Renowned for its intense flavours, Indian cuisine tends to be one of the many highlights and attractions of visiting India. Although imitated across the world, no one quite manages to cook their food like they do. If Indian cuisine is a skill you want to master, then who better to learn from than a traditional Indian family. For 650 INR (approx. 9.7 USD), Meera and her Flavour Cooking Class in Fort Kochi, Kerala, will teach and inspire you to spend a little bit more time in the kitchen.
Booking the lesson
Choosing a cooking class can be tricky as it is hard to separate the good ones from the, well, not so good ones. Fort Kochi, Kerala is a quirky town with numerous cooking classes to offer. Most of which have little signs dotted around in shop windows. Flavour Cooking Class offers popular Indian dishes and enables you to try a variety of herbs and spices. Directed in a family home, there is a real sense of authenticity and traditional Indian life. Your teachers, husband and wife duo, are welcoming and informative.
Although slightly unconventional, the most common way for travellers to book is turning up on her doorstep. For example, if you want to prepare an evening meal, arriving at midday to give Meera time to gather the ingredients is ideal. Or, if you want to cook at lunch time, inform her the day before. Although an unusual way to go about booking, it works.
Let the cooking commence
Arriving at the front gates of Meera’s house situated in the centre of Fort Kochi town, you will be welcomed into her family home. Walking through the sitting room you will be led to the traditional kitchen. The colourful kitchen and spices which have been displayed creates a real sense of excitement! The flavours are so intense and aromatic that the smell surrounding you is completely mouth-watering.
A small stove is at the head of the room with two chairs sat in front of it, (these are for you) laid out in a classroom like manner. Before the cooking commences you are kindly asked to wash your hands and sit down.
Meera and her husband are incredibly warm and welcoming yet very professional. Gathering around the table, Meera talks you through the menu and the ingredients you will be using.
Once you have learnt about the preparation and complimenting ingredients, Meera’s husband demonstrates making a chapatti, (Indian flatbread). Next it is your go and the technique is repeated until you have mastered it. Questions are welcome throughout and you are reassured as Meera’s husband repeats, “very good, very good”.
The quantity of ingredients makes roughly twelve chapattis which are then stored in a heated container until the rest of the menu is complete
Ready for some dal
India is known for their diverse range of meat and vegetable curries. You will learn how to make three types of vegetable curry that can be altered for adding meat. You start with vegetable masala and dal fry.
Dal fry is a fried lentil dish and is absolutely scrummy! It is a quick dish that takes roughly three minutes on a high flame. Meera quickly passes you ingredients to keep up with the cooking, which can be somewhat humorous. The smell of coriander and cumin is intense and has you eager to fill your plate.
Kindly, Meera has the spices and vegetables already prepared so you can spend more time eating than chopping. You will be directed through the recipe and assisted when you’re not stirring properly – oops! As the ingredients come together it really is hard to avoid sticking your finger in to try it.
After a few minutes of cooking one curry you will promptly move on to the next.
Save the best til last: vegetable roast and dry vegetable curry
You may have caught on to the vegetable theme in this cooking class, but due to the cost of meat it is more common for families to often eat vegetarian. Continuing this pattern, you will now be making potentially the tastiest dish on the menu.
Last, but certainly not least, you have the final part of your feast. The vegetable roast takes only minutes to prepare, so sadly your cooking lesson comes to a sudden finish … Now all you have to do is tuck in!
Go home with skills, spices and a happy tummy
This is not only ideal for real food lovers, but for travellers who really want to experience Indian food at its best. Take home Meera’s menu and you can recreate the same delicious dishes from your own kitchen – a perfect way to give yourself chef status.
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