ABINGDON, Va. — I spoke too soon when I said I wanted to turn up the heat.
I had dug spoon after spoon into the new “Curry Me Down South” - a blend of chicken curry with southern-style mashed potatoes, served on Abingdon’s new Pakalachian food truck.
Yeah, you read that right.
The name is pronounced “pak-uh-latch—in.”
And what’s on the menu blends Pakistani dishes with Appalachian food.
What I found was a big blend of spices that aided my allergies and soared into my sinuses, bringing joyful tears to my eyes.
What good heat – until, well, it just sat there, still burning, but in an, oh, so good way.
In case you’re wondering: Curry is a mixture of garlic, onion and tomatoes made into a sauce and topped with spices. You then use that sauce to glaze a meat or vegetable, said chef Mohsin Kazmi, 27. “And you slowly cook it until it reduces. To me, it’s like premixing your gravy into your meat.”
Curry is a food served in several countries - including Pakistan.
“It’s about introducing new food with food that people are familiar with,” said Kazmi, who grew up in New Jersey with parents from Pakistan.
This is boneless curry.
“To make it more palatable, chicken breast is a great option,” Kazmi said. “Some people just don’t like bones.”
Still, bones could show up on the menu of the gold-painted food truck, Kazmi said. “Slowly, we might get a little more adventurous as our customer base grows and becomes more knowledgeable about what food we provide.”
Dropping chicken curry on mashed potatoes was a discovery Kazmi made “by mistake.”
But it proved popular enough with friends that Kazmi and his wife, Katlin, now want to see how profitable it might be on “The Pakalachian.”
They found out last Friday.
Callie Hietala, 30, of Abingdon, told me she waited in line for about an hour to taste “Curry Me Down South” when the food truck made its debut at Wolf Hills Brewing Co. in Abingdon on April 20.
“It was refreshing to have those flavors - my favorite flavors - in Abingdon,” said Hietala, a curator at the William King Museum of Art. “Ever since I heard that this food truck was in the works many months ago, I’ve been eagerly looking forward to its arrival.”
The Pakalachian features a funky fusion of Pakistan and Appalachian foods.
“We are going to be serving a mixture,” says Mohsin’s wife, Katlin Wohlford Kazmi, 28, a sixth-grade math teacher at E.B. Stanley Middle School in Abingdon.
“Southwest Virginia doesn’t get a chance to interact with Pakistan very often,” said Katlin, who grew up in Castlewood, Virginia. “We’re separate cultures. So the fact that we can is awesome. I’m stoked about it.”
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» Take a taste: You’ll find the Pakalachian Food Truck at the Virginia Creeper Fest on Saturday in Abingdon.
» Want more? Pick up a copy of the May 2 edition of the Washington County News to read Joe Tennis’s exclusive “Wandering Around Washington” column for more on Mohsin and Katlin Kazmi’s food truck and their kitchen at Barter Stage II in Abingdon.
» On the Web: Visit www.thepakalachian.com