A Bellingham Foodie Blog Restaurant Reviews Bellingham Washington 98225

October 3, 2009

Sheela Bristol’s Home-Style Indian Dinner @ Community Food Co-op

Filed under: Bellingham local,local,Pacific Northwest — Bellinghamster @ 5:22 pm

I was at it again: a Community Food Co-op cooking class. It was a wonderful experience. The tastes and aromas were delicious and comforting. Sheela Bristol was our host and she is very personable and approachable. She grew up in Malaysia and South India before coming to the US. She cooked a great meal!

The dishes were vegetarian: paneer vegetable korma, basmati rice, papadums, parathas and aloo gobi along with sweet ginger chai.

Sheela was in command and Dorothy and I her helpers. We set up the room for a full class while Sheela prepared sweet ginger chai.  It was a sweet and peppery pick me up. Then, a great group of people showed up – hungry and eager to take it all in.

The first dish was paneer vegetable korma. It is a combination of vegetables (carrots, green beans, peas) and paneer (cheese) in a creamy sauce (yogurt). The interesting part of this recipe was the ‘tempering spices’ of cinnamon sticks, cardomom pods and cloves. Each spice is popped in a small quantity of hot oil to bring out its distinctive flavor. If the spices are combined, the taste is different. It tasted wonderfully complex with just the right amount of fire. Sheela served papdums with the korma. They are crispy lentil based wafers about 4″ diameter.

The second dish was aloo gobi made with potatoes, cauliflower and blend of spices:  mango powder, cumin seeds, asafoetida, coriander, paprika, chili, garam masala, turmeric. These are the mixtures that dance on your tongue. The spices you crave when you want Indian food. It was excellent!

This was served with Indian bread called parathas. We also made parathas in class. They are a whole wheat flat bread and very easy to make. I took home some extra dough and made more – YUM!

It is evident from spending 3 hours with Sheela that authentic Indian cooking is within my culinary reach. And, therefore, yours too.

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