Nobody goes to a Rolling Stones concert alone. Anywhere in the universe.
Especially when they are playing in Bangalore, India.My city.
Even today as I write, in the middle of August 2019, while they are playing to filled stadiums and arenas in the United States, just a week after Mick Jagger’s valve replacement.
The combined age of the Rolling Stones now is older than the era of British rule in India.
When they were scheduled to hit India, the Kollam boys were too occupied in their own ways, in spite of my frantic calls.
Even The Rolling Stones did not matter when you are busy measuring land, family functions and pure laziness to move their asses across the border, as only Mallus can.
It finally was the backwater boys who responded to my call.
Two of them came in tow.
I was a happy man. They knew most of the songs, albums and their buzzing lifestyles too.
Very important if you are going to a live concert.
Alleppy boys, they know.
I had bought the best available tickets in advance.
We had to be in the front row. It was just Rs.1500 per ticket at the Palace Grounds. The Stones were at ‘throwing T-Shirts, drumsticks and plectrum range’.
For all cricket fans it was spinner DilipDoshi who was the catalyst for the Stones coming to India.Livingin London and both Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts being cricket sponsors, they had a strange thing going. Anyways, it was bigger than any cricket match.
Sony climbed on as broadcaster, VenkatVardhan (DNA Networks) backed by Vijay Mallaya who put McDowell No. 1 as the main sponsor, and the Stones rolled into India along with their own roof, lights, animation screens and sound. It was the LICKS Tour.DilipDoshihad done his magic spin.
The Palace Grounds were ready for royalty. Mick and the boys liked royalty. So did we.
But even royalty in the best of form were not prepared for the skies to open up. It rained just as Mick and Keith kicked off ‘Start me up’; the tune that kicked off Microsoft’s Windows back in 1996. Even Bill Gates had not reached royalty status.
Like us 30,000 fans, the Bangalore skies were happy too. It rained for 3 hours. But the Stones never stopped. They just rolled into full throttle. The height of their sound and visual display peaked with ‘Sympathy for the Devil’( A tune from the BEGGARS BANQUET album). The ‘Woo Woo’ chorus riff from thousands of wet Indian fans added to the energy. The Stones may have sympathy for the devil, but the Gods and the fans in Bangalore were drenched happy.
Many moons later, when I turn on the Rolling Stones to assist my cooking of a Beggar’s Banquet Chicken with no stuffing or frills, that magical night at Palace Grounds still brings a buzz.
This dish is as simple, delicious and easy as getting beggars, devils and Gods to eat a home cooked Banquet.
BEGGAR’S BANQUET CHICKEN (Whole Chicken without oil – the Chinese way)
Bought a whole tender chicken with skin intact. I had the sauces in store.
I was lucky enough to get the right potatoes, carrots, and coriander from the local veggie shop.
I already had whole Indian Spices. Cinnamon, cloves, star anise, whole pepper and bay leaves.
I had just picked up Habernero’sPeriPeri sauce created by ole mate Griffith who is better know in India as an award winning restauranteur for the tex-mex chain Habernero.
The red wine vinegar was a gift from a friend and the faithful bottle of Soya sauce I always store.
And then everything happened like a Rolling Stone tune.
The chicken was marinated outside and inside with crushed pepper, ginger, garlic, coriander and salt.
The liquid marination with HaberneroPeriPeri, red vine vinegar and soya sauce. Leave to marinate for about 30 minutes and place on the stove. Add another dash of light soy sauce and add in Bay leaves, a stick of cinnamon, 4-5 cloves and star anise. Cook on low flame, turning the chicken now and then.
And like a Stones tune staring in slow time,turning the bird over step by step and then the grand finale. Till the chicken is done. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes and then serve.
The meat was cooked tender like Charlie Watts’ drumming.
The flavours of the mix of the Soya and PeriPeri sauces were like Keith Richards and Ron Wood in sync.
And Mick was the whole chicken undressed with just a drenched overcoat that he threw off to an exuberant Bangalore crowd ashe ended up in a flimsy Jubba, drenched to the core but running helter skelter across the stage. Just like us amongst 30,000 fans keeping to the beat.
The day I cooked this up a week ago, it rained in Bangalore, but not in my kitchen.
The Gods were happy and like beggars and devils, we all participated in a Banquet. The chicken was cooked whole, so the Gods too joined in.
It was a Beggar’s Banquet anyways.
Everyone ate as equals. Like how the Rolling Stones always played their concerts.
About the Author
Monu Danesh Surendran works for a retail organization in Bangalore and heads it online and branding division. He is a foodie by passion and therefore tries his hand at stuff in his home kitchen. While not dabbling in cooking during his days off he likes his music and of course trying out food. He prefers home cooked cuisine though restaurant fare guarantees a good outing with friends.
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He works for a retail organization in Bangalore and heads it online and branding division. He is a foodie by passion and therefore tries his hand at stuff in his home kitchen. While not dabbling in cooking during his days off he likes his music and of course trying out food. He prefers home cooked cuisine though restaurant fare guarantees a good outing with friends.