By guest blogger TRACEY
The guys were raring to get started at the Approved Premises session on Wednesday 1 May. Kim told them how the curries they were making were full of nutrients - protein, fibre, carbohydrates and the healthy omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which help to reduce the risk of some serious illnesses. As well as the fresh produce, Kim bought along plenty of spices in jars of all shapes and sizes; there was an eclectic mix - each with their own powerful ability to help maintain a healthy system, ease digestion and physical aches and inflammations, and prevent illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. On the menu was a mackeral dhal, chicken jalfrezi and the legendary garlic naan in a pan.
The guys peeled and finely chopped garlic then added salt to help draw the moisture out; it was then left so they could turn their attention to making the naan dough using flour, salt and yeast. A gooey sticky mix unfolded when the water was added, but Kim explained how it can be easily remedied by adding more flour. Once kneaded, it was left to rise with a warm, damp clean tea towel placed over the bowl. Meanwhile, a production line of choppers were nearing completion of prepping the vegetables for the jalfrezi - cauliflower, carrots, onions, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes - and the chicken thighs were salted and treated to a drizzle of oil then placed in the oven to roast. The spices for the jalfrezi were selected and Kim highlighted how the paprika and turmeric were the ones which mainly gave a curry its brownish colour.
Once the red, yellow, green and orange peppers were added to the onions and spices, the room filled with such an appetising aroma that I was relieved the level of banter increased and managed to conceal the sounds of my rumbling stomach! The warm spice garam masala was added to the mix along with the remaining vegetables. Tomato puree and water were stirred in, then the curry was left to simmer while the guys took a well-earned break.
On their return, the participants were impressed with the naan bread dough as it had risen to double the original size, so some got on with rolling the naans, and others set to washing the lentils and adding the spices (which included cumin, soaked fenugreek, onion seeds and a mix unfamiliar to myself Panch Phoron (equal parts of fenugreek seed, nigella seed, cumin seed, black mustard seed and fennel seed). I guess this is the equivalent to Chinese Five Spice, which also smelt delicious and looked so attractive due to the different colours and sizes of the seeds. Water was poured into the dhal along with the shredded mackerel, and it was left to cook on a low heat, while an abundance of naan breads were flying out of the pan!
The rumbling of my stomach neared crescendo but was abated once I sat down to share and enjoy this delicious three-part dish – it was such an enjoyable session – thanks guys, and thanks Kim for sharing your wisdom and some delicious recipes!