Yesterday, Rachel and I attended a cooking class at the Indian Culinary Center, which is actually a rented space in the Inn on 23rd St. Our teacher was a riot who talked all sorts of smack while she taught us to make vegetarian entrees with potatoes, cauliflower, chickpeas and spices. We also cooked an amazing carrot dessert and learned how to fry poori and make paneer–much easier than I thought.
To make paneeer, just boil a quart of whole milk in a heavy pot then add an acid such as 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. We also added 1 ½ cups of yogurt for extra creaminess. Stir gently to curdle it and lower the heat. Once the milk curdled, we put it in a cheese cloth and let the water drain out for awhile. Since we had limited time, we didn’t let the cheese sit long enough to cut it into cubes, so we just put chunks of it on top of vegetables we had stir-fried. We let the dish cook for awhile without stirring in the paneer so it wouldn’t break apart into tiny pieces. Before it was served, we folded the cheese into the vegetables. Our teacher told us that if we weren’t there, she’d eat the whole bowl of paneer by herself. She’s done it before.
About 12 of us participated in the class and after the food was ready, we sat down for dinner together. Everything tasted wonderful, though I liked the cauliflower the best. I learned that the word “curry” in India simply means a dish with a sauce and that Indians don’t use curry powder at all. Apparently it’s a British invention that makes every dish taste the same. I also finally understand what it means to julienne something. I highly recommend the ICC!