Monday, 23 January 2017

Beginner's Class of February 2017

Rajiv’s Kitchen

Cook & Eat Indian Cookery Classes 


This is the first class of 2017. I have three students, most are relatively new to my classes. As I mentioned in previous blog I not only teach individual dishes but how to cook a meal. In this class we would be cooking the following items and after cooking, together we would eat what is a sumptuous meal. For people who would like to cook for the family or friends each class menu could be the menu for their evening! 




TARKA DAL (We will use Red Masoor dal)




This is one of the signature dishes amongst Kashmiri Pandits, but is equally popular with the muslim population of Kashmir, who use onion and garlic in their cooking where as Pandits do not use these ingredients. Pandits in India are vegetarian, often not using garlic in their cooking. Kashmiri Pandit however, due to their close links with the invading rulers started eating meat but refrained from adding garlic and onions! Despite not having garlic and onions Kashmiri version of Rogan Josh is such a winner.


1 Kg Lamb
10-12 Cloves
1 inch Cinnamon stick
2-3 Brown Cardamoms
1/8 tsf of Asafoetida
1/2 tsf Chilli powder
1 tsf Paprika
1 tbsf finely ground Fennel seeds
1 tsf Ginger powder
1 1/2 tsf Salt (to taste)
1/2 tsf Garam Masala
500 mls Yoghurt beaten smooth
5 tbsf oil


  • Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, when hot put the cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamoms stir for 5-10 seconds. 

  • Add the asafoetida and stir briefly. 

  • Now add the lamb and salt. Cook the meat on high flame for 5-7 minutes.

  • Add the chilli powder and paprika powder and give it a good stir. 

  • Add the yoghurt 1 tbsf at a time stirring and mixing it as you are adding the yoghurt. Keep cooking it till all the liquid has evaporated and the meat pieces have slightly browned.

  • Add the Ginger powder and Crushed fennel seeds mixing it thoroughly.

  • Now put the water and give pressure for 25 mins (time will depend on quality of meat). You can cook the meat without a pressure cooker but you need a heavy pan with a tight lid. The lamb should be tender.

  • Finally add the Garam masala. 

Sem Aloo (Potatoes with Beans)


6-8 small Potatoes cut into small pieces
250 gms Green Beans chopped into 1 inch lengths
1 tbsf Whole black mustard seeds
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely 
1 Dried red chilli, crushed coarsely
1 tsf Salt (to taste)
1 tsf sugar
Freshly ground Black pepper
4 tbsf oil for cooking


  • Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat. When the oil gets hot add mustard seeds, as soon as these start to sizzle add dried red chilli and let it brown. Now add chopped garlic and lightly brown.

  • Add the potatoes, mix well with the spices cover and cook till these are 1/2 done.

  • Now add the chopped beans, salt, black pepper and sugar. Cook for another 10 minutes or till the beans and potatoes are fully done.

Lal Masoor ki dal (Red Split lentil)


1 cup split Red dal, washed and drained
4-5 cups of water
1/2 tsf Turmeric
1/2 Chilli powder
3/4 tsf Salt
1 tbsf Ghee
1/2 tsf Cumin seeds
1-2 Garlic cloves peeled and chopped
1-2 dried Red Chillies


  • Put the dal in a heavy pot (I use a pressure cooker), add water, turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Bring it to a boil on high heat. Remove any scum from the top.

  • If you are using a pot, cover the pot with the lid leaving a very slight opening for the steam to escape, turn the heat to low and simmer it for 30-45 minutes or until the dal is tender. You may need to stir the dal every 5-10 minutes in the last half hour so it doesn't stick. I use a pressure cooker which takes about 5 minutes.

  • In a separate pan prepare the tarka by heating the ghee and adding the cumin seeds and letting them sizzle and go browner. As soon as the cumin seeds turn colour add the dried red chillies (I tend to break them). let the chillies turn very dark brown.

  • Add chopped garlic and brown it. Your tarka is ready. While the tarka is hot, add it to the dal and mix well. This is best done just before serving.

Class Room 2017 - The Classes

Last year has been quite busy with three classes going all through the year. However, I have not been as organised with blogging.

New Year and New Resolutions! I will add the recipes for two classes one is the beginners and the other for students who feel a bit more accomplished! I am glad to say that people coming for these classes have started to cook Indian meals for themselves as well as for family and friends, which is a credit to them and the confidence they have gained.

The format for my classes remains the same. In the class I try to teach students not only various recipes but to prepare a meal. I tend to choose dishes which compliment each other and the end result is a preparation of meal which could be an envy of many an Indian homes. Here students learn to combine different dishes, present them and eat the food in an Indian way.

I hail from the Delhi, which is a very foodie place and the food served in the homes and the Restaurants there is synonymous to Indian food as is known to most in the world. I am lucky because of that, however I have travelled vastly in India and believe that regional food from all parts of India is as good if not better. In these classes I would like to introduce some of the dishes which I have learnt during my travels. I hope to bring a variety to and fusion of various regional dishes.

My previous blogs helped people to refer to and prepare a dish of their choice but what it lacked was to prepare a meal which for most Indians would be preparing two or three dishes. In my classes I stress what goes well with one main dish and hence we prepare three items in each class. One would be the main dish and others side dishes which for me is presentable meal.

To reflect this I intend to change the format of this blog from just being a recipe scrap book to a reference site where uninitiated could just follow each class  and prepare three dishes which would be a complete meal for a family or a group of friends.