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Monday, June 4, 2012

Upcoming Sessions this Summer

 Curry Flavors is happy to conduct sessions  and offer you Indian cuisine classes in Jersey City 


Lesson 1 Beginner's Session:  26 July 2013, 10.00 a.m to 12.30 p.m
2 .5 hours

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb
Description: Beginner's Session will attempt to explain the fundamentals of Indian Vegetarian Cuisine. In it we introduce the basic concepts of Baghar or tempering and the role of some key ingredients that underlie the cuisine. Simple, uncomplicated recipes will be explored making it a winsome experience. To find out more, click  http://curryflavors.blogspot.com/2011/12/lesson-1-beginners-session.html

Lesson 2 Spice-Of-Life: 2 .5 hours TBD

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/
Description: Spice-Of-Life will attempt to demystify the spices that go into the Indian curry and provide the fundamentals of simple, everyday home cooking in India. Through Show and Tell, it will teach the essential cooking techniques required to learn this cuisine in a simple and effective manner.To find out more, click http://curryflavors.blogspot.com/2011/12/lesson-2-spice-of-life.html
Note: To fully understand the nuances of Lesson 2, taking Lesson 1, Beginner's Session is  recommended

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/
Lesson 3 Mumbai Magic: 2 hours (TBD)

Description: To capture the pulsating mood of the streets of Mumbai and celebrate the resilience of the Mumbai spirit, Curry flavors introduces the popular streetfood. Hors d'oeuvre/ tapas/ mezze/zensai…call it what you want, it’s the finger-licking, hugely satisfying, richly rewarding food-on-the-move.
Mumbai Magic will discuss recipes that you can replicate without the sweat and toil to make your menu a coveted conversation piece!
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/

Curry Kids 
Have a kid who loves to cook or one going off to college? Want to teach him/her some essential home cooking skills? Here is an ideal workshop to be held in the Summer.
For more details, email curryflavors@gmail.com

NEW! Curry Flavors Events:

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/
'Custom' sessions put together for small groups of friends to celebrate/ share an occasion. Birthdays, Farewells, Congratulatory get-togethers, any reason to spend an intimate afternoon with someone special. To find out more, click http://curryflavors.blogspot.com
Dates & Menus are flexible. Weekends included.


For details contact: curryflavors@gmail.com




Friday, March 30, 2012

Mumbai Magic: Celebrating Street Food


 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/.  


The Lesson will feature : Vegetable Bhajiyas,Bombay Sandwiches, Chana Masala ( spiced chick-peas), Papdi-Chaat ( Crisps in tangy yogurt sauce) along with the sweet sour tamarind chutney and finger-licking cilantro chutneys.* and will discuss recipes that you can replicate without the sweat and toil to make your menu a coveted conversation piece. 
Class will be hands-on, where you learn to assemble, arrange, stack and spice up appetisers. I will also share Retail Information: How to go Indian Grocery Shopping. Which brands to buy and from where ?
All you want to know about Indian Grocery Shopping ( but were afraid to ask !) 



 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/.  
Click on the following links to see for yourself the popularity of this cuisine  
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/.  
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/.  
*Menu's are subject to change due to availability of ingredients and/or at chef's discretion

The theme will be 'Bollywood', so everyone can dress up in an Indian outfit or embellishment: tunics, scarves, jewelry, slippers, bags etc.Enjoy the food in the ambient setting of Bollywood music


 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/.  

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/.  

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/.  

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/.  
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/.  


 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/.  



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Commensality, the special bond between people who eat together.


Commensality (n.) is defined as fellowship at table; the act or practice of eating at the same table.
(http://thinkexist.com/dictionary/meaning/commensality/).

In today’s world, it’s a dying practice, a forgotten ritual. Immersed in our busy, ‘individual’ lives, we can easily drift away from the ones we care most about. Those dinner time moments when we teased and played, when we shared our feelings and communicated are becoming part of a distant past. This is when today's malaise, loneliness and isolation can take root which is why it is so important to revive this old ‘tradition’ of commensality.

