18 March 2013

GUEST BLOG: Roti dinners

By guest blogger CHRIS YOUNG

Harjinder has been working her magic again recently, with two sessions sharing her secrets of Punjabi cuisine: first with a group in Chorlton on Saturday 9 March and then with a class in Altrincham on Monday 11 March.

Dhal, two curries and raita at our Altrincham session

With a full house of participants, Harjinder started last Monday's cooking session at Altrincham Grammar School For Boys by introducing the different spices we were going to use in the recipes. She shared some interesting anecdotes and said she was taught to cook and use the spices by her mum at an early age. She also talked about how some spices can be used as herbal remedies – who knew the spices we use for cooking could have so many benefits? She then showed us how to make the roti dough as it needed to rest before making it in time to sit down to eat together at the end of the evening.

One of the Altrincham participants shows off his homemade roti

Everyone was divided into groups of four and each group together made the dishes of the evening: lentil Tarka Dhal, Kumba Di Sabji (mushroom curry), Kabli Channa Sabji (chickpea curry), cucumber raita and rotis. All the ingredients and fresh vegetables were already laid out on the cooking stations and everyone got stuck into chopping. It didn’t take long before great aromas started to spread throughout the kitchen from the different spices used in Punjabi cookery.

The group at our Chorlton class dig in to their Punjabi feast

When the dishes were almost completed, Harjinder demonstrated how to make the rotis. On a very hot tava (a kind of griddle), she used her fingers to flip the roti and used a tea towel to press down around the roti to eliminate air bubbles and to give it an even colour/cook – it can’t get more authentic that that! Another way to finish off the roti is to cook it directly on the gas flame, though, as Harjinder said, it's not for the fainthearted! Everyone went back to their cooking stations to make their own rotis and it was a great laugh and experience – not to mention easy and delicious. As soon as the rotis were ready, Harjinder passed around clarified butter to spread on the fresh bread then we finished the dishes and took all the food to the table to sit down and eat the feast together. And what a feast it was – the food was amazing!

Fresh flatbreads to accompany the meal in Chorlton

CGF’s next cooking session at AGSB in Altrincham is on Monday 15 April, when we will be cooking different types of risotto with our rice expert Kim Irwin. There are just three places available so book quickly by calling Andrea Lacon on 0161 928 0858 or by emailing her via alacon@agsb.co.uk.

Our next session with Harjinder is in Chorlton on Saturday 27 April, when she will be leading a masterclass in making delicious stuffed parathas. Visit www.crackinggoodfood.org for full details and how to book.

You can see more photos from Chorlton here and from Altrincham here.

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