I hope everyone’s enjoying the holiday season. Yesterday was again a special day for me since I gave a private cooking class at home for Beth Robinson and her sister. Beth’s sister was visiting her from DC for the holidays and Beth wanted to make her sister’s visit special by doing a cook off! They arrived at around 3 pm and I was delighted to meet both of them.
We had discussed menu options and we finally agreed on a wonderful authentic Indian menu. Beth had mentioned that they love Indian cooking and had eaten “Saag Paneer” which is Indian Cottage Cheese cooked with spinach/ greens. She said she loved it. So I decided to add “Kadai Paneer” which is Indian Cottage Cheese cooked in a wok with a bunch of Indian spices in a red tomato gravy!
We also prepared a Chick Pea Salad for starters since they both love chickpeas. Then came the fun part, we made a Rice Pilaf using Basmati Rice toasted with Cumin and Peas.
For the preparation of rice, it is always a good idea to rinse the rice in cold water 2-3 times to get rid of the starch so the rice does not stick and is fluffy once you cook it.
I used my age old pressure cooker that was passed on to my mother from her mother. It was exciting to share family experiences as Beth had mentioned that their mother also used a pressure cooker but was much heavier. They remembered her making a lot of stews in it as their dad loved stews.
Beth’s sister – I noticed was very good at chopping and when I asked her she said she does cook in the kitchen and Beth mentioned that she bakes a lot- Cakes especially!
So we had cooked the Chick Peas Salad, Rice Pilaf with Cumin and Peas, Kadai Paneer. I wanted them to cleanse their palette with a yogurt based “raita”. So we wen for a Pomegranate Yogurt Raita.
Here’s the funny party- It has always taken forever to remove the seeds from my pomegranate and as always, I was struggling with it. Beth was watching me and said to me” Can I try”? I immediately knew that she had a better technique in her mind and smiled and passed on the half sliced pomegranate to her.
All she did was place it in a big bowl with running water in it. And since the membranes are lighter than the seeds -they float on the top and since you have water running – the juices dont splash all over you making you look like you had a pomegranate bath!!!
I thought that was smart and all it took her was 5 minutes to get the seeds out. I was so happy that I learnt something new from this class.
The good part about all these cooking classes is that I also learn all the secret tips or techniques that were passed on to my students by their families:)))))
Finally- it was sweet time!!!! We made a Sweet Lentil Pudding with cashewnuts, raisins and cardamom. They loved it.
Finally I packed all the dishes so they could take it back home and share with their family. It was about 6:00 pm when we had finished.
I was exhausted but thrilled to have cooked with 2 wonderful women who shared such wonderful stories and experiences with me!
Thanks much for listening:) and appreciate your time.