Now - who doesn’t love a good old onion bhaji, veggie samosa or chicken tikka? But sometimes these appys can be a disappointment, too stodgy and heavy and laden with grease. Learning to cook them properly is a great skill that would win me many friends, I believed.
To add to the enjoyment of the evening, Icoa had teamed up with Premier Wines & Spirits, so we took our seats with two glasses of white wine already poured at our place settings – a fruity, pear-infused Gewürztraminer from New Zealand’s Spy Valley and a rather lovely floral-noted Riesling from Chile’s Cono Sur winery, both picked specifically to pair well with the spicy Indian food.
pods and hanging from trees from East End to West Bay. The sweet/sour chutney that they produce was, according to Shruty, used in India as commonly as ketchup. If you don’t want to go foraging for berries, Kirks Supermarket sells them in the grocery section. Chef V cooked them until they were soft, then added spices and sugar (see my Recipes section for the full blown recipes of this and all the appys mentioned.)
Next she began making the filling for Vegetable Samosas. Samosas are popular Indian street food and they can be filled with all sorts of meat such as beef, chicken and goat, or made from potatoes, carrots, onions and peas, as was the case tonight. Once encased in their pastry, samosas have to be deep fried, Shruty explained, because there simply wasn’t enough fat in the dough to make them lovely and crispy if you baked them. You could try using pastry and bake them but they wouldn’t be the same, she confirmed.
Of course, best of all we were treated to tasters of Chef V’s wonderful expertise. The bhajis (below left) and pakoras (below centre) were crisp and flavourful, the veg samosas (below right) encased in crisp but light pastry on the outside and soft with vegetables and spices within, while the chicken tikka was bright with the perfumed flavour of cardamom and rich with its yoghurty marinade.