Posted by: Kennedy | December 18, 2010

Tastes of India

One of my all-time favourite foods to order in is Indian. Butter chicken, tikka masala, vindaloo, aloo gobi, saag paneer… I just cannot get enough. Garlic naan? Yes please. I’ll take two.

Though I adore it, I don’t eat it as much as I’d like for two reasons.

1)   I’m inexperienced and kind of intimidated to make it myself.

2)   It’s expensive to order – especially if you aren’t sharing with a large group of spice-loving friends.

That’s why I was so thrilled when Joanna suggested that our next Cooking Club be Indian-themed. Brilliant.

We decided to ease our way into this cuisine by choosing a few vegetarian recipes: chana masala, aloo gobi and, of course, Jo’s top choice, saag paneer.

Once again, Ms. Sampson offered to host us in her fabulously large and fully-equipped kitchen, which we were particularly happy about as this cooking adventure required plenty of room and a good spice rack.

On this particular evening, we had a special dinner guest: my good friend Michelle. And like any guest worth her salt, she arrived bearing gifts – moments before the meal was ready to eat! (Just teasing Chelle – she would have loved to help us cook but her hectic schedule got in the way).

So the three of us split up the dishes – Sampson took on the chana masala, I tackled the aloo gobi, and naturally, Joanna prepared the paneer.

Sampson and her chana masala

Me and my aloo gobi

Jo and her paneer

And I have to say… we were all quite surprised at the level of ease it took to make our respective dishes.

We set to chopping and prepping our ingredients and found that we were ahead of ourselves, as the amount of cooking and simmering time was shorter than we’d expected.

This meant more time to chat, nibble on pre-dinner snacks and sip our chef’s juice – amaze.

But Jo and I soon realized we’d forgotten to pick up a key ingredient – naan! I frantically texted Michelle to come to our rescue and stop off at the grocery store on her way over. She saved the day.

I think the best part of the meal preparation was smelling all of the deliciousness as everything simmered and blended together on the stove top. Yes, Jo may have almost caught her sleeve on fire while leaning over to get in a good stir and sniff, but it would have almost been worth it, no?

Everything came together perfectly and we ate in satisfied silence. I underestimated the amount of salt required for my aloo gobi but the good news about that is you can always add more salt. At least that’s what the girls told me to make me feel better.

My confidence in cooking my favourite Indian dishes has skyrocketed. Next time, I’m totally attempting a butter chicken.

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