Today was my cooking class with the kids (ages 12-14) from a local homeschooling group. Usually it is 6 kids (5 girls and 1 boy) but the boy was out of town and one girl came late–not in time to cook but in plenty of time to eat. I’ll forgive her.
The menu was chosen by the students from a list of options. Today we made khandvi, pakoras and sweet rice. First I did a khandvi demo and then divided the girls into two groups. The downstairs group had a pot of sweet rice going while frying pakoras. The upstairs group had a pot of sweet rice going while each girl cooked a batch of khandvi. After the first upstairs group made their khandvi, they switched stations with the downstairs group. The whole thing went very smoothly, although I did have to make a lot of trips up and down those stairs.
I was kind of scared about them making khandvi. I wasn’t so sure how well their khandvi would turn out and I didn’t want anyone to leave with hurt feelings. But much to my surprise, these girls pulled it off. And pulled it off well. Even one who’s khandvi spread was a bit lumpy still executed a nice sampling by simply maneuvering her cuts and rolls around the questionable terrain.
Me doing a khandvi demo. The girls noted the transformation from shiny batter to matte glop. There was a lot of hands on touching. My khandvi didn’t mind.
Ksamesvari and Vrindavani get to work on their khandvi while their sweet rice steams up the shot.
Nadia making khandvi like a 12 year old girl! Her batch turned out awesome…
Pakoras were fried to perfection. Potato, eggplant, cauliflower, zucchini and paneer were dipped in batter to give a full range of experience with the different frying times required. Sweet rice, one pot made with vanilla bean and the other flavored with extract, tasted divine, even despite a brief run in with a scorched pot bottom. Whew!
We used Yamuna Devi’s basic pakora recipe, spicing the batter with turmeric, coriander powder, chili powder and garam masala. Some yellow hing was also thrown in.
Vani and Nadia getting ready to add the whey to the dry ingredients for their pakoras.
She can dance, she can sing, she can play the violin. She can also fry a potato pakora to precision doneness. Vani is a very talented young lady.
A present? For me? Awww, shucks. M. Tapasvini, Nadia’s mom and the woman who runs the school, sent me over a jar of pumpkin butter that she cooked and canned herself. I think I will eat it for lunch tomorrow since my stomach will need a break from all the fun it had today.
Afterwards we sat down to a meal of pakoras, khandvi and sweet rice. We didn’t make any chutney so we ate our pakoras with sour cream. Not exactly a lite meal. The girls went crazy over what they cooked and loaded up plates to take home to their families. It was a super fun time and I am looking forward to our next class, in December. Although I do hope we can agree on a slightly more balanced menu next time. If not, I will make a salad to add to the mix.
Right now my house smells like a fry shack, not something I actually mind. There is a lot of khandvi, pakoras and sweet rice left over for my family’s dinner but I think I need to wrestle up a vegetable. Preferably green and not deep fried.
The girls ended up getting a little crazy just by smelling the good stuff we were cooking. By the time we sat down to eat, Vani had transformed from her usual self composed self to someone a little…more like me. Here she is applying sour cream as if she were hanging out at the MAC counter. She doesn’t get much sugar at home and now I know why.