Sunday, March 11, 2012

An Indian Cooking Class in Cairo.

Last week I had the pleasure of taking an Indian food cooking class at the house of a new friend.  I met several nice women and we learned how to cook a total of 7 dishes in just a couple of hours.  We even got a goodie bag to take home with a copy of the recipes and some ingredients that can't be found at the local markets here in Cairo.

We started our class by making dahi raita.  This is a salad of yoghurt, cucumbers, carrots, and a selection of seasonings tempered in oil (this is called a tadka).  A version of this basic salad is served with almost every Indian meal.
Raita along with a\the special ladle used for the tadka

After that we made a tomato omelet.  This isn't an egg omelet, but a vegan dish made out of a lentil flour.  I use the same flour when I make vegetable koftas.  You mix the flour with water, onion, tomatoes, coriander leaves, and cumin. Then cook it in a non stick pan.

Next we moved on to raajma poori (kidney bean sauce with fried bread).  This was a quick dish that used a can of kidney beans to speed the process along.  The fried bread is  made by simply mixing wheat flour with water and frying it in oil.

We also roasted eggplant on the stove and made one of my favorite Indian dishes, baingan bharta.  Our teacher's version was made without cream, but with the option to add it at the table. 

And of course what Indian meal would be complete without a dal? The version we made for this class used a small yellow lentil called moong dal. We cooked it for just a couple of minutes in a pressure cooker.

Probably my favorite dish of the day was the potato parathas. This is a bread that is stuffed with potatoes and spices.   I really enjoyed the simplicity of it.


Potato Parathas


First you make a stuffing by mixing 3-4  boiled and mashed potatoes, 2 t. cumin powder,1-2 green chilies, 2 T. coriander leaves (cilantro), 2 t. minced garlic, 1 small minced onion, 1/4 t. turmeric, and salt.
 After that you make a simple dough with wheat flour and water.  You do this by adding water to the flour until it is soft but firm enough to handle.  I think that the bread started out with about 2 cups of flour and 1/2 C. water.  Our teacher mixed it in a blender and then just added water ( a small amount at a time) until it was the right consistency.  After that, form it into small balls, dip them in flour, and roll them into 5 inch circles.
You place two spoons of filling on the circle and then fold the bread around it... sealing it in. Dip it in the flour again and roll it out into a 7 inch circle.

Next you cook it on both sides in a non stick pan  until it is cooked through.

The first time I had this bread was when Verna (our teacher) invited me up to her apartment for an Indian breakfast.  She served it with Chai (tea) and a lovely yogurt dip.  It makes a fantastic breakfast or wonderful addition to any meal.
After class it was time for the part that everyone was waiting for...  LUNCH!  I had a lovely time cooking and eating with a wonderful group of ladies.  I hope to do again some time soon.

Cheers,
Jenn


10 comments:

  1. Sounds like a very fun and useful class.

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    Replies
    1. Very fun.... and I've already made one of the recipes at home.

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  2. My family loves Indian food, so I should probably take a similar class. Maybe I can talk my hubby into taking it instead. He likes to cook more than I do...

    =)

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    1. I love Indian food. I was a vegetarian for more than 10 years before I had kids and I lived on the stuff.

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  3. Replies
    1. It was terribly fun... and I think she will offer a part two in a month or so.

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  4. 7 dishes in just a couple of hours?? u ladies really messed the kitchen!lol. It looks like u really enjoyed it n had fun with ur new friend :)

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    1. Yes Endy... it was terribly fun. It was amazing how many dishes you could prepare in just a few hours. And since it was a class I didn't have to wash the dishes.

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  5. I want to make those potato parathas!

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  6. It was so much easier than I expected. I am going to make some at home soon (without my helpful friend) and see if making the dough is as easy as the rest of the process.

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