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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Indian Cooking 101

Back to school again? Okay it's only one and a half hours, two days a week for six weeks but....for me, the whole idea of a cooking class seems odd. I am not that great a cook to begin with. I haven't even mastered the good old American standards. What am I doing taking an Indian cooking course? One reason, a good friend is taking it and this gives us an excuse to hang out together without children. Two, we are in India (duh?) so I may as well take advantage of this opportunity. Three, I am hoping that with this course I will learn a little more about what I see in the markets. The spice sections have always been a little overwhelming to me in the US. Add all the Indian spices and names I'm not familiar with and you've got me running for McDonald's. Thankfully, this teacher, Punita, really means it when she titled the class "Intro to Indian Cooking." She started from the very basics. We saw, smelled, and tasted most of the spices. She showed us how to chop a chili pepper without getting much of the juice on your hands. She gave us a list of all the commonly used spices with descriptions and their Hindi names. Check back with me in six weeks and see if I can make you a beautiful curry dish or not.....
The ingredients for the "basic sauce" as Punita called it. Not really a sauce in my vocabulary Tomatoes, curry leaves, ginger, garlic, onions, chilies, and coriander. She says to fry these ingredients up with a little oil and have the basis of many, many Indian dishes.

Cooking up the "sauce."

We also made Allo Tiki that day. It is a sort of potato pancake with chilies, onions, ginger, and a dozen other spices mixed in. You coat it with semolina, fry, and voila (there has to be an Indian word for voila, but I haven't learned it yet). They were delicious with a little kick to them too. I will have to learn to make two spicy for Dan, and another not so spicy for the girls and I.


  1. wow! Progress already my friend!!! Keep up the good work! : ) Funny.......we had chicken tika masala and naan last night and I made up some other tomato chutney sort of thing to go with it. I adore chick peas! : )

  2. I think the base, what she called a "sauce", is what you would call a "soffrito".