I was convinced I could never cook Indian food.
At least not well (in my few attempts I’ve failed miserably). But recently I discovered Newton start-up The Naan Americans – an Indian food cooking class taught by home chefs – which showcases “simple and easy recipes with a blend of modern and classic International cuisines that can be easily reproduced in your own kitchen.” Given my own experience I was skeptical, but intrigued.
After perusing the mouth-watering images on The Naan Americans website, I reached out to founder Supriya Shekar. Enthusiastic and warm, Supriya invited LiveNewton.net to experience and review a demo cooking class. Jen, who also loves Indian food, and I made our way to Supriya’s home where Kerala Naadan Meen (Fish) Curry was on the menu.
Supriya, who is originally from South India, has a passion for entertaining and cooking for people in her home. Her dinner guests often comment (and compliment!) her meals – the spices, the special flavors and uniqueness of the exotic cuisine making for a special experience. Thus, Supriya’s passion for cooking and entertaining evolved into The Naan Americans. She explained to Jen and myself that many Indian recipes can easily be executed in – believe it or not – 30 minutes, in the comfort of your own kitchen. (Again, my skepticism crept in.)
But within minutes of stepping foot into her lovely home, her saucepan had only three ingredients sauteeing when the room filled with the most wonderful smell (ginger, garlic, fresh green curry leaves).
The first thing we learned is that the best tool in the class is a writing utensil. Yes, without the mighty pen, neither Jen nor I would remember half of the tips and methods Supriya taught during the session. Our hand-outs with the Fish Curry recipe are filled with notes to help us recreate the dish at home.
And while I would love to provide the recipe here, it’s not mine to share, and I encourage you to reach out to The Naan Americans to schedule a cooking demo (alone, with your spouse or friends!). Jen and I think you will love it!
Here are a few things we learned during our two-hour demo:
*Unlike other cooking classes I’ve taken, this experience was more like learning from a new friend versus a chef. Supriya is self-taught, specializing in Southern Indian Food and she is in the process of collaborating with others who concentrate on Northern India and other parts of the world.
*It is (truly) feasible to make good, quality Indian food at home. It does not take a million spices that are not in your spice drawer. You will learn the magic of three: coriander, red chili powder and turmeric.
*Moody Street in Waltham is home to two specialty stores, Patel Brothers and Indian Market, both of which cater to the Indian market. Supriya will provide suggestions for a few simple ingredients to complete your spice drawer.
*Allergies. If you’re booking a class, be sure to alert the chef directly and s/he can advise on a suitable class.
Friendly and at ease, Supriya was a gracious host who managed to juggle cooking, teaching and entertaining without breaking a sweat. And to my happy surprise, I tasted the most wonderful, flavorful Fish Curry I’ve ever had. With a handful of ingredients, in thirty minutes I learned a dish I look forward to making for family and friends.
The class delivered on my three requirements for a successful outing: (Great) Food, Friends & Fun. Thanks very much to founder Supriya Shekar and The Naan Americans for an engaging cooking demo. We wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!
*The Naan Americans provided a complimentary demo cooking class in exchange for an honest review.