Cooking Indian food with Ren

Last Christmas Rich surprised me with his gift for me – a day cooking course at Ren’s kitchen

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I’ve had an absolutely brilliant day. We started out by actually tasting the spices we were going to use and thinking about what type of flavour they would add – aromatic spices are used for depth of flavour (cumin, mustard seeds, coriander), spices like chilli and pepper for heat and other spices which can be offensive if you use too much – like turmeric which has an antiseptic flavour on its own or garlic for some people (not me).

Ren then showed use how to make her magic paste by blending ginger and fresh chillis (I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing!). We used the paste to add heat to all of the dishes we made today and it’s been a complete revelation, I am sure I will always have some ready in my fridge from now on.

My problem so far in making curries at home is that they never taste as good as the ones you get in restaurants, I think it’s the depth of flavour that has been missing mainly. Ren showed us her base curry recipe- I was so surprised by how quick it was to make a tasty thick sauce, which only needed the meat adding – in this case chicken – and left to cook until the chicken was done.

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Next we made saag aloo:

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Lamb kebabs which we had with a cucumber raita (which I forgot to take a picture of):

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And some vegetable pakoras (which, fyi, are the same as bhajis):

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We also made special basmati rice, chappatis and a sweet Indian desert.

The best thing about today was not just making the recipes and learning a set number if dishes, but learning new skills to tweak and create my own dishes.

I’m looking forward to a lot more Indian cooking.

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Christina Hunter

I'm a personal trainer who loves to cook and eat so I started a blog to share my food, recipes and experiences.

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