The past few days have been a blessed whirlwind because as I mentioned last time,Saturday the 12th was my 26th birthday! So yes—the title may be a bit deceiving but if you really think about it, I have had 26 birthdays up to date!
It’s still pretty amazing to me that I’ve come this far in years and I’m sloooooowly making my way out of my mid-20’s. Haha! Even though I’ve never been one to be “excited” to celebrate my birthday, I truly feel like every year gets better and better….and thus, my birthday also becomes more memorable as I get older.
This time we had Selah join us in the festivities which makes my 26th year pretty darn special. As if that wasn’t special enough, I also had a spectacular date night with Greg yesterday.
Greg knew that the only thing I really wanted this year was just to have a fun date night together. Being the romantic and thoughtful man that he is, he enrolled us at the amazing Gourmandise School of Savories and Sweets, located by the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Remember how he sent me off to a cupcake class by myself last year? Well, this time they had plenty of space and we ended up in a couple’s Indian cooking class.
As you can tell from my previous posts, Greg and I both looooooooove Indian food and it’s probably one of our favorite ethnic cuisines ever!!!
I was beyond ecstatic when we stepped into the classroom because Indian cooking is one of those that have always intrigued me, yet intimidated the life out of me at the same time. I have attempted it in the past and let’s just say that it wasn’t too successful….
Well, our awesome chef/instructor, Senthil, broke that myth because he showed us how to do everything step by step.
We made 5 different dishes and here I am preparing the dough for the bread, which is called Phulka. This particular bread requires a minimal amount of ingredients and puffs up when it’s cooked straight on the stove—that is, only if it’s at the right thickness level.
As you can tell form the picture, ours only rose slightly in certain parts. Sometimes they would start to puff up on the stove and floooooomm…They ended up dying on us, haha.
Greg cooking and enjoying it at the same time made me smile so big! He looks pretty cool, doesn’t he?
This dish is the South Indian Chicken Curry, and all we could say throughout the meal was “mmmmmm”. It’s one of those dishes that you would typically order at a restaurant. The kind that gives off a slight tang, a super spicy flavor and a mysterious earthiness altogether. This was probably our favorite dish and we were rather proud of ourselves. I mean, wouldn't you be as well?
What you see up above is the Chettinadu Lamb Biriyani. It’s very mild in flavor but has a good number of ingredients going into the pot! The lamb was extremely tender (surprisingly) and didn’t have that gamey taste. It was tasty, but nothing close to the spicy chicken curry.
The white rice you see at 5 o’clock is the Jeera (Cumin) Pulao rice. Pulao is basically a method of cooking rice in which you first brown the spices with the rice in an oil type substance. Then, it is cooked in stock/water and boiled until it’s thoroughly tender. The herbs and spices are what make this dish so unique!
We used ghee for this method of cooking. It was so delicious and it made the whole kitchen smell incredible! Ghee=yummier than butter itself.
The white stuff you see at 11 o’clock is Onion Raita, and although it may not look like much it not only adds variety to the whole course of the meal, but it’s also used to neutralize the palate. At first I was skeptical that it would work very well…but you know what? It works as soon as you place it on your tongue! It’s like the acidity of the onion and yogurt mixture fizzles out the flavors of the food you just ate. Whoever thought of this method is a genius!
According to our instructor, Senthil, the uniqueness of Indian cuisine is mainly characterized by this one fact. THE FLAVORS YOU GET IN A PARTICULAR DISH HAVE EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE ORDER OF THE HERBS AND SPICES!!!!!! Basically, the first ingredients to go into the pot are the main flavors you should be able to taste.
It was quite an eye opening tip for me because it explains why I can never get Indian dishes to taste the way they’re supposed to.
It was such a wonderful experience to go out together (alone without a baby, lol) and learn something new to us. I highly recommend The Gourmandise to anyone who’s interested in different types of cooking and baking!
And...here's an obligatory cute picture of Selah, who's almost 4 months already! Whoa. You can tell on my Instagram that I'm obsessed with photographing her, hehe.
Does Indian cuisine intimidate you as well? Have you attempted to make it before?
Would you choose a cooking or baking class?