Curry Flavors Events has been launched to revive this spark.  It is an invitation to embark on a culinary journey to forge strong ties and add flair and flavor to your special moments.

Curry Flavors Events are sessions put together for small groups of friends to celebrate/ share an occasion. Birthdays, Farewells, Graduation, Congratulatory get-togethers, any reason to spend an intimate afternoon with someone special. 
These events are carefully tailored to meet food preferences, presentation style and group size. I discuss table settings, ingredients, cooking processes and conduct a full demonstration. Of course, everyone enjoys the lunch.

The all-important cultural insights session is enjoyed by all as I share some lesser known 'nuggets' of Asia.
If you are planning a special event, come talk to me and I will work with you to put together something that is unique and unforgettable.

 Contact me on curryflavors@gmail.com

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cultural Cognizance has made me the Reluctant Raconteur


What are the various flavors of Curry Flavors? Sure there are the ones that emanate from the zesty ingredients we use or those that ooze from the simple cooking processes. But to make Curry Flavors more experiential, more enriching and definitely more empowering, there are the cultural flavors that I introduce to each session.
What is the significance of a banana leaf within the Indian cultural ethos or why is the ‘haldi’ (turmeric) ritual significant on an Indian Wedding?
What is the true reason that makes the simple ‘bindi',  an Indian Woman’s concealed energy and why are the ornate head-to-toe jewelry pieces that an Indian bride wears, her currency to ultimate freedom?
Through story-telling and dialogue, Curry Flavors seeks to explore and unravel the true significance of some cultural elements. The universality of the themes will surprise you, so come for the food but stay for the awakening!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

From My Curry House to Yours


http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/


I have often been asked “Hey Anita, can you tell me about a good Curry House here in Houston?” Many of my Brit friends confess that whilst in Houston, they miss curry the most. In fact one of them even told me that she looks forward to going back to the UK because she can have curry!! That is so believable! Curry is so much part of the British Heritage that the Chicken Tikka Masala is considered Britain’s National Dish ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tikka_masala) replacing the humble Fish and Chips.


And an American friend told me that she was introduced to Curry only a couple of years back (!!!).”Imagine all those years wasted because I had not discovered Chicken Curry”, she groaned! To make up for time lost, she said she craves it all the time, even including it on the family Christmas Dinner.
So when I am asked to recommend a ‘good’ Curry House, I calmly tell them, “It’s in your own house!”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/
I conducted the Spice-Of-Life Sessions last week to a full house. They were energetic and lengthy (remember no curry in a hurry!) as we went through the process in copious detail. The recipe and the spices unraveled themselves, revealing all those hidden therapeutic secrets held within. Who could think that bright yellow turmeric (curcumin) had the power to stave off deadly forms of cancer or that coriander could keep that blood sugar from soaring (anti-diabetic)? That capsaicin (chilly powder) actually released endorphins that gives us that OMG ! feeling. The list was endless: (http://www.doctormurray.com/books/the-encyclopedia-of-healing-foods/).
The vegetarian curry was no less popular. Just currying up some vegetables made them appetizing and finger-smacking! Paired with a dal, it’s the ideal protein- vitamin fix. No more boring salads, steamables and supplements when you could simply spice some vegetables up!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/
No wonder Curry is addictive and oh-so-flavorful!!!
I went through the origins of Indian cuisine, tracing back its roots to Ayurveda, the ancient treatise on health and longevity. It never ceases to amaze me that more than 5000 years ago, men wandered the forests picking up herbs and fruits, eking out miraculously healing powers from them. http://www.bluelotusayurveda.com/nutrition_art.html . The philosophy that Food (not drugs) is Medicine resonates strongly when endorsed by modern research. It becomes food for thought!
The ultimate validation was when the Dr. OZ show on 20th January recommended the Indian Diet to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It was yet another reason to dig in!!!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggieb/
So, my friends, whenever you go grocery shopping, buy that bunch of spices and get started on converting your own house into your Curry House.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lesson 1 - Beginner's Session 2 hours






 “Cuisine is the tactile connection we have to breathing history.
History and culture offer us a vibrant living society that we taste through cuisine.
All cuisine is a reflection of the society from which it emanates …
in the end cuisine is the result of culture”– Clifford Wright




For Indians, food is of paramount importance. It is a reflection of their culture, their personality and the range of their hospitality. Most important occasions, events and festivals are marked with carefully thought out menus and painstakingly assembled preparations. Even everyday meals are mostly sit-down affairs with the family. The lady of the house often waits on the rest of the family, serving out portions and making sure everyone has had a fair share of the meal which usually comprises two to three main course dishes, accompaniments like pickles, chutneys and papadums and eaten with rice and roti (bread),rounded off with a piece of dessert or ‘sweet dish’.

