For Valentine's Day this year, Nate got me a cooking class entry at the Indian restaurant in central London called, Mela. It was such a fun experience! In London, there are a ton of Indian people that live here and of course tons of restaurants. We have really grown to love this type of cuisine since moving here.
There were 11 people total taking the class as well as the executive chef/owner and the sous chef who were teaching us. We learned how to make, Hyderabadi Bhunna Chicken (chicken masala curry), Udipi Mysore Potatoes, (potato mustard and cumin seed curry), and Jeera Pulao, (an Indian yellow rice). All of which tasted amazing. Yum! My mouth is watering just typing about it.
I couldn't believe how many spices they use in their cooking, but I guess that is what makes it taste so good. The owner told us that most types of cuisines, flavor and spice their meat so they can still taste the meat and enjoy that flavor. He said in Indian cooking, we spice the meat to enjoy the flavor of the spices. They don't care about the flavor of the meat but they sure do love their spices.
Besides using these spices pictured above, when they cook, they actually also use the whole spice before it is crushed up into powder, first, when they start the cooking. So they heat up their oil, add all these whole chunks of cinnamon bark, whole cloves, whole curry and bay leaves, whole cumin and coriander pieces, etc, and they mix that together with the oil. The oil then takes on the flavor, then they add the other foods. Later on, they add the powdered spices as an after note to add a little more and they actually leave the whole pieces of spices in the dish. People don't eat those of course, but they are still there in the dish. I thought this was interesting. No wonder their food is so spicy! They also said they make all of their curries 1 day ahead before they are served in their restaurant. Curries taste better after sitting a day or so, because the spices blend and mesh together.
The finished product. Instead of eating my food that I made at the restaurant, I bought some garlic naan and coconut naan bread to go, and ran home so that Nate and I could eat it together. It all tasted so great and I was very well pleased with my cooking. :) Maybe I am part Indian? :)
But I sure did reek of Indian spices when I got home! Nate told me that I smell like Indian food. And I really did. My hair, clothes, coat, everything, completely smelled! Their food is very powerful stuff. I need to do laundry....But I had a great time and learned a lot of new things.