When we lived in Bangladesh, we were good friends with one of the Gurkha Rifle Regiment soldiers assigned to the British High Commission in Dhaka. He told us wonderful stories about his travels and bought us beers and sometimes a little whiskey.
One day he said he had a problem. His niece who lived in the Gurkha mountains in Nepal refused to marry and was becoming a family embarrassment. They couldn’t/wouldn’t force her because she threatened to run into the jungle. “Running into the jungle” was the preferred method of suicide in the Gurkha mountains because the jungle was filled with man eating tigers. I remember taking her to a zoo one day and, unaware that the tigers were fenced, she ran until she was breathless.
Anyway, Kushiman knew that we were looking for house help and thought that his niece coming to us would be the solution to both our problems. We agreed to try her out. It took her two days to walk out of the mountains, one day to ride on her first bus ever to Kathmandu where she was met by her brother who got her a passport and put her on the plane to Dhaka. She was 25 years old but looked like a child, spoke no English and had never used electricity or indoor plumbing. She traveled with us for 15 years. Whenever Padam was upset or angry about something she’d say, “I’m going back to Nepal!” She said it so much over the 15 years that we all started saying it when we were upset or angry :)
A cat strayed into our yard one day in Rwanda, hungry and slightly feral. Of course I fed it, caught it and took it to the vet. It wouldn’t come into the house but lived in the yard, allowing us to pet it from time to time. The problem with this cat was that it was a serial kitten maker and just had the kittens, abandoned them and went out to make more. It was up to us to feed them and eventually find homes for them. After the third litter, I discussed this problem with my husband and he said that he would figure out an humane solution.
About a week later, when I came home from work, Jade was very upset because she couldn’t find the cat. When she asked her father about it, he told her that he had taken the cat to a nice place where it would be happier.
Jade: Yes Papa, but where did you take it?
There were some French supermarket duck legs in the freezer and potatoes in the bin.
Important Note: If you cover the baking pan with aluminum foil, be sure to put a cookie sheet or something underneath in case some of the sauce bubbles out. You don’t want to alienate your stove caregiver. He/she could absolutely fall out of love and refuse to clean a curry caked stove. I am always careful with and sensitive to my stove caregiver and sometimes I make dishes with high fructose corn syrup and GMO products from the commissary to delight him :)
Duck Leg and Potato Curry
4 enormous duck legs, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 enormous onions, coarsely chopped
6 enormous garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp dried curry leaves
6 tablets of curry, medium hot (S&B), chopped
4 cups chicken broth
5-6 large potatoes, quartered
Heat a skillet and brown the duck legs, remove and set aside. Remove all but 2 tbsp of the duck fat, add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook until tan brown. Add the curry leaves and curry tablets and cook, stirring, until the tablets melt. Add the chicken broth and simmer until it starts to thicken.
Place the potatoes in a baking dish with a cover or use aluminum foil. Place the duck legs on top of the potatoes and pour the curry sauce over all, cover and bake in a 375 F oven for about 1 1/2 hour.
Beverage suggestion: Cote du Rhone or beer