A local friend of ours and novice cook drummed up some interest in a cooking course, and we managed to fill up the Volkshochschule Regensburg‘s classroom kitchen on a recent Tuesday evening. Sarah and I attended with some new friends and some old ones to get our Indian cuisine on.
All of the ingredients are available locally in Regensburg, if you know where to look. I liked finding out pure German words for food items I’d only ever used in English. Examples:
It was a very relaxed, low-pressure evening. Our docent was very mild-mannered — perhaps even a bit too much so for typical German groupwork tastes. It seemed she knew what she was doing, but we sometimes needed to repeat our questions to her to decide how to proceed in a preparation step. But it was all low-stress and low-risk. We made(chai, chapatis and parathas with cilantro chutney), (Mater Paneer, Aloo Gobhi, Cumin Rice with Cashews and a Raita) and a (Halva).
The paneer took the longest, so that had to get started right away.
Sarah and I took over the chutney task. It came out well. Turns out there’s no big secret to getting fresh cilantro in Regensburg: only a couple stores stock it, and it’s flown in from exotic places typically just once per week.
There was time for a short chai break.
I was in charge of the chapatis, and I was particularly keen to get the texture right. I needed our docent to demonstrate the kneading technique a couple times, but it all worked out in the end.
Paratha = chapati + dried fenugreek leaves + salt + oil
We went through a lot of ginger that evening: in the chai, in the halva dessert, and in the main courses. I love ginger, so that was fine with me! I am kind of proud that other students saw me peeling it quickly and efficiently with nothing more complicated than a teaspoon and said “whoa, I didn’t know you could do it that way!”
Finished products, ready to eat!
Not everybody was completely jazzed about all the flavors, but nobody went home hungry. Or empty-handed: we all brought. The halva was particularly good the next morning for breakfast. The main dishes’ flavors intensified over night.
We were impressed with the classroom’s equipment (barring the knives, but perhaps that’s to be expected) and roominess. Clean-up was the students’ responsibility as well, but with so many hands available, it didn’t seem to take long at all. It was a great way to spend an evening and the cost was very reasonable. We’re looking forward to another session some time.