Since living in New York, Seamless has taken a hefty chunk of my pay check. But today I rekindled my love for cooking with a course in London. And there’s no modesty here: The results were impressive.
Mummy Warren and I headed to Acton to create an Indian Banquet under the instruction of Angela Malik. Along with our nine fellow classmates, we cooked street food, chapattis, masala, rice dishes and chilli-chocolate fondants, while learning about the geography of Indian flavours and how to balance them.
After hearing about Angela’s life growing up with Punjabi parents in Scotland and how she gave up her career as an accountant to launch her cookery school, she began the lesson. We leaned about the five taste sensations: salty, hot, sweet, sour and umami (savory deliciousness), and how meals should attempt to balance the flavours.
And then the cooking began. We started with street food – tandoori lamb tikka for the meat-eaters, and tandoori paneer (Indian cheese) for us veggies. I worked on the marinade, while my mum put together a mint and coriander yoghurt for a dipping sauce.
We also fried poppadoms and moulded them while they were still warm (although not all my attempts were successful). Angela told us that under no circumstances were we to scoop up food with the poppadoms, as it’s a rude gesture in India.
Then it was on to the main which was a thali – a plate of different foods. We cooked up a masala base, which we then used to make a chickpea and potato curry. We also whipped up an aubergine raita, a caramelised onion and peas pulao and chapattis.
Angela said our curry should have been a bit wetter but it was so delicious. I particularly liked the rice, which was really simple. I wasn’t so keen on the aubergine one though.
Finally, when we thought we could eat no more, we made a quick chocolate fondant. We were encouraged to use any ‘hot’ flavour – chilli, ginger, cinnamon – and we stuck to chilli. It was served with a saffron and cardamom creme fraiche. Suddenly I had space.
The class is held in the back of Angela’s shop in Acton, and it was pretty snug. She said she can fit a maximum of 16 in the room which just seems too many, but the size of the room does allow her to be very hands on; whenever I had any query (and I had a lot), she just appeared.
I also really appreciated how she catered to us vegetarians, and in a very convincing way. We made some delicious dishes and sauces, which Angela encouraged us to use in other types of cooking – the yoghurt in salads or cous cous, and the marinades for roast dinners, for example.
A feast indeed. And now I’m inspired to show off my new skills!