Thoughtful birthday present definition; the act of finding the perfect balance between sentimental, exciting and budget pleasing gifts. Or an alternative definition; an extremely difficult task. However, last night I was lucky enough to bear witness to my friend Amy completing this difficult task and presenting me the perfect birthday present- an Indian cooking class at Latasha’s Kitchen.
If you are anything like me, a lover of Indian food with the desire to replicate the authentic mouth watering smells in your kitchen, yet after reading the long and intricate essay that is the recipe you decide a store bought paste isn’t really that bad…. then this cooking class is for you! Whilst the ingredient lists are on the unique, longer side and you may not have the spices waiting on your spice shelf next to the oregano and cinnamon, it’s nothing that quick trip down to Liquorice in Claremont, Kakulas Bros in Northbridge or if you’re game an Indian supermarket, can’t quickly and cheaply solve.
And believe me, using the authentic and unique ingredients makes a huge difference both to the final taste and the satisfaction you will receive when the aromas are wafting around your kitchen (and your housemate or boyfriend start to linger in the curries’ vicinity like an impatient cat waiting to be fed).
At 6.00pm we were greeted by Latasha herself, a passionate and knowledgeable Indian woman, with a huge and contagious smile on her face (probably from eating amazing food all day!). After the five of us were led into the back kitchen the class commenced and Latasha constructed 5 delicious meals in front of our eyes. From the toasting and grinding of aromatic spices, the adding of what seemed like buckets full of vibrant (very hot) fresh chilli’s, that unmistakable smell of sautéing onion, garlic and ginger taunting our senses and being introduced to new ingredients (one of which smelt like socks worn with your oldest but most favourite boots all day) I was taught the secrets of Indian cooking.
It is now safe to say I will never purchase a store bought curry paste again (unless it’s a freshly made one that can be purchased in store at Latasha’s Kitchen of course). There was so much love that went into Latasha’s family, home-style recipes and the demonstration flew by as she made us laugh with her stories from her younger days in India. At the end of the class we sat down, now sporting Latasha’s huge smile on our faces, with our thali of curries, saffron rice and eggplant pickle. The curries were spicy, rich and delicious and I was surprised at how healthy the cooking methods and ingredients were, no greasy, oil laden curries here!
I would highly recommend the vegetarian cooking class at Latasha’s kitchen, I left with an impressive amount of Indian cuisine knowledge and a very full stomach! However I must unfortunately highlight two downsides. Firstly all friends and family have begun requesting that I replicate the delicious meals Latasha created and inviting themselves to dinner and secondly you must wait for 3 hours in the mouth-watering smelling kitchen as the food cooks before you get to taste the food, but believe me it is well worth the wait.
(Left to right: South Indian Sambhar, Eggplant Kasaundi, Butternut Pumpkin Masala, Mix Vegetable Pal Khari and Saffron Rice)
Where: Latashas Kitchen, 745 Newcastle St Leederville
What: Vegetarian Indian cooking class
How much: $130 for a night of learning to prepare (then devour) a vegetarian feast!
More details: http://www.latashaskitchen.com.au/
Review by future Indian dinner-party queen, Jade Jurewicz (http://jadescinnamon.tumblr.com