INDIAN STREET FOOD AT PADSTOW SEAFOOD SCHOOL
Rick Stein’s recent trip around India, searching for recipe inspiration and the perfect curry, led to him discovering a love of Indian street food. I adore curry, and street food, and was delighted to be invited to take part in the one day Indian Street Food course at the Padstow Seafood School.
There were ten of us (including two members of Rick Stein’s staff) on the course for the day. Upon arrival we gathered around the large communal table, with proper coffee, and introduced ourselves. Most people were there on their own; their place on the course had been a birthday or Christmas present, and the majority were in Cornwall on holiday.
The main dishes were demonstrated by the chefs, most of which we then cooked at our workstations, working in pairs.
Some of the side dishes, chutneys and sauces were made for us, but we were given all the recipes to take home afterwards, in a neat little folder, along with a smart Padstow Seafood School apron.
Our chef lecturers were Aarran Lightholder and Ashley Rabey. Aarran has been working in the cookery school for a few years, but it was Ashley’s first time there; he did a great job and I hope he’ll be tempted away from his kitchen for more teaching in the future.
Throughout the day Aarran and Ashley were on hand with tips, and nuggets of useful information about ingredients and techniques.
The first dish demo-ed by Aarran was sweet and tangy potato shreds, a zingy, crunchy snack, similar to Bombay mix, made with chana dal, deep fried shredded potato, nuts, seeds, spices, raisins, chilli and lime juice. Savoury and moreish, this would be a great snack to serve with a cold beer at the start of an evening.
We had to concentrate for the next demo, as we were to replicate it for our first hands on session. I had never made anything like the Tibetan steamed dumplings before, but they were so simple that I have made them again at home since.
Small circles of the (easy to make) dough were filled with minced lamb, onions and spices, and steamed. Aarran whizzed up a crazily hot, but delicious, Tibetan chilli sauce to accompany the dumplings.
Our next dish was prawn fritters with chutney and kachumber salad. We learnt how to butterfly the raw prawns, made a batter with chickpea flour, and fried the battered prawns in ghee.
While we assembled a simple kachumber salad, our teachers made batches of mustard and tomato chutneys for us to share, all of which we enjoyed sitting around the communal table.
At this point in the day we were handed a glass of wine, a welcome addition to our kitchen worktops.
Next on the menu was Amritsari fish, chunks of sea bream (which we filleted) coated in a thick spiced batter, golden from turmeric, and made with chickpea flour and fresh garlic and ginger.
Ours was slightly more golden than it possibly should have been, but delicious nonetheless. The accompanying fresh green chutney (made with fresh mint and coriander, chillies, onions, cumin and lime) gave a sharp contrast to the fish, which was sprinkled with a chat masala spice blend.
By now we were feeling pretty full, but there was still one more course to go: Kati rolls with pickled onion and green chilli salad. After watching the demo, we set about marinating the sirloin steak, making a pickled red onion salad, and kneading dough for the chapatis.
The chapatis were cooked in a dry pan, and getting the thin layer of egg to stick to the bread was tricky, but we came up with a new technique which seemed to work. Once all the elements were ready, we filled the flat breads with the juicy charred steak and pickled onions, and rolled them up.
Meanwhile Aarran made pau bhaji, a beautifully spiced bhaji, from potatoes, marrowfat peas, tomatoes and spices. It was the ideal accompaniment to the tasty wraps…which went home with me in a box because I couldn’t actually eat another thing!
Thank you so much to chefs Aarran and Ashley, and Selina for inviting me along to Padstow Seafood School for the day.
The Indian Street Food course costs £198 per person, and the course runs regularly, with the next three being held on 25 July, 8 August and 11 September. For more information or to book a place visit www.rickstein.com or phone 01841 532700.
Other courses include Mediterranean street food, Spanish tapas, seasonal cooking, and children’s courses, as well as classic fish and shellfish cookery.