"The mere smell of cooking can evoke a whole civilization" - -Fernand Brandel

 At first sight, cooking up a delicious Indian meal may seem daunting. In today’s busy life, it can seem too time intensive. The recipe may require a plethora of ingredients which is enough to put one off. Then there is preparation to be done: lentils to be soaked and vegetables to be diced, chopped or pureed. Breads to be hand-rolled and various processes to be adhered to! But the dividends are enormous! When an Indian meal is being prepared, the aroma wafts through the air and invigorates the senses. It acts as a huge draw with the whole family anticipating an exciting meal-time together. It is truly a multi-sensory experience.


The Vegetarian Angle,
Although Indian cuisine does comprise a vast variety of meat and seafood preparations, India is perhaps the only country that is traditionally vegetarian. All over India one is able to savor a wonderful variety of fresh, healthy vegetarian food and not feel deprived of taste or gratification The country’s bounty is reflected in the primary role vegetables play in its cuisine. Onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes form the starting point of many recipes. Eggplants, squashes, okra, potatoes and various greens like spinach and mustard often comprise the entree whilst the ubiquitous legumes: lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas or kidney beans form the staple protein fix. Sprinklings of fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, dill, fennel and fenugreek add a delicate flavor making it the 'original finger-licking good' meal.

Lesson 1 will attempt to explain the fundamentals of this cuisine. In it we introduce the basic concepts of Baghar or tempering and the role of some key ingredients that underlie the cuisine. Simple, uncomplicated recipes will be explored making it a winsome experience. We guarantee that at the end of the session you will be able to construct an authentic vegetarian home-cooked meal and feel confident enough to try out the more complex curries and kababs that comprise this ambrosial cuisine.

Menu:  Indian Vegetarian

 Daal Makhani ( Black Gram lentil soup),
 Palak Paneer ( Cottage Cheese and spinach) 
 Cumin pulao ( Fragrant Basmati Rice with Cumin)
 Papadum
 Cilantro Chutney
     ( Indian Spiced Tea) *  


    Each session  includes the demonstration, recipes and  insights. 
    For more details, please email 
    *Menu's are subject to change due to availability of ingredients and/or at chef's discretion

    Trivia: The ubiquitous Indian adornment: Indian Bindi (The Dot on the Forehead): Why is it worn, what does it mean?

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Terms of Endearment, Words of Encouragement



    Some impressions that I received from my students........






    Hi Anita, Today was so enjoyable - our neighborhood has indeed gained a treasure. Looking forward to the next session. Christy Adams 


    Hi Anta,
    Thanks for making our last class so enjoyable. I have enjoyed all of them and hope to continue my "education" in the future. As always the classes seem to bring together a very eclectic and international group which makes the experience even more enjoyable. Jeane

    Dear Anita,
    I just want to thank you for wonderful session today.
    I have enjoyed every minute of it. The food - eating and preparation, the product recommendation, the cultural talk, and of course, the Bollywood contest!
    Your backyard actually was very beautiful with the flowers and the trees, and good thing we had some breeze while we were there. EikoTashiro

    Hi Anita
    Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable time today - what a great mix of socializing, learning and exercise! All in a beautiful, relaxed and humourous environment. Thank you so much for all the work and organisation you put into it! And thank you also for the lovely Paisley pattern scarf and the fan - so nice to get a prize for having fun! Jan Albert-Recht

