entering the land of the gods

a study abroad journey

Cooking Class #2

For our second cooking class we made an entire lunch!

Lesson #1: Roti

Roti is very simple to make. Combine flour and salt in a bowl and add water slowly, kneading until the dough is thick. Then form the dough into small balls about the size of a ping pong ball. Like this:

IMG_1410Next roll the dough into a circle. Bhavani emphasized that the dough should not be too thin or too thick, you simply know by feel how thick it should be!

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IMG_1404Then, on a hot skillet, bake the dough. When the dough begins to bubble a bit, flip the dough. Flip it again when larger bubbles form. There should be black bubbles on each side! Be careful of too much flour on the dough as it will burn on the pan. Note that the pan used is like a flat iron skillet! It just has a slight lip on the edges.

IMG_1421Place the baked roti in a covered bowl or warming dish to stay hot…or wait till the end and make the roti last! After all, there is nothing better than garam roti (hot roti!)

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Lesson #2: Aloo Palak

Aloo Palak literally means potato and spinach which you combine with spices. First assemble your ingredients:IMG_1427

  • 8 bunches of spinach (palak)
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (aloo)
  • 1 red onion, diced (pyaz)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (lasahun)
  • 1 piece ginger, minced (adarak)
  • 5 fresh green chilies (whole) (mirch)
  • 1 tsp whole mustard seedsIMG_1426
  • 1-2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 whole dried chilies
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 small bunch curry leaves

First, put the spinach and green chilies in a pot with a touch of water. Toss until spinach is tender and slightly wilted. Strain the spinach (saving the water) and let cool. Then place the spinach in a blender until smooth and set aside. Look at that gorgeous color!

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Start a new pot with a bit of sunflower oil. When hot, add garlic, mustard seed, cumin, and whole dried chilies. After the mixture infused for a few minutes add the onion. Cook some more. Then add the potato, curry leaves, and turmeric, tossing until combined.

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Cover the pot. Cook until the potatoes are al dante. Add the spinach mixture, extra water, and chili powder. Cover once again and boil until the potatoes are tender. Season with salt and coriander.

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Lesson #3: Dessert- Bread Jamun

Bread Jamun is similar to Gulab Jamun in the fact that it is a fried sweet ball, but Bread Jamun is made of bread rather than a dough.

Start with a loaf of bread. Cut off all of the crusts. Take a square of bread and wet it slightly with water (pani). Place a few golden raisins (kishamish) and cashews (kaju) at the center. Then squish the bread into a pouch, forming a ball. You must moisten the bread as needed to form a cohesive ball.

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Next, heat a pan with oil. Fry the balls in the hot oil until brown and crispy!

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Meanwhile, combine a cup of water (pani), 1/4 cup of sugar (cini), and 1/2 of jaggery to pot and simmer. Add the fried balls to the syrup! Can be served warm or at room temperature.

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In the future, I think it would be really delicious to add cardamom pods or cloves to the syrup for an added spice! Also, you may be wondering…what is jaggery!? Jaggery is a traditional, unrefined cane sugar. It is made of sugar cane and the sap of the date palm tree. It is formed into a hard, golden block and can be shaved easily.

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We ate our lunch picnic style on the floor! How delicious!

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