By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY
There was a full house at Chorlton High on Saturday 16 June for one of Harjinder’s new Punjabi sessions. She had tailored a new menu for the summer months, and included were: pureed spinach, green moongi and yellow chana dhal, alu gajjar curry (carrots and potato curry), yoghurt boondi (dhai pakoria) and roti (chapatti).
Harjinder started the session by talking about spices. Her spice box was passed around to smell, view and discuss – the smell of Harjinder's own garam masala mix is quite heavenly… I must get the secret combination one of these days. Next we divided into three groups to prep for the dhal, chopping onions, ginger, chilli, garlic and coriander, and mixing together the spices: salt, chilli flakes, garam masala, turmeric, paprika, fenugreek leaves and cumin seeds. It's a quick and easy dish, which you can leave to bubble on the cooker and get on with other things.
Then it was time to start the potato and carrot curry, which turned out to be my favourite dish of the day - spicy, healthy and cleansing.
Next, Harjinder gave us a roti demonstration, which ended in a round of applause from the group! It was textbook perfect, making the dough, shaping into tiny balls, rolling out, flipping from hand to hand, cooking both sides on the hot Tava, then finishing off on a naked flame and glazing with butter. Some of the group experimented with roti-making, and it’s harder than it looks. A gluten-free roti was made, and there was no need for kneading this flour - you just add water. Simple.
An exciting new ingredient for me today was boondi (fried droplets of Besan batter), which were used to make yoghurt boondi along with white onion, chillies, salt, paprika, lovage seeds, cumin seeds and fresh coriander. I loved this new dish for its texture, colour, appearance and flavour.
To make the pureed spinach, tinned spinach was added to fried onion, garlic, fresh tomatoes, chillies and spices, including plenty of cumin, and this was simmered till the water evaporated.
All the dishes ready and smelling great, the table was cleared and set ready for us to sit down, relax and enjoy a fantastic Saturday feast together. Better than any restaurant! I'm still thinking about the alu gajjar curry - I'll definitely be making this again at home.
There are more photos from this class on our Facebook page.