Indian cookery episode 1 – The kitchen menace

I attended the first lesson of an NCFE in Indian cookery last night. My culinary skills are a little rusty. For example, I had trouble remembering how best to slice a tomato. This is probably because I’ve never sliced a tomato in my life.

Meat. That’s a new one too. I don’t even eat meat. I learned that Chicken flesh is actually *flesh*. Pink and bloody. That’s certainly more than 6 degrees separation from your McNugget.

My organisation in the kitchen is terrible; I’m awful at all the preparation. The first thing I usually do when preparing to cook is to light the gas hob. This is often well before I’ve even decided what it is I’m going to cook. Or even checking that I’m hungry.

We made Chicken Balti and Pilau Rice. We didn’t have time to make Lassi, so one person made it and everyone got a little cup of it to try. I mistook my Lassi for plain yoghurt and threw that in with the spices. That probably wasn’t good.

The cooker was a huge big industrial thing, with giant hobs and 1metre high flames. I feared that the stainless steel pots would melt. Whenever I put a new ingredient into the pot it changed directly to a gas, having apparently considered the liquid stage as unnecessary at such high temperatures.

I burned my onions making the Pilau Rice, so whilst the rice was nice and brown as planned, it was peppered with what looked like little black shrivelled slugs.

When cooking the Chicken Balti, I managed to forget a few entire ingredients. The chopped ginger for example. And the garlic. And the salt. I didn’t put enough of the spices in either. My Chicken Balti wasn’t up to much. It was like chewing strips of tea-towel cooked in olive oil. Oh, and I used way too much oil.

Either way it was fun. Stressful, embarrassing, but fun. Next week we’re doing some vegetarian things.

Our teacher is Wasim Aslam, one of the Directors of the Aagrah chain of restraunts. He seems real nice and very knowledgable. I’m not sure what’s going on though, because he’s certainly not there for the measly money I’m sure. Perhaps Aagrah just know the importance of this kind of advertising (for example, I’m talking about them here, for free). Or maybe I’m just paranoid and Wasim just digs teaching and wants to spread the knowledge. I prefer the idea of the latter, but it’s probably a bit of both.


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