What’s Ghee? (and other reasons I was afraid of cooking Indian food)

14 Jan

Garam masala, dal, ghee: all intimidating terms that once scared me out of trying to cook anything I enjoyed at an Indian restaurant. Even if I knew what these ingredients were, I didn’t know which to buy or how to put them together. With these fears, I paid $20 for sometimes good and sometimes mediocre dishes I could have made myself for a lot less and (maybe) better.

Last week I won a Boston Food Bloggers giveaway for a cooking class on Indian food from Boston Center for Adult Education. Winning anything is exciting – and food/travel prizes are my faves – so this was fun to look forward to. On Friday I made my way through wind, snow, and MBTA to the Around the World in $15 class. Instructor Priyanka Sancheti taught us how to make a mango lassi, chicken masala, and a simple veggie salad.

If you have absolutely no knowledge base and want to learn about a cuisine new to you (and particularly if this idea is super frightening), hands-on and in-person is the way to go. You’ll be able to take in scent of a spice combination, see the consistency of a sauce, and understand timing in a way that can’t be explained through written recipes.

With confidence from learning how to make chicken masala, I put together a curry the other night, no recipe! Over the next few weeks I’ll post some recipes from my experimentations.

So what is ghee? It’s just clarified butter, you can use it like oil or butter in cooking, but it has its own distinct flavor. See? More comfortable already!


3 Responses to “What’s Ghee? (and other reasons I was afraid of cooking Indian food)”

  1. kitchenmisfit January 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    LOVE Indian food. I made butter chicken a few weeks ago and was really proud of the results! There’s just so many flavors and spices in Indian food that makes it so fantastic!

  2. rsmacaalay January 16, 2011 at 2:35 am #

    Looking forward to your Indian dish masterpieces!

  3. Elizabeth January 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    Fun! I’ve had a few Indian food successes, not many. My friend who was brought up in a half Indian household makes wonderful curries and lassies. Can’t wait to see your experiments!

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