puree
  • 1 tsp of ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tbsp of curry powder 
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt 
  • 2 green chilies 


1. Clean the chicken and cut it into strips or cubes.

2. Dice the onion and sauté in a medium pot or dutch oven until lightly brown. 3. Add ginger and garlic. Stir. 

4. Add curry powder, turmeric, and lemon juice. 

5. Add the chicken and mix thoroughly. 

6. As you let it simmer, add plain yogurt and garam masala. Mix and cover for 10  minutes.  

7. Continue to mix and let simmer for another 10 minutes.  

8. Uncover and keep on low heat. 

9. Slice the green chilies down the middle. Sprinkle curry powder in the crevice and  place over simmering chicken curry. 

10. Serve with basmati rice and enjoy!

Maya is an Indian, Chinese and Italian-American freelance writer and editor based in Honolulu. When she’s not writing, she’s constantly on the search for a new book or can be found taking photos of her beautiful friends. Her other hobbies include reading the New Yorker in bed, attempting to paint bread and cheese and watching foreign films.

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