Halloween Weekend in Tbilisi: Saturday

So, some of my TLG friends up here in Gldani decided to throw a Halloween party at my house. The plan was to have everyone dress up, and they’d handle the specifics. I told a bunch of people about this event, and promised them details to come.

Fastforward to Saturday morning. I haven’t heard from the people who are supposedly throwing this party, so I call to find out the deal. Turns out their friend has been hospitalized – ouch! They’re not sure if they’re going to be able to party or not. I decide to rally and throw the party anyway, since I’d already generated some interest, except I tossed the costume idea since I actually hate dressing up for Halloween. Instead, I made curry.

I have been holding off on doing curry until I could get all the right ingredients together – lamb, ginger, and certain other things have presented various issues. I don’t think ginger – as in, the fresh root – is really available here, although today I plan to hit the ge-mart at Vagzlis Moedani and see if they have any there. As for lamb, I have to ask around for a butcher that can be trusted, and learn how to say lamb.

But last night I was feeling whimsical and so I just went down to the local Populi (a Georgian supermarket chain) and filled up a basket with whatever ingredients I could find. This ended up being, for spices: some coriander, hops spice, red pepper, and what I believe is turmeric and paprika. Vegetables: fresh onions, canned tomatoes, a head of garlic. Meat: some kind of cubed meat they were selling for 11.5 lari per kilo. I bought a kilo. In retrospect I think the meat was beef, and the cut was fairly tough. And of course, yogurt – although they didn’t seem to have any actual yogurt, so I went with a Dannon pineapple flavored yogurt – I felt pineapple would upset the flavor much less than strawberry or blueberry, and I appear to have been right, since the curry didn’t taste fruity at all. I sauteed the onions in a mixture of olive and sunflower oil, then added the tomatoes, spices, Heinz curry sauce, and yogurt, simmered this, added garlic, added meat. Added a bunch of salt. Simmered for an hour and a half, and I ended up with a nice thick pasty reduced curry. As I said, the meat was pretty tough – I imagine it was flank steak or something – but the curry itself was delicious. It went over very well among the guests.

Since this was an improvised curry, I didn’t bother with exact proportions – It was one large whole onion, one can of peeled tomatoes, about eight cloves of garlic, one kilo of beef, one small container of yogurt, a dollop of curry sauce, and about a third of a cup of spices. I plan to make a curry next week and I’ll post the complete recipe including measurements (but I plan to have fresh tomatoes and herbs for this one).

So, as for the guests: we ended up having about fifteen people over. The original party planners didn’t make it, but on the bright side it seems their friend is now okay. Some people brought over some beer and wine. We served beer, wine, persimmons from the trees outside, and my curry. We sat in a big circle and talked about various stuff. Some people mingled in the kitchen or went outside for a smoke break. Everyone got along and there was no drama.

People mostly arrived around 8pm, and left around 11:45. People were envious of our house. I met two people at Akhmetelis and took them on the marshutka. Their response was predictable: our marshutka path is sketchy. Nothing I can do about it, but we happen to live on a dark narrow somewhat winding street that is only intermittently paved. It’s very safe, it just looks a little scary.

I also spoke to some of the guests about a plan I’ve been kicking around to have bikram once a week at my place. I think I’ve got enough heating power to bring the living room up to about 90, but we’ll see how it goes. Anyway, there’s some interest in this plan, and I think it will be fun. I could certainly use the exercise.

After the house party, people apparently went to a number of late-night events at various bars and clubs around the city. It seems that with all the expats in Georgia, Halloween weekend in Tbilisi is big. I certainly enjoyed it.

***************

“Advanced” Bikram – by “advanced” they mean “supernatural,” in other words, I can do precisely zero of these poses:

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3 Responses to Halloween Weekend in Tbilisi: Saturday

  1. Maryam says:

    I wouldn’t be too bothered by lack of fresh ginger, Neal. It’s not standard in most curries and for me, ones that have ginger are marked.

    Also, to soften the meat, you can totally just use meat tenderizer. Or you can soak it in the yogurt. Or you can do what I would generally do, which is to cook it until the meat is done. It’s a bit complicated with Indian stages of cooking to expound, but tough meat will break down with time. Or do as they do in India and pressure cook or boil it first.

  2. pasumonok says:

    I know an herb seller that as almost everything. He is located at Vagzlis bazroba

  3. salome says:

    Ginger fresh is available at Goodwill usually and also in the market. the Georgian word for it is Kocha (კოჭა).
    Also, if you want fresh Indian food – great curry, check out Little India on Kandelaki street. You can see the reviews on my blog. you can also find the words for most spices in all kinds of languages there.
    i’m really sorry your experiences here so far are a bit unhappy (as it sounds from your posts) and hope it gets better. You just need to stay positive, make more Georgian friends and explore a bit out of Gldani too 🙂

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