This is my grandma’s curry. On the menu it’s called Lily Kwok’s curry. It’s not just a curry though. It’s the dish which gave my grandma a livelihood, and was instrumental in healing her broken heart.
When I was researching her fascinating story for my book Sweet Mandarin published by Random House, I realised that my grandma and I have experienced similar heartache. I too have loved people who have broken my heart. Some of them were lovers and others were friends. In most cases I used anger to protect my heart. I turned them into a villain, cut them out, and kept it moving. Then one day someone broke my heart, and it was different.
This time my soul stepped in and said, “No. We’re not doing it that way anymore. It’s time to face the truth.” So I did, and I learned how much it can hurt to heal and how much more it can hurt not to. I learnt that food and the cooking of it with my family and grandma was cathartic and as a family we have poured our every single bit of emotion into the recipes. I stress we are not a fine dining establishment but we are all about the flavours. For us, Sweet Mandarin is our raison d’etre. Whenever I cook Lily’s curry we are reminded of the big footsteps we walk in. And oh gosh how I miss my grandma. God Bless You Always