I’ve written several posts about my dinner group here on the blog. From Moon Pies and Dulce de Leche Cookies to Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Parsley done the Hammersley way and Tomato-Feta & Preserved Lemon Salad, I have shared recipes and experiences with this group of women who gather periodically to explore a cuisine or a culinary theme.
I haven’t been able to attend most of our dinners this year for one reason or another which I have really missed. Thankfully, I was able to be at our last gathering when we invited Shilpi Ranjan of EZ Compliments to teach us Indian cooking! I was so excited because I truly love Indian cuisine. The colors, the flavors and the aromas are just intoxicating for me. More than that, I am fascinated by the combinations of seeds and spices that go into the Indian cuisine and how they all work together so beautifully. It’s like magic really.
The class was interactive and while Shilpi demonstrated technique and gave us hands on instruction, we were cooking the dishes alongside her throughout the evening. Shilpi couldn’t have been more personable and gracious and provided thoughtful instruction. She even provided each of us with small packages of the key spices she used in her cooking, including her homemade garam masala, to take home with us.
Here are some of the photos from the night that culminated in some visually beautiful and incredibly tasty food. This is a great way to host your friends for a “night in” and I have linked to Shilpi’s website if you’d like to invite her into your home for a class.
Now, it so happened that I am making my way through Food 52’s 2016 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks. If you are asking yourself, what exactly is a Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks, then do click on the link to find some of the “popular” cookbooks of the past year. I had requested Made in India by Meera Sodha from the library awhile ago and it arrived around the time of our class with Shilpi. The book has gorgeous photography and what looks like accessible recipes that are largely from Meera’s mother’s kitchen and her personal travels. I decided to give 2 a try this past weekend, both of which were easy to execute and had my husband and I scooping up leftover sauce with our naan bread.
One of the dishes was a vegetable curry that I am going to tweak and make my own to share on the blog down the road. The other was for Chana Masala which is one of my personal favorites. I think that even if you aren’t a fan of chickpeas, this dish will be hard to resist. Meera calls the dish “Workers’ Curry” because it is “the dish that sustains the nation” in her words. The humble chickpea is brought to a new level of deliciousness by sharing the pot with onions, garlic, ginger, green chile, onions and a spicy tomato sauce. Naan bread is critical to soak up all the lovely tomato sauce that may be left behind. A splendid vegetarian main dish or a side dish, your choice. Canned chickpeas work just fine but you can certainly soak dried beans and use those if you prefer. They do have a superior taste for sure.
This is another “quick meal” to add to your repertoire and it fits almost any season.
Looks like I will be purchasing Made in India which, combined with the recipes we took home from Shilpi’s class will give me lots of fun dishes to test out and share in the future!