Around the World in Three Hours.

Today’s class was craaaaazy!  Since we didn’t actually cook anything yesterday, we had double duty to make up today.  In just three short hours, we whipped the kitchen up into a frenzy, and busted out the entire day’s menus from both Thailand & the Philippines and India – yum!  Despite the hectic pace of the kitchen (and my forever dirty hands!) I did my best to snap pictures as things were cooking.

My group was in charge of five different dishes.  The first recipe was a Flordelis salad – perhaps better known as ambrosia – a mixture of different fruits, cream cheese, condensed milk, coconut, toasted almonds, and topped with cherries!  We prepped and cut all the fruit, and then plated scoops on top of lettuce leaves for service. 

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I was kind of bummed when we got our recipe assignments, because there were some really cool things on the menus for today, but we weren’t making them!  The major thing I had hoped to help with was the NAAN bread – my favorite!  Luckily Jeff was nice enough to explain what he was doing and yell to me for photo opps.  The dough came together in a large pot, and looked like a scary giant sponge.  Then it was dolloped out into a screaaaaming hot pan, so that it puffed up and blistered right away.

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A few minutes under the salamander (or broiler) and a coating of ghee later, we had delicious authentic Indian naan bread – so cool!

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I stalked another group around the kitchen because they were making PANEER – homemade Indian cheese, another one of my favorite Indian dishes.  They started by scalding milk and letting it curdle, and then draining it through several layers of cheesecloth.

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After pressing it between pans and draining it for a few hours in the refrigerator, we had delicious homemade Indian cheese, mmmmmm.

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One of the things I helped my group with was SAMOSAS.  My partner, Rachel, made the dough and cut it into wedges. 

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While Kim made mashed potatoes, which were combined with mint, peas, and a variety of Indian spices to make the samosa filling.

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My job was to roll out the individual dough pieces, place filling into the mixture, and then seal
the little pockets with an arrowroot slurry mixture.

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Last but not least, a trip to the deep fryer!  I’m not big on fried food, so I just tried a bite of one of these to see how they turned out.  The mashed potato mixture was awesome – such a great spice blend!

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Next I moved on to the Tandoori Chicken recipe.  I prepared a yogurt marinade for the chicken, while Beth cubed all of our chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces.  One of the key ingredients of this marinade was saffron – the world’s most expensive spice!  We probably used about $50 worth of saffron in just this one recipe – so crazy!

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The final product was a pretty, browned and marinated skewered chicken.  While clearly I did not try this myself, I was told by several classmates that it was excellent!

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Another group worked on Lumpia, which is traditionally a Chinese dumping filled with a ground meat mixture.  Our particular mixture was ground pork and tofu.  I always think it is weird when tofu is mixed with meat!

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The lumpia wrappers were filled, rolled, and brushed to seal…

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And then deep fried and sliced in half for service.

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Project #4 for my group was this Philippino Adobo Chicken, which smelled amaaaaaazing.  Lots of julienned onions, garlic, spices, and more.

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After three insane hours of prepping and cooking, we served the dining room with a gigantic buffet of food.  After service, we all lined up in our kitchen for a lunch of our own!  Lots of fried goods and sauces…

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A flavorful batch of basmati rice cooked with fresh curry leaves and a mixture of black and yellow mustard seeds.

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Recipe #5 for my group – Roasted Chickpeas with Tomato.  These were absolutely delicious – possibly my favorite dish of the day!

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We also had raita – a traditional Indian condiment of cucumbers and yogurt…

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And stewed whole okra – lots of vegetarian food today!

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Check out the spread, and that’s not even all of it.  SO MUCH FOOD! 

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My plate – half piece of naan, chickpeas, raita, cucumber and tomato salad, and some potato and pea saag paneer.

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Along with a cup of rasam – and Indian vegetarian lentil chili – YUM!

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It was a crazy day, but lots of fun, and really interesting food.  I am WORN OUT and looking forward to relaxing at home tonight.  I think we are going to rent Precious!  Has anyone seen that yet?  Thumbs up or down?  Any other good movie suggestions?  We love documentaries!