Anti-Valentine Edition: Dinner and A Movie

​drink can easily be made at home, click here for a recipe.

Dessert: French Macarons

Every time the character of Chanda is on the screen, I want one of these delicious little devils. I suggest picking up a few macarons from Essence Bakery in Tempe. We went with the Meyer Lemon, Pink Grapefruit, and French Chocolate flavors to complement this meal. While Essence has the best around, you can make them yourself, click here for a recipe.

Get the rundown on the movie and the recipes after the jump.

Film Breakdown:

Written and directed by Anurag Kashyap, Dev D is based on an early twentieth-century novel

​ called Devdas. Note: while many Bollywood films usually contain a blending of genre in order to exact a fantasy love story: star-crossed lovers kept apart by caste or some twist of fate, overly melodramatic declarations of love, fanciful dance sequences that offer a mythologized view of India and induce a heightened level of cheesiness, this one does not. Dev and Paro are childhood sweeties separated when Dev (Abhay Deol) goes to London for school. During their separation, their love grows into an idealized fantasy. When Dev returns he hears rumors about Paro (Mahi Gill) and believes them. Expectedly, this causes problems and leads to a self destructive drug and booze binge. While on the road to self-destruction, he meets a prostitute with a heart: Chanda. For this reviewer, Chanda (played by Kalki Koechlin) steals this entire film. Chanda (like the actress who plays her) is Indian of French descent. Devdas has been remade into many other movies, but none like this one. Kashyap's version is what happens when Bollywood meets Danny Boyle. Literally. Danny Boyle (127 HoursSlumdog Millionaire) is thanked before any other credits appear. Kashyap brings Dev, Paro, and Chanda into the twenty-first century complete with modern music and visually stunning sequences, especially when Dev is drowning himself in vodka and drugs. 

​​The music, story, performance, and flavor of this film makes it the perfect antidote to Valentine saccharine overload. Borrowing narrative devices from Tarantino, the story is broken into three chapters that overlap and tell the story from the perspective of the three major characters. Dev D peels away the myth and fantasy of idealized love and cuts down to the more succulent, pungent, and at times bitter side of love while providing a critique of both Indian culture and its Western influences. (Stream it through Netflix.)

Make it a double feature: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Directed by Danny Boyle. Starring Dev Patel and Frida Pinto, this film took home the Oscar for Best Picture in 2009.


​Popcorn with Curry Butter, Toasted Almonds, and Dried Apricots

Unflavored popped corn
Curry Powder
Raw Almonds
Dried Apricots (cut into slivers or chopped)
Ground Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Slice almonds lengthwise and place on a nonstick cookie sheet. Place in oven at 350 degrees for no more than five minutes. Check them frequently to prevent burning. You want them golden brown.

Melt a half stick of butter and stir in one teaspoon (more or less to taste) of curry powder. Toss the popcorn with the curry butter and then add the toasted almonds and dried apricots.

Ginger infused Vodka with French Lemonade and Mango Nectar

Fresh Ginger

French Lemonade
Mango Nectar

For the Ginger Infused Vodka:
Cut the ginger into long matchsticks and place in a bottle or jar and fill with unflavored vodka. For best results, start this process the night before. Latch top bottles work best and look pretty, but any recycled glass jar or bottle with a lid will do just fine. Let the vodka sit for at least two hours, although the longer it sits the more the ginger flavor will come out.

Once the vodka has absorbed the ginger:
Fill a glass with ice. Pour a shot (or two) of vodka in the glass, add equal parts French Lemonade and Mango Nectar. Garnish with a slice of ginger.

Indian Style Eggplant with Basmati

​This recipe is adapted from the eggplant section of the cookbook A Taste of India by Madhur Jaffrey.

one medium eggplant, cubed​
 one yellow onion, chopped
 half a green pepper, chopped
 three garlic cloves, crushed
 two teaspoons of freshly grated ginger
 one half teaspoon turmeric
 one half teaspoon chili powder (more or less to taste)
 three tomatoes (chopped)
 one half cup water (or more if necessary)
 salt to taste
 vegetable oil for cooking

Heat oil and add onions, cooking over medium high heat until softened and golden in color, 

​then add garlic, green pepper, ginger, chili powder, and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes to get all of the flavors acquainted then add the eggplant. 

Add some of the water and simmer for five minutes and then add tomatoes and salt to taste. Cover and cook for ten minutes or until fully cooked. Serve with basmati rice.

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Michelle Martinez