Food is a conversation starter, a way to get to know other cultures and engage in dialogue around the table. This is where our connection blossoms. We love to feed people and make them relaxed, like they are dining in their own home.
Global Seasons had our second home dining event, the Indian Cooking Workshop. It was another sunny day and our home was bright with colorful flowers and incense.
With the exception of jira raita, all dishes were vegan. They came to dine with us, taste some Indian dishes and will hopefully practice them when they return home.
Everybody arrived punctually and we had a small introduction together with our guests. We asked everybody to wash their hands and poured kolonya (a refreshing Turkish cologne) into their hands – a Turkish ritual when serving guests. This cologne is 80 percent alcohol with a lemon fragrance and is sanitizing as well as rejuvenating.
Afterwards, everybody got involved with the food in the kitchen. Neeru was our chef, giving tips about the main ingredients for an Indian dish. What makes the dish Indian? Is garam masala really needed in every dish or not? The answer was no. She kept our guests’ full attention during the workshop while she offered an informative discourse to our guests so they can practice these simple, healthy and delicious dishes at home, perfectly spiced with no fire alarms.
Neeru started the workshop first with Tarka Dal, Indian lentil soup. Then, Aloo Gobhi (potatoes with cauliflower), Poha (Indian rice flakes) and Jira Raita (yoghurt with cumin).
While the poha cooked in the pan, I was preparing ingredients for coconut laddoos, sweet coconut balls, and prepping them with Roxana. Dina and Roxana were our stars in the kitchen. While the coconut mixture was over the flame, Roxana kept stirring it so the coconut powder would not stick. Eventually you get an even mixture of the coconut powder, coconut milk, oil, salt and jaggery. (Jaggery is an unrefined sugar made from sugar cane juice or palm sap and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color.) When the mixture was ready to make the balls, Dina helped me roll them.
It was a very pleasant dinner. We were happy to see that everyone left that evening with a smile and the satisfaction of a tasty feast in their bellies.