    Hi Anita
    As always, I really had a great time learning new things about the Indian culture.  I’m getting smart every time! Munbai Magic was especially fun, having a picnic-like class out in the yard, playing games and chit-chatting! Thanks to my precious life line, I even won such a fun gift!  Thank you so much! I also look forward to the grocery shopping tour! Yuko Yamada


    Dear Anita,
    Thoroughly enjoyed the session this morning, your passion for food and sharing your experiences made it extra special. Looking forward to the next one. Hari Kitching
     
    Dear Anita, Thank you so much for having us all over and showing us some of your great cooking knowledge.I had a great time and cannot wait until the next session. Astrid Kuehner



    Hi Anita,I really enjoyed Curry Flavours at your place last week, it was a real treat and something different to do, especially as I am so fond of curry!
    I thought it was a great idea to send out the recipes as we could all get familiar with what you were going to make and of course they are great for us to have.  I made the chutney and poppadums for a starter that night and my husband was very happy!!
    I am very much looking forward to the next meeting and seeing all the new faces again. Suzie Drummond



    Thanks Anita for a great and informative cooking demo, Indian food, is just so tasty, looking forward to curry flavouring in 2012.

    Hello Anita.

    The curry class was fantastic not only because of the beautiful food that you taught us to make, but also the atmosphere that you created - the music and all of the cultural background involved. I learned a lot about your Indian customs and for me it was a very fascinating time in your home. Patricia


    Anita,Thank you so much for having us all over and showing us some of your great cooking knowledge.


    Hi Anita, I thoroughly enjoyed your class! Loved everything about it. What a unique concept. I liked the whole cultural learning experience and the food was great. Liked learning the cooking techniques and tips and eating the yummy food afterward. Keep up the great work!! I am looking forward to more…Lisa Carpenter


    Hi Anita, I just cant wait for the next cooking lesson to come up. I really enjoyed the food today and the good company. Thank you for sharing your cooking skills. I will serve this menu for the whole family when I get all the ingredients in house, and thank you ladies for all the info for best places to shop in Houston. Now time for a good cup of tea. Have a good one! Anne :0)


    Hi Anita, I really enjoyed today, you are a wonderful and informative host! I will be trying all of the recipes you featured today, and will let you know how it goes. I have always enjoyed cooking and eating curries, and I am glad to have some help from you to improve the flavor of my food. Knowing the right way to "temper" the spices will change how I make curry. Everything was excellent, from the food, to the insight into Indian life, to your charming son, thanks again to you both, Ann

    Dear Anita,
    Well I must say that your Curry Flavors “delivered” on all the things I thought were important: the first being recipes easy to replicate at home without allot of added expense; very tasty which means that I would want to make it for my family; the various cultural exchange that we are all truly "one “ no matter the color of our skin or our accent!  :) and of course the sisterly sharing that is so indicative of being women. Love the cultural exchange. I thank you for so easily pouring out of yourself to make "Curry Flavors”.Jude Ann Yehl


    Dear Anita

    I am very happy that we met and you invited me to join this class.
    Today was just fantastic - a perfect way of spending several hours of the day by taking this journey through culture, senses and tastes in a wonderful company and led by such a great hostess. It has been very inspirational for me. 


    Thank you for organizing this, being such a fantastic hostess and teacher, and sharing your knowledge, experience and personal sparkle with us. 
    I truly appreciated it and look forward to our next session.


    I just loved the way you ran this class and engaged all of us in discussions on so many different topics which just magically fit together: cooking, health, our backgrounds, families, experiences, etc etc. 


    Last but not least, the food was just yummy and I enjoyed it so much (and I am sure my growing baby did too :). I can't wait to try making it at home.


