Home Cooked Meal

Throughout our trip we have had the chance to test out many delicious curries and Indian meals so when we saw a sign advertising for cooking classes Dad, James and I  jumped at the chance to learn how to make them. We signed up for a lunchtime class that went for three hours and taught us to cook five dishes – all of which we got to eat at the end.

We arrived at the home of Mukti, our teacher for the day, and were welcomed into her kitchen with a drink and she explained how the day would work. We were joined by two Polish girls who had been travelling India after a wedding so we had lots to chat about as we waited for the class to start. The first meal we cooked was a mushroon masala and I stepped up to help Mukti and one of the other girls out while James and Dad played scribe and photographer. The meal was fairly simple to make although it did have a lot of ingrediants just to make it perfectly spicy. The second meal was a Paneer Mutter which basically means ‘cheese and peas’. Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese and is used as a substitute for meat quite often in their vegetarian meals. This one came with a Masala based sauce using many of the same spices and ingrediants as the last one.

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Then it came to the funnest part of the class – making chapati. Chapati is a thin bread made of flour, salt and water then cooked in a pan. We got taught how to mix and knead it before watching a demo on how to prepare and cook them. It looked like a simple case of rolling them flat, putting them in the pan and then to make it fluffy popping them straight on the flame. Once we got down to doing our own I found out it is a lot harder then it looks. I couldn’t quite get my chapati evenly round so they ended up a bit wonky when I put it on the flame. We sat down to eat the two curries with the chapati and they all tasted OK even if they were wonky. The two curries were delicious and full of flavour although I did prefer the mushroom Masala so will probably try that one again at home!

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After our lunch it was onto the next stage which was to cook Biryani – a sort of Indian fried rice. All of us were fans of the dish so we made sure we paid close attention to how it was done. Once again I was surprised at the amount of ingrediants used just to flavour the vegetables that were going to be thrown through the rice. Its looking like I may have to invest in the seven traditional spices that are used just so I can re-create the meal. The final dish was what I was looking forward to the most – dessert! We were taught how to make Halwa which is a carrot based dish. Basically you grate carrot, pour sugar, butter and milk over the top and boil away the liquid before serving. Sounds like a weird mixture but I can guarantee it was delicious! As was our Biryani!

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With notepads full of recipes and our tummys full of food we said goodbye to Mukti and headed home to hit the beach. It was a really fun experience and I think it won’t be the last time I do a cooking class while travelling. Plus after two months of eating out for every meal it was nice to have a sort of home cooked meal. That afternoon we wandered Calangute Beach and watched the fishermen bring in their haul. They were calling out for volunteers so Dad jumped in to lend a hand and along with lifeguards, beach goers, westerners and locals they got it in safely. We watched the men unroll their nets and pop the fish in baskets to sell at the market as the local dogs tried to snack on the rejects.

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The rest of our time in Goa sped by in a haze of relaxing by the pool, strolls along the beach and afternoon cocktails. It was a fabulous ten days to finish up for night in the sunny state and we were lucky to have amazing company for both Palolem and Calangue. I wasn’t looking forward to leaving as I had enjoyed my first beach/resort holiday for about five years but with just over two weeks to go until the trip is over for good we couldn’t stick around. Next stop – Hampi!

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