25 January 2013

GUEST BLOG: Full of flavour

By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY

Following the demonstration session last week of stuffed gram flour pancakes and lentil tarka dhal, this Thursday we ran the first of a series of three weekly hands-on sessions at Benchill Primary School in Wythenshawe where parents and children prepare and cook a meal together and eat together at the end.

We had hoped for a group of 12 to attend this session, but word had got round, and we had an overwhelming 26 turn up, all eager and willing to take part – a lively session was about to begin. To manage, the group was split into three sub-groups, and everyone was given a stripy butcher's apron and a name badge. The youngest in the group today was just three years old, but it’s never too young to start to cook - even if a little nap was needed halfway through!

The first task was to measure out and rinse split red lentils, and watch the murky water turn clear - everyone had a go at this. Then we measured out the colourful dried spices: turmeric, garam masala, salt, paprika and chilli flakes. Next, it was time to grate fresh ginger, chop green chilli, soak dried fenugreek leaves and chop fresh coriander and tomatoes. Such a lovely mix of colours, flavours, aromas and textures.

All these were added to a pan to boil then left to simmer while the chapatti making began. Kim demonstrated how to make the dough, then it was “every man for himself” and the children and parents got stuck in to dough making, kneading, rolling and heating the chapattis on a hot tava to cook - what fun to see the transformation from flour and water to tasty bread.

Last but not least the tarka dhal was completed: sliced onion, cumin seeds and asafetida powder were all fried in a pan with oil and then added to the lentil mix for that extra flavour.

Time to clear up and eat the wonderful food that had been prepared. We look forward to next week and the next food adventure at Benchill. Perhaps we will hear tales of this dish being prepared again at home with the help of the recipe sheets that were handed out… 

As usual, we'll be adding more photographs from this session to our Facebook page - see if you can spot yourself!

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