    P.S. I loved the idea with goodie bags which we can take home and have a start-up kit on the recipes we just learned! 
    Veronika Demichelis

    Hi Anita:
    Just wanted to say thank you again for a lovely lunch on Friday.  I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a few hours – a wonderful learning experience, making new friends, and sharing a delicious meal!
    I thought you might find it interesting  (and timely) to hear that on a nutrition segment of The Today Show this morning, black lentils were recommended as kind of a “super food” for 2012.  So all of us who have attended your Curry Flavors class are way ahead of the trend with our tasty recipe for Daal Makhani! -Lisa Rawl

     "Thanks for a fun morning Anita. great to be learning at the same time as having fun. Loved your delivery and personal input. Met some lovely ladies. I feel India Mart calling me:) Would love to do curry class. Thanks and see you soon. 
    X " "Neezie"Denise Munro
    Dear Anita,
    I just want to thank you for wonderful session today.
    I have enjoyed every minute of it.The food - eating and preparation, the product recommendation, the cultural talk, and of course, the Bollywood contest!
    Your backyard actually was very beautiful with the flowers and the trees, and good thing we had some breeze while we were there. Eiko 

    Thanks for making our last class so enjoyable. I have enjoyed all of them and hope to continue my "education" in the future. As always the classes seem to bring together a very eclectic and international group which makes the experience even more enjoyable.

    Thank YOU dear Anita,
    It was such a magic day - full of colour, light and vibrance. You have a talent for organizing such unforgettable events. I hope there will be more of them in the future!



    Dear Anita,





    Thanks Anita for a great and informative cooking demo, Indian food, is just so tasty, looking forward to curry flavouring in 2012. Jenny Mills




    Anita,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful cooking class as well as your introduction to the Indian culture.  I thoroughly enjoyed the day, enriched with exotic Indian culture.  All in my family love Indian dishes , and I look forward to joining your next cooking class together with your presentation of Indian culture.  And  I certainly hope my friends can join some time. Thanks again!  And please also thank your handsome son! -Yuko Yamada

    Hello Anita.


    Thanks Anita for opening your home and your heart and sharing your knowledge of cooking and your home India.


    Hi Anita,
     Really enjoyed Curry Flavours at your place last week, it was a real treat and something different to do, especially as I am so fond of curry!

    Hi Anita,
    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed our get together last week! It really was fun and you are a master of story telling!! I could listen to many more...! Of course the food was delicious and I will be having a go very soon. I also loved seeing all your beautiful art work. I wish you all success with this venture - I'm sure it will be very popular!!Grace Terroir




    Hi Anita, I really enjoyed today, you are a wonderful and informative host! I will be trying all of the recipes you featured today, and will let you know how it goes. I have always enjoyed cooking and eating curries, and I am glad to have some help from you to improve the flavor of my food. Knowing the right way to "temper" the spices will change how I make curry. Everything was excellent, from the food, to the insight into Indian life, to your charming son, thanks again to you both, Ann Sinclair


    Hi Anita,
    I enjoyed your class and all the wonderful insights you shared with us. I felt you did a great job introducing me to Indian culture, food, and history. Growing up in the U.S. I have not really been exposed to that culture until the last few years and I think I learned quite a bit today. I will check out your blog soon to see what's going on there. Jeanne Vrakas

    Dear Anita
    Thank you for a lovely morning and delicious lunch yesterday. You made us all feel so welcome in your beautiful home.
     I made up a recipe last night for supper based on your ideas and the paneer I took home. It actually turned out rather well so thank you for the inspiration! Marjory

    Dear Anita,
    Thank you for a lovely afternoon.  What a great concept, atmosphere and wonderful mix of women to get to know.  I can't wait to try making some of the recipes and exploring more Indian cuisine.  I found the balance of the whole session perfect, from the number of guests, and the amount of food to the cooking demonstration and cultural information.  
    Thanks again for a great experience and I can't wait of for the next Curry Flavour session. Julie Marshall




    Anita, You and my fellow students very successfully curried my favor yesterday!  It was a greryone, to learn from you all, and to enjoy the fruits (and veggies, herbs and spices) of your labor.  I look forward to our further culinary and cultural adventures. Kathy


    Dear Anita,
    Thanks so much for the Curry Flavors experience - it was great morning learning about the food and culture and meeting lots of interesting women.
    The mix of conversation, cooking and learning about the ingredients was great. Giving us our own little note books was a great idea - a lovely souvenir of the day and now it has useful notes in it too.I look forward to hearing more about the Curry Flavors experience. Alison
    Anita,

    Thank you all for making Curry Flavors come alive!