The staff at Chiropractic Balance had a great team experience at Sheila’s Indian Kitchen: dinner with a twist- we had to cook it ourselves! I chose this cooking class because they catered for a small group of six and thought it would be a bit different to a standard meal out. What I wasn’t expecting was the amazing passion and knowledge host Anu Gupta shared, as well as so many tips to make Indian food not only incredibly tasty but also healthy and easy to digest.
We begun by making our own Paneer (a firm cottage cheese) by heating organic milk (non-organic doesn’t seem to give same result) and adding an acid to separate, then draining through a muslin cloth and leaving to set. I was amazed by the simplicity of the process as I eat a lot of Paneer and have never previously considered making it myself.
Naan and Roti
Next was the dough for naan (white flour) and roti (wholemeal flour). There were many little additions to the dough like using yoghurt and carom seeds to help with the digestion of wheat. Once these had risen we learnt how to stuff them with various ingredients including spiced potato, coriander and red onion or covering them in garlic and ghee. The result was by far the tastiest naan and roti I have ever had. Interestingly I am gluten intolerant and did not experience any of my usual symptoms after eating these.
The curry for the evening was Shahi Paneer, a rich dish that is saved for special occasions. We were given the printed recipes to follow, Anu is so intuitive that she seemed to be able to judge the perfect amount of everything without measuring. She uses canned tomatoes because of their richer red colour, and adds asafoetida which is a spice that significantly increases the digestibility of the food. And the secret ingredient was adding kasoori methi at the end whichin Anu’s opinion makes it taste restaurant quality every time.
This curry wasn’t accompanied by plain rice, we made cumin basmati rice which had all sorts of spices, nuts and raisins. Anu recommends always going for the most expensive rice and commented that better rice absorbs more water so you actually get a greater yield too. Her favourite is Daawat basmati rice.
We spent two hours making all of these dishes whilst enjoying a glass of wine (you can bring your own beverages) and a naan or two, then sat down together to devour our creation together. Every one agreed that the flavours of the bread, curry and rice were better than what most us had ever experienced and to have actually cooked it ourselves gave confidence that we should be able to do it again!
Whilst we sat and enjoyed our dinner Anu did all of the dishes and also whipped up Halva for dessert. Time flew by and ninety minutes later we finally finished eating, laughing and chatting. Not only was the evening great for my culinary skills, but amazingly after eating about twice what I normally would, I was not bloated or gassy. I am really keen to grasp these skills to a greater level so that I can make delicious indian food and be kind on my body at the same time.