15 January 2011

COOKING LESSON, Asian Banquet 2

 I did my first one on one cooking lesson today with Owen Hedicker who practises muscle activation techniques in Eastleigh. We cooked up curried lentils with chilli, ginger and coconut milk, garlic and coriander flat breads and vegetable bhaji's.

Lentil curry.

Ingredients:                                                                    Equipment:
1 cup of red lentils (soaked overnight)                           1 deep saucepan.
1/2 teaspoon turmeric.                                                   1 shallow saucepan.
1white onion, small diced.                                             1 wooden spoon, for stirring.
1 medium green chilli, 2 for extra heat.
1 inch fresh ginger, grated.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds.
1 teaspoon mustard seeds.
1 teaspoon fennel seeds.
2 teaspoon coriander seeds.
1 can coconut milk.
1 small bunch fresh coriander., shredded.
Oil for frying; groundnut, walnut or sesame is good to use.
Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.

1) Bring two cups of water to the boil in the deep saucepan, add the lentils and turmeric.
2) Boil together for 6 to 10 minutes. Check that the lentils are tender before straining.
3) Meanwhile, heat the shallow saucepan on a medium heat.
4) Add all the seeds and toast for a few minutes until the seeds give off their aromas.
5) Add the oil to the pan before adding the diced onion and ginger.
6) Fry for a further few minutes to soften the onions, before adding the lentils.
7) Pour n the coconut milk and bring to the boil.
8) Add the chopped coriander and stir through before taking off the heat.
9) Check the seasoning before serving.

ChefGary's tip:

If you don't have all the seeds in your cupboard then a tablespoon of garam masala can be used. Translated, this means mixed spice. It is an integral ingredient to most curry powders and pastes and can be bought in powder form or in whole spices. A tablespoon of curry powder or paste could be used but you will have to adjust the use of fresh chilli as most curry powders already have chilli in them.

Garlic and coriander flat breads.

Ingredients:                                                                                   Equipment:
250 grams strong plain flour.                                                        1 shallow saucepan
1 inch fresh ginger, finely sliced.                                                  1 bowl for mixing
1 garlic clove, crushed.                                                                 1 rolling pin.
1 tablespoon coconut yoghurt. (Use natural if unavailable)        
1 teaspoon coriander seeds.
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds.
1/2 small bunch fresh coriander.
1 medium green chilli.
4 to 6 tablespoons warm water.
Oil for cooking.
Pinch of salt and pepper.
Extra flour for rolling out the breads.

1) Mix all the ingredients together except the water.
2) Add the water slowly, stirring all the time until a soft dough is formed.
3) Dip your fingers into the extra flour and divide the dough into equally shaped balls.
4) Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
5) Have the extra flour handy when you need to roll out the breads.
6) Roll out all the breads to a few millimetres thick.
7) Drizzle the oil over all the breads and lightly rub in on one side.
8) Starting with the oiled side, cook the breads individually in a hot saucepan for about thirty seconds on each side.

ChefGary's tip:

I love adding additional flavours to the breads, such as sesame seeds, dessicated coconut, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and poppy seeds. They are great on their own as a snack with the added spices or you can just make plain ones (flour, yoghurt and water only) to eat with stronger flavoured curries.

Vegetable bhaji's.

Ingredients:                                                                     Equipment:
1 onion, sliced.                                                                 1 mixing bowl
1 carrot, grated.                                                               1 shallow saucepan         
1 potato, grated.                                                              1 sieve
2 garlic cloves, crushed.
1 inch fresh ginger, grated.
1 teaspoon garam masala.
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek.
1 teaspoon coriander seeds.
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds.
1/2 teaspoon turmeric.
1/2 medium green chilli.
1 teaspoon tomato ketchup.
2 tablespoons chickpea flour. (use plain flour as alternative)
1 small bunch coriander.
1 tablespoon water.
Pinch of salt and pepper.
Oil for cooking.

Fry the onions in the saucepan for a few minutes until they soften.
2) Set the onions aside and grate the potato, carrot and ginger.
3) Wash the potato and carrot under running water to remove the starch.
4) Squeeze out any excess water before adding to the onions.
5) Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.
6) The mixture should appear quite stodgy in texture. Add more flour or water if necessary.
7) Preheat the saucepan and fry over a low heat for 5 to 8 minutes on each side until crisp.

ChefGary's tip:

Try using other vegetables, such as courgette, parsnip and sweet potato.

If you don't have all the spices you can replace them with curry powder, but you won't get the same unique blend of individual flavours and textures that you get by mixing your own.

I'd like to say a big thank you to Gary for my one to one cooking lesson. As a beginner home cook it was a great experience to learn some restaurant standard dishes that I could take home that evening. My fiancées' comment being 'you actually cooked this or did he do it?!' To have the one to one attention is excellent as all my questions could be answered enthusiastically by Gary as we cooked and he was able to show me how to bring the recipe to life with attention to certain details and techniques beyond the instructions you would find in a book. I've been out shopping and am confident and looking forward to reproducing the dishes :)'

"I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to learn how to cook particular dishes or even for skills or techniques to be used across the board. Gary can tailor it to your needs whatever your level.. And its good fun :)'

Owen Hedicker

1 comment:

  1. Recipe for garam masala

    4 tbsps coriander seeds
    2 tbsp cumin seeds
    2 tbsps fennel seeds
    1 tbsps fenugreek seeds
    1 tbsps mustard seeds
    2 inch piece cinnamon
    1 tbsp black peppercorns
    1 tsp black cardamom (3-4 large pods approx)
    1 tsp cloves
    1 tsp crushed bay leaves

    Toast all the seeds over a moderate heat for a few minutes until the aromas are released from the seeds. Do not over toast as they will burn and become bitter. Gring to a fine powder when cooled slightly.