Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Tantalising Indian Cuisine!

Tantalising Tastebuds! on Indian Cooking...

A day with the Charismatic May Isaac in Kenmore Hills, was again an enjoyable experience. It was a treat to myself, beginning with a drink, in a tropical setting by the pool & Oven Baked Vegetable Samosa's. 

After meeting the other guests, we were introduced into The Art of preparing Coffee & Tea in India.
As May demonstrates the procedure, she takes you on a journey into India, regaling memories of her childhood in India & her Venture outside into The Modern World.

May constantly transports you on a journey to India with the use of Herbs, Spices & food from different regions. After checking into the kitchen studio, a visit to the garden to pick seasonal herbs & spices. In a reasonably small area, there was a substantial array of plants. We were introduced to herb by crushing, tasting & smelling the foliage. After cutting stems, leaves, berries & fruit, May brought out a treat, a Palette Cleanser on a Beetle Leaf. It was the most delicious natural sweet treat I've tasted.

Returning to the kitchen a lesson on preparing perfect rice. There are hundreds of different rices, today's rice was Basmati.

" Spices & Herbs" peppers, cinnamon, star anise, brown cardamon, cloves, allspice berries, bayleaves, tulsie, lemon verbena, mint, paprika, borage (5 herb plant), vanilla orchid, mustard, ginger, tumeric, galangal, white tumeric, white wasabi, horseradish, apple mint, vietnamese mint, perpetual coriander, mushroom herb & more...

Salt was the next introduction, Himalayan, Black Indian Salt, tasting the salts for the different flavours. The pungent taste of a black salt was the sulphur content & tasted of boiled egg. You can imagine how this salt would add flavour to bland food, especially if you were short of ingredients.

May continued on by making a refreshing Iced Tea
 from our collection from the garden.

Prepared ingredients for a smooth cook-up makes life easier in the Kitchen. Chicken Curry is the first recipe we cooked, It's amazing the spices that go into this recipe. May explains how cooking the ingredients releases the flavours & aromas to perfect the final result. 

Prawn Vindaloo was next on the menu, this recipe originated from Goa  &  is Anglo-Indian. Easily adaptable with Pork or Chicken.

The group paired off into couples to prepare 4 Baked Fish recipes, wrapped in paper, banana leaves & foil.

Making Indian Breads took some energy in kneading. First we made Chapattis, then Puris. May prepared a potato & mince dish to be eaten with Puris. 

So the tasting began!  When the bread was cooked on a hot flat skillet, it was time to serve up the dishes. The Chicken was hot & spicy for me, but delicious! Couldn't fault the Prawns! After tasting the 4 Fish dishes, I preferred the Asian Style Fish in paper.  The Puris enveloping the mince & potato was very morish, likening it to hollow potato scallop filled with mince. 

Puris Aloo Masala "Spiced Potatoes"

My photos that follow will show you the process of making Puris & Chapattis.
The puris were kneaded, rolled, flattened with a rolling pin, then dipped into hot oil to fry. Mine is the flat one on the left, while the one on the right puffed up and separated when cooked.
The Chapattis from the same mix, were larger     fried on a hot flat skillet.

The finger in the dough, shows when the dough has been kneaded enough. When it doesn't spring back, it's ready to roll. 

My first experiment with new found flavours, were Poached Pears.

I cut my pears in half & cored them. Then added
a good splash of Dolcetta & Syrah, a fruity, ripe raspberry flavoured wine. A cinnamon stick, a Star Anise & a dried bay leaf (as far I know it was a bay leaf, but it had a lemon scented aroma).
I simmered & turned the pears twice, so they'd end up on their flat side, then reduced the Jus to a caramel, sticky gooey sauce. True to Low Carb High Fat, I served them up with Fresh Cream. 

After cooking most of my life with very basic flavour, I want to learn to experiment, but get to know the flavours of these different herbs & spices, know where they'll work well & gently enhance my cooking to excite the Palette! I love the smell of Star Anise, a lovely licorice smell.

May Isaac started her business with pre-packing herbs & spices specific to different Indian recipes. May hosts Indian Cooking Classes in the Kenmore Hills suburb of Leafy Western Brisbane.

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