Fish and curry, Go-aaan - Culinary School Diaries, Week 10
This has been the week I've been most looking forward to most since starting the course - Sushi, Indian and Thai week. This was a week where I very much felt in my element, as it let me make use of my love affair with spices in a way I hadn't really been able to do yet on the course.
Monday was sushi day - a whole day pretty much purely devoted to rice, veg and fish. Having made sushi once before at age 13 or so, this was basically new to me, but on the whole, I'm happy with my final products. After some prep in the morning, we made tomago yaki, a kind of rolled omelette flavoured with mirin, soy and sugar, to go in the sushi. We also made an early, pre-sushi-rolling lunch of tuna sashimi and sea bass carpaccio. After lunch, we attempted lots of different types of sushi rolls, to differing levels of success: maki, uramaki, dragon rolls, full moon, mosaic, negiri and temaki.
Two days of Indian cookery started today, which came with a very exciting tray of 20 or so different spices. Today's creations included monkfish meen kuzhambu (flavours of curry leaves, tamarind and coconut), aloo tamatar ki sabji (a spicy tomato and potato curry) and naan bread for lunch, and then service of chicken dopiaza (double onion), lamb passanda, pulihora (tamarind rice) and nargisi kofte (spiced scotch eggs). I am ashamed to admit that as of writing this on the Sunday after the week, I still am yet to even starting eating multiple of these curries, as we just had ridiculous amounts of food to take home, but I hear very good things about the dopiaza from my coursemates.
The second day of Indian cookery presented us with even more exciting meals than the day before in my opinion, with a lunch of makul pakora (fried squid, with a salad of turmeric, mango and samphire) and keema samosa with pineapple and ginger chaat (lamb samosas with a chutney). For service and take home, we made chana aloo (which felt like a potato salad, but with additional chickpeas and sev, the little sticks you find in Bombay mix), venison biryani, murgh tikka makhan (skewered chicken thighs with a sweet tomato masala) and roti, as well as a mango, rosewater and cardamom kulfi for dessert (a sort of ice cream, but not churned, so it's a lot icier). The kulfi in particular was really lovely, especially when served with candied chillies, and is definitely a recipe I'll be recreating in the future.
Thai food today, which is probably the cuisine I'm most comfortable making, but still managed to introduce me to plenty of new flavours and ingredients, in particular the lovely and fragrant kra chai, or "finger root". Lunch was poh pia tod (pork spring rolls), tod mun pla with nam aa-jaad (fish cakes with a salad not too dissimilar from quick-pickled cucumbers) and tom ka head (a galangal and coconut soup which we had mussels and squid). I don't think this is too evident in the photo, but I overreduced this a little bit, so whilst very tasty, it was also a little over-rich. For the afternoon's session, we spent a lot of time with our pestles and mortars, making paste for our chicken Thai green curry, and boy do my arms feel it. We also made pad thai, and were given a lovely coconut and chilli sorbet.
Another arm workout of a day, with plenty more use of the pestle and mortar. We made peek gai yat sai goong (stuffed chicken thighs with a shrimp based centre), takrite goong (chicken, pork and tiger prawn lemongrass skewers wrapped in pandan leaf) and served larb moo (a pork and herb salad, wrapped in lettuce) and prik namsom (a very spicy and sour tamarind dip). The week was finished with making a yellow curry and fried rice.