Prepare yourself. Actually I should have prepared myself! The first time that I really had time for an India cooking class here in India was in Jaipur. And Jaipur cooking classes happened to be the first one that came up in the Google search and boy was it raved about on Tripadvisor. And Tripadvisor is is always my religion when I travel. Wow is all I can say. Cooking classes can vary in quality and therefore price everywhere you go and I have paid as little as $5 to $40-50. But an experience that cannot be matched in attention to detail, knowledge, professionalism and plus it is Indian cuisine. The most complicated and detailed of them all. This was with a little more northern influence and I will do another when I am down south.
They picked us up, dropped us off, had specially prepared menus for us so we didn’t need to write and it was even dated with our names! Special!!! And we did learn just one dish, we learned seven!! SEVEN!!!! Class was 3 hours then we sat with Lukesh and his gorgeous wife Geetika for another couple of hours as we ate the crazy amount of food that we could not finish and chatted as if we were all friends. Each recipe came with not only the met hind to make the dish, but methods for making the spices, or sauces or the pastes that go into making the dish. Aaaaaaaaah it is soooooo much! But it is awesome that it takes a long time. Why? Because it is all fresh. All from scratch! Not store bought butter chicken sauce in a jar or packet of masala spices. It is all made from scratch but the key is you make the key ingredients in advance, so when you want to make it is not a marathon in the kitchen. But that is like most cooking right? You gotta have your brains about you and prep! So here is the list and some pics of what we made and I chose a recipe from the list to give to you!
- Chicken Kadhai (chicen dish with whole red chilli, garlic and tomato gravy)
- Paneer Korma (homemade Indian cottage cheese with a mildly spiced onion and cashew nut gravy)
- Channa Masala (chick peas cooked in onion, tomato and spices)
- Vegetable Makhani (vegetables cooked in a butter tomato sauce)
- Chicken Biryani (layers of curried chicken and basmati rice then cooked in the oven
- Naan (Indian bread traditionally cooked in a Tandoor oven, picture a vertical woodfire oven and the bread slapped onto the inside walls)
- Saffron Kheer (sweet rice pudding with nuts and saffron)
Korma (paneer, chicken, vegetable)
Seeing our teacher making paneer (indian cottage cheese) from scratch was incredible and soooooo easy. But Korma is just the particular sauce and you can substitute anything from chicken or vegetables….I would even try using a nice white fish!
I tsp oil
1 cup of chopped ingredient of choice (vegetables, chicken/meat, paneer)
1 tsp each of green cardamon seeds, brown cardamom seeds, cloves and black peppercorn
1 tsbs of ginger garlic paste (see below)
3 tbs onion cashew nut paste (see below)
50 ml natural yogurt *
50ml cream *
1 medium onion roughly chopped
1 tsp dried fenugreek
1 teaspoon Garam Masala ( see below)
* Because my belly is not really friends with dairy I’m going to be honest here…… I am probably going to try substituting with a non dairy option of coconut cream/yogurt! Could be interesting!
11. Heat oil over medium heat (I always prefer coconut or olive/nut based oils) and add green and brown cardamon seeds, peppercorns and your garlic ginger paste cooking for 2 minutes.
2. Add yoghurt and cream and gradually add your onion, seed and cashew nut paste.
33. Add your choice of main ingredient and add fenugreek, Garam Masala and season with salt to your liking. After 5 minutes reduce heat and let simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Ginger garlic paste
Simply combine 100 grams of peeled garlics and 50 grams of ginger (or always ½ the amount of ginger to garlic) to a blender with a little water and blend until you have a paste. Store in a glass jar in the fridge ready for next time!
Cashew nut, fried onion and melon seed paste
· -cashew nuts
· -melon seeds (the tiny black ones, I am going to try whole pumpkin seeds)
· -fried onion (these are just fried shallots that you can buy however to make from scratch you just fry finely diced onion then place in the oven to bake until dried.
Soak seeds and nuts in water for half an hour and rinse. Combine nuts, seeds and fried onion in a blender and blend adding water as needed until you have a thick creamy paste.
|Homemade Paneer cheese|
|Me makin naaaaaaan!|
|Our dinner table|
|The fruits of our labour!|