During these Christmas holidays, I gave an Indian cooking course in Hungary. I am not a professional cook, and this was my first me doing such a cooking course. It was actually quite a lot of fun. Hopefully, we can continue this tradition and I can give a course during my future trips to Hungary. This will keep me busy and out of trouble. And the good thing is that the proceeds (my part) from this cooking course, went to a charity that offers food to needy kids in Hungary. Its a win-win proposition.
It was my sister in law, Julia’s, idea. She is brilliant in organizing such things. In fact, we both were decked up in colorful indian attire for the evening.
We were about 15 of us in the kitchen. It was a fun and enthusiastic group. The course was organized at Inyenchaz, Szentendre on 29 December 2015. Inyenchaz.hu is a great concept – the organizer, Kriszta is a enthusiasic lady who runs this small kitchen from our home. The kitchen can accomodate around 10-15 people and there is a separate place for people to dine. Around the year, various cooking courses or company events are organized at this facility. I loved the homely, but professional, organization at Inyenchaz.
Below, is the introduction I gave during the course about Indian cuisine. My plan is to type all the recipes that we cooked that day on this blog, along with some nice mouth-watering photos.
Introduction to Indian food
Indian food is about colors, same as the dresses they wear. The more colorful it is, the better it’s gonna be. It’s not just that food should taste good, but it should be colorfully presented.
During today’s cooking course, we will experiment with different colors. Our aim is to make this a tasty and colorful holiday evening for all the guests.
What I notice is that many recipe-books make Indian food complicated, in the name of being authentic. However, let me assure you the most authentic Indian cuisine is as simple as ever. Majority of the Indian population is living in villages, and the ingredients they use are as simple as ever, but the authenticity in their case lies in the freshness of these ingredients. Trust me this simply cooked food is the best. For example, lets talk about the omnipresent Indian Curry. Everyone will think that the most important part of this curry is the spice mix, etc etc. That’s not true. It is the onion! If you can roast onion right, your curry will taste the best. Of course, you need the garam masala, etc etc. However, the onion base will determine the real taste.
A simple mantra (3-step) for Indian cooking is:
1) Prepare the base
• Sautee the onion in oil (if it is an onion based curry, other bases could be coconut and peanut), and let the onion nicely brown
• Other things such as cumin, mustard, garlic and ginger are extras, if you like, you could add them once the onion in nicely brown
• If you would like a sauce, then add 1 or 2 tomatoes. This will give it a tangy taste as well as red color.
2) Add the spice and condiments
• Once the base is done, add spices and salt to taste.
• Sometimes a simple red Hungarian paprika will suffice
• To experiment you can add red chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, black pepper, etc
3) Add the Ingredients—they can be veggies, sea food or meat, a bit of water and let it cook
My message to you all is, keep it fresh and simple!
The menu for the evening was:
- Chana Masala
- Tandoori Chicken with a mustard twist
- Aloo-Gobi (Potato-Cauliflower)
- Basmati Rice
- Yogurt Raita – Salad
- Mango Lassi
Ending this article with a nice selfie…