By guest blogger HELEN ROADHOUSE
Our challenge at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo on 6 November was to show students how to cook a cheap, easy and nutritious meal, so what could be better than Harjinder showing them how to make her Punjabi veggie curry from scratch? The Healthy Lifestyle Expo was in a sports hall and there were various other exhibitors - some food based, like a local veggie box scheme and a Thai food stall, and some sports and wellbeing stands.
We had a schedule of three sessions for students to come along and get involved with the prep and learn from Harjinder exactly how easy it is to put together a tasty, healthy curry - and of course then get to eat the end result! The students were so interested that they crowded close to Harjinder (pictured below) to hear what she had to say and many asked questions about her techniques and all the different spices. We were surprised by how enthusiastic the students were about this recipe - I think it really struck a chord as it fit into their budget and tasted great! We explained that any veggies could be used, including those borderline ready for the recycling bin, so it's great for saving money. The participants were also really interested to learn how healthy the meal is, especially as it's so tasty! It has all the food groups including protein (contained in the chickpeas), so there's no need for meat although that could be included should you choose to. The vegetarians especially were extremely impressed with its nutrition content.
At the end of each session, there was quite a queue of people waiting for a curry portion as the smells wafted round the hall and enticed everyone to come and investigate. It was quite apparent that we would not be taking any leftovers home with us! I think that this recipe was perfect for demonstrating to students in every way. They loved its simplicity and how it could stretch so far without costing much and, of course, they liked that it tasted so good too! Best of all was the almost unanimous agreement that they would be trying the recipe out for themselves - a triumph and exactly what we hoped to achieve. It was a busy day and its success was also helped by our brilliant volunteers Alicja and Jules who were just fantastic and knowledgeable.
You can see more photographs from the Expo on the Cracking Good Food Facebook page.