It’s always interesting how cooking with a particular ingredient or flavour can take you to a certain time or place - how food can evoke a certain feeling of emotion or nostalgia. As we sat in Rayeesa's farmhouse kitchen in Mordiford, she tells us of her own experiences and growing up in Hyderabad, Southern India, and how her connection with food, from that region in particular, brought her to where she is now.
‘Each region will have a speciality, and it’s not just curry - there is so much variety. The dish from my region is Biryani, and although slightly biased, it is without a doubt my favourite.’
Rayeesa makes traditional Indian cooking sauces and hosts cooking classes from her home. After moving to Herefordshire she realised that the British opinion of Indian Cuisine, buoyed by dodgy take-away food and ready meals, was something that she wanted to change. Rayeesa’s meticulous attention to detail; from selecting and balancing spice, to the technique for cooking perfect fluffy rice, is a great insight into real Indian cooking.
Through the duration of our day in Rayeesa’s home, we prepared and cooked four dishes from different regions; Lamb Rogan Josh, Lentil Dahl, Parathas and beautiful Steamed Rice.
Below is the Lamb Rogan Josh recipe for you to create in the comfort of your own home;
Lamb Rogan Josh
1kg of Shoulder of Lamb cut into 1-2” cubes
2-3 Onions, sliced
1 tbsp Garlic + Ginger
1 tsp Turmeric
½ - 1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Paprika
2tsp Ground coriander
3-4 Cardamom pods
1-2 piece of cinnamon
½ tsp Peppercorns
2-3 Bay leaves
3-4 Ripe Tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 each of red, green and yellow peppers
Handful of fresh chopped coriander
Fry onions with a little oil until golden brown
Add the whole spices until they release a lovely aroma
Add the rest of the spices and garlic & ginger paste and stir well,
When the oil starts to separate add the meat and seal with the spice mixture.
Add the tomatoes and a little water, let the lamb cook on a low heat.
When the lamb is almost tender add the peppers and stir together, let it all cook for a further 5-10 mins. Taste + season if needed.
Garnish with fresh coriander + serve with basmati rice or chapatti.
The juxtaposition of having an Indian cookery school in an English farmhouse worked perfectly; using top quality + fresh local produce to create something inspired from four thousand miles.
If you would like to expand your knowledge of Indian cookery at one of Rayeesa's classes, or to find out more about what she gets up to, click here (Vouchers are currently 20% off if purchased before end of Dec 2016).
We cannot WAIT to work with Rayeesa + her spiced girls in the future - see you at the festival!