When Jim died eight years ago, the whole family gathered there for a meal - there must have been close to 20 of us, with Mark's mother front and center, surrounded by all, helping her begin her next phase of life.
After that, we made sure each visit we had with Dorothy included a meal at Bombay, at a table in the glassed porch overlooking Laurel Lake. She harbored pleasant recollections of eating Indian food in Great Britain, where she lived as an 8-year-old in 1929.
Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Our fondest memory of that day was realizing that, while Dorothy, at 93, was indeed getting older and physically more frail, her mind and wit were sharp as ever.
We were in the Impressionist wing of the Clark in front of a Monet painting, when Dorothy started to fiddle, reaching to find her glasses. Mark leaned over her wheelchair and said, "The glasses won't help - it's still Impressionist." It was a joy to hear her laugh at Mark's joke.
Following that busy day, which included a very large lunch, we took Dorothy back to her place and said, "Well, you probably want some rest... we'll see you tomorrow." Without skipping a beat, she said, "I'm fine. I want to go out for dinner. Let's go to the Indian restaurant." So, out to Bombay we went.
That evening, Dorothy ate us under the table – she ate a third of the table’s appetizer, and her entire entrée of Chicken Aam Walla (my favorite) while Mark and I shared a different dish. She also had a pint, while we had wine.
Just weeks ago, Dorothy left this world for her next adventure. It was a very sad time for all, and so hard to say goodbye. That evening, several of Mark’s siblings were able to join us for one more meal at Bombay. We toasted Dorothy, and had the Chicken Aam Walla.
This recipe seems to be one of the restaurant owner’s own inventions, as I find no references to it online or in my Indian cookbooks. Today, I have made my version - it is quite simple and so very flavorful. Browning the onions is important to the flavor of the dish, so don't stop when they are merely caramelized. Bombay uses cream in their version; I opted for coconut milk. Both are good.
1/3 cup oil
3 large onions, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
12 curry leaves
2 mangos, peeled and pulp puréed (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (not light)
2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breast
Heat oil on a large kettle over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until onions are browned.
Add the ginger and curry leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the puréed mango and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until darkened a bit. Add coconut milk, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep at a simmer.
Cut chicken into 1/4-inch strips. Add to simmering sauce and stir well. Bring back to a simmer. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until chicken is just done.