Samui Wining & Dining
Master Class

Learning the secrets of Indian cuisine at Noori India Cooking Class

 

2Indian cuisine is justifiably recognised as one of the world’s favourite foods. And wherever Indians have travelled to, either for work or to immigrate, their restaurants quickly gather a loyal following. In the UK alone, there’re around 10,000, with countless more around the globe.

And that includes Samui, which boasts a number of Indian restaurants. However, one in particular stands out for many people and that’s Noori India in Chaweng. It was the first one to open its doors to expectant travellers and along with the main restaurant in the centre of Chaweng there’s another Noori on the southern end of the Beach Road. DD Pandey is the General Manager, and he and his brother Peter conceived and developed the business which also includes an extensive outside catering operation. And now DD has just opened Noori India Cooking Class in Chaweng aimed at teaching visitors and residents how to create authentic northern Indian cuisine from scratch.

It’s a concept that he’s been thinking about for some time. “Many of my customers over the years have asked if I could teach them some of their favourite Indian dishes. And some of the chefs from the best resorts and restaurants have also requested I put together a special course for professional chefs. To do it successfully I really needed separate premises away from the restaurant and that’s what we’ve now secured.”

His focus is on the amateur cook and his teaching kitchen is kitted out with equipment that most people will have at home. The only exception being the addition of a tandoor (oven) which is an integral part of some northern Indian dishes. And it will be fun for students to prepare and cook their own fresh breads.

DD has more than 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. He’s managed 5-star hotels, travelled extensively around India researching his home country’s rich culinary traditions and lectured on the subject at university. During that time he’s collected thousands of recipes and his only regret is that he can’t put them all on his menu. “It would be like a telephone directory and take days to read. In the restaurant we have about 150 dishes on offer at any one time and that’s plenty. For the cooking classes I’ve compiled a series of menus that include old favourites and some dishes that are exquisite but may not be familiar to everyone. If anyone does have specific recipes they want to learn then we can incorporate them. And I’ve also put together vegetarian, vegan and Halal menus for the classes should they be of particular interest to anyone.”

Typically, a vegetarian-based menu in the cooking class will include instruction on how to make: aloo tikka, green mango mint chutney, dal tadka, vegetable masala and chapattis. The first dish is deep-fried mashed potato with cottage cheese and Indian spices. And the chutney has locally grown mangoes with the addition of mint leaves, herbs and green chilies. Dal tadka is boiled yellow lentils cooked with garlic, onion and tomato and fried with cumin. Masala is a classic sauce to go with the mixed vegetables and chapattis as I’m sure you know are a soft Indian bread cooked on a flat pan from whole wheat. For carnivores, the choices are almost limitless and include chicken pakoras and chicken masala.

When Indian food is suggested for a night out some people will think ‘spicy’, but this is a misconception. Spices are an integral part of Indian food but this does not mean that the dishes are always hot. DD and his chefs will use cooling spices as well as hot ones and as importantly use the spices for their colour and healthy properties. There’re many medicinal uses for Indian herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables. And these have been known and used in India for generations. Noori import more than 50 different herbs and spices directly from India each month and they all add something more than just flavour.

Booking a place is very simple, just give DD a call pop in and see him at the restaurant in the centre of Chaweng. It’s on Chaweng Beach Road, 100 metres up from McDonald’s and Starbucks. A class costs just 1,800 baht per person and as well as a half-day master-class you’ll also get complimentary mango lassi and Indian masala chai on arrival, a certificate, recipes, a monogrammed apron to take home with you and a 10% discount voucher for either of the Noori India restaurants. And, of course, you get to enjoy all the food you’ve cooked as well.

You’ll do and see lots of amazing things on your trip to Samui but spending time with DD in the kitchen learning about authentic Indian cuisine will definitely be a highlight. And the skills and knowledge you acquire will last longer than many of your memories of your time on Samui.

 


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