My condo in Charlottesville was on first floor. Directly below me lived Mia. Her parents had shifted from Malaysia. Mia had married a white American, and had two adorable twin boys, who were two years old. I could see the two boys racing their cars on the sidewalk from my sitting area. They would be watched either by their father, or mother.
Mia’s mother still dressed in a Malaysian dress when she would come to call. She would be talking loudly in her native tongue. In those days I wasn’t friends with Mia, so I was quite confused as to whether the people down below could speak English. That cleared up when I met Mia in the local mosque. Her husband had converted to Islam from Christianity. Mia came regularly to the mosque, and when I would climb the stairs to my condo, I could hear the Quranic verses being played in her home.
During the Ramadan period I had there, she sent me a couple of times a Malay dish for Iftari. The filling was mouth watering. It was chicken, and vegetables. I loved it, and wanted to know the recipe. There never came a time when I could learn it from her. When Son came for me after his divorce, and asked me to shift back to Houston to live with him, I said good bye to my neighborhood.
Yesterday it was quite by chance, I came upon the recipe, and learnt the name (I didn’t even know the name) of the dish I liked. It’s Chinese by origin. The different countries around China have adapted it to their own liking. My Afghan neighbors next door in home country had their own version which was uncooked. I never liked it, but never had the gumption to admit. It would have been terribly rude, and I can never be a rude person. Every time they sent me, I was forced to sing platitudes.
Insha’Allah I will be trying my new found recipe after a day, or two. Let’s see how my version comes out.