While in Fort Cochin, in the state of Kerala, I decided I wanted to learn how to make some good Indian food. As I walked down the streets of Fort Cochin, I pictured myself in my kitchen at home, creating an amazing Indian dish that would blow my family away. Just as I had this thought in my head, I passed a house with a sign on the door that read “Cooking Lessons Here.” Bingo!
With great excitement, I knocked on the door and a lady named Leena Sham greeted me. “Am I able to come for a cooking class today? I’m leaving Fort Cochin tomorrow, so it’s my only chance.” I say to Leena.
“Well, today is church day, so I don’t normally do a cooking class, but since you are leaving tomorrow, I can make an exception.”
” Yay! ”
“But, I can only do it if there is three of you.” she adds.
“Alright, I’ll be back in a couple of hours with two other people.”
Trying to find two other people to take the cooking class with me was harder than I anticipated. First of all, there weren’t many foreigners in Fort Cochin and second of all, the foreigners who were around, didn’t seem interested in taking the class. After wondering around the town for a couple of hours, I was finally able to get not only two other people, but three who were interested in learning to cook Indian food.
The following dishes are what we made, and I highly suggest you give it a try:
I did learn how to make Chai again, but it is the same way as I wrote about in How To Make Masala Chai (Spiced Indian Tea).
- 3 onions (you can also use cauliflower, potato, paneer, eggplant or okra)
- Chickpea flour (3 tablespoons)
- Refined flour
- Turmeric (1/4 teaspoon)
- Vegetable Oil (1 tablespoon)
- Curry leaves (15-20 leaves)
- Baking powder (1/4 teaspoon)
- Chili powder (1 pinch)
- Asafoetida powder (1/2 teaspoon)
- Cumin seeds (1/2 teaspoon)
- Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
Cut onions into thin slices. Put in bowl and add chickpea flour, turmeric, baking powder, asafoetida powder, cumin seeds, salt and chilli powder. Stir ingredients together. Add a little bit of water to the mix so ingredients mix well. Add curry leaves to the mix. Turn stove on medium. Pour 1 cup of oil into a medium size pan. Wait until oil starts to boil and add ingredients. Mix ingredients until golden brown. Place on a plate and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Serve and eat!
Banana Lassi (Makes 4 glasses)
- Curd/Yogurt (2 cups)
- Milk (2 cups)
- Ripe banana (the blacker the skin, the better the taste) (2 bananas)
- Sugar (8 teaspoons)
Mix bananas, milk and sugar in a blender. Chill and serve!
Vegetable Kurma (with Coconut Milk)
- Green peas (100 grams which is about 1/2 cups)
- Green beans (50 grams which is about 15 beans)
- Carrots (2 carrots)
- Onions (2 onions)
- Potato (1 potato)
- Garlic (4-5 cloves)
- Ginger (2 inch piece)
- Coconut powder or rice flour
- Curry leaves (15-20 leaves)
- Salt (1 teaspoon)
- Cinnamon (1 big piece)
- Annis (2 stars)
- Nutmeg (1/2 teaspoon)
- Cardamom (10 pieces)
- Cloves (6 pieces)
- Coconut oil
- Crushed coconut (1 crushed coconut)
Peel and cut potato and carrots into small pieces. Cut off tips of green beans. Peel onion and chop into tiny pieces. Crush garlic and ginger. Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Open the cardamon seeds to release more flavour. Add to mix. Rip or cut the anise, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into small pieces and add to the mix. Mix all ingredients really well, adding only a splash of water so it mixes well.
Next, is the tricky part. Blend the coconut adding a little bit of warm water as you blend until you have added 1 cup in total. This will make the coconut creamy. Strain the coconut mix in a strainer like this one and into a bowl. Squeeze the milk from the coconut until there is no liquid left to squeeze. This coconut milk that you just squeezed is called FIRST MILK. Take the grated coconut into another bowl and add another cup of warm water to it. Mix up the coconut with your hands and strain once again but into a separate bowl. This bowl is called SECOND MILK. Repeat this process one more time. The third bowl will be called THIRD MILK.
Add all of the second milk and 1/2 cup of third milk to the vegetable and spice mix in a large pot. Put the mix on the stove and turn on high. Cook on high until boiled. Once boiled, sim fire. Add 15-20 curry leaves to the mix. Add two heaping teaspoons of coconut powder OR half a teaspoon of rice flour to the mix. Add in all of the first coconut milk to the mix. Boil mix on medium heat until cooked. Once cooked, add two tablespoons of coconut oil and remove from heat.
- Half a cabbage
- 1 small onion
- 2 green chilies
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 5-6 curry leaves
- One hand full of grated coconut
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- A pinch of cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
Cut cabbage into small pieces. Put the cabbage in a medium sized bowl. Cut up the onion and garlic into thin pieces and add to the cabbage. Cut the chilies in half, right down the middle, and add to mix. Add salt, cumin, turmeric, coconut and curry leaves to the mix. Mix ingredients nicely. Add a large frying pan with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or vegetable oil if you don’t have coconut) and put on stove on medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds. Back up because those babies burst when you add them in the hot oil. Once oil has heated, add the cabbage mix in the frying pan and fry for 8-10 minutes, mixing ingredients frequently. Once cooked, remove from heat.
- 150 grams of whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon of anis seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 3 teaspoons of sugar
- 75 grams of grated coconut (about 3 handfuls)
- Half a cup of gee (or melted butter)
- 1 cup of water or use the rest of the third coconut from the Vegetable Kurma.
- Tin foil
Add flour, anise, salt, sugar, coconut and water to a large bowl. Mix ingredients until it turns into a paste. Take 10 x 10 inch piece of tin foil and place on a counter top or table. Add a teaspoon of water to the foil and make sure all of the foil is covered so the mix doesn’t stick when you get to the next step. Take 4 tablespoons of the mix and place in the middle of the tin foil. Form the mix into a round and flat shape about 5 cm thick. Place a large non-stick frying pan on the stove on medium heat. Take the tin foil with the mix over to the frying pan and place on frying pan, mix side down. Peel back the tin foil from the mix. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Add gee (or melted butter) to both side of the roti. Remove from heat.
There you go! A full AMAZING Indian meal. Enjoy!