Anyone who has eaten Indian cuisine has an opinion about it. Some say the spices are used to cover bad flavors of the food. Some say the food is too spicy to enjoy. Others say it is the best food they have ever eaten. I personally like it very much. I am a huge fan of spices and herbs; I think it is beneficial to learn how other cultures use them.
I was looking forward to the ‘Terra Madre Network: Spices of India’ workshop with Chef Manjit Singh Gill. I thought his explanation of Indian cuisine and aryuvedic cooking methods was very interesting.
Aryuveda means Knowledge (veda) of Life (aryu). The concept in a nutshell is living and eating properly to maintain a balanced physical, mental, social and spiritual state. Indian cuisine and aryuvedic cooking both focus on enabling proper digestion while addressing that each person has individual unique culinary needs.
The tidbit of information I personally found most interesting was that within the realms of these cuisines taste and flavor are not considered synonymous and there are 6 different perceived tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent.
The workshop menu showcased the following:
- A delightful spice based aperitivo courtesy of Ramazzotti, a contributor to the workshop.
- A sweet starter of rice, milk and cardamom. In India sweets begin the meal to whet the appetite.
- Fish marinated with lemon and garlic served with ajowan and raw onion, both considered to be digestive ingredients.
- Curry made with mushrooms, peas, ginger, garam marsala and coriander. This was served with rice, potatoes and a pomegranate seed spiced yogurt.
The aromas wafting from the kitchen throughout the class were dreamy; slowly leading my mind into faraway lands of India. I loved the workshop and the contributions from Chef Manjit Singh Gill and Chef Gunjan Goela. I hope to visit India one day in the future and learn more.