The Cooking East to West culinary project launched in December with a class featuring three of Émigré Gourmet’s chefs. In February, the series continued with a hands-on Indian cooking class led by Émigré chef Afsari Jahan. Participants learned the secrets of classic foods like tandoori chicken (see recipe below), and took part in a shared meal.
Each class is open to a limited number of participants, guaranteeing that everyone can try their hands at preparing delicious dishes. The informal atmosphere allows for a wide-ranging conversation, as the chefs and participants share their thoughts and experiences about food, culture, society and spirituality.
The class provides a context for an authentic cultural exchange. For participants, it offers an opportunity not only to improve their cooking skills and learn new recipes, but also to get a unique view into the world of chefs from distant parts of the globe. For Afsari and other members of the collective, it is an occasion to serve as ambassadors of their culture and engage in meaningful interaction with other participants. For us at the Center, it is gratifying to be able to form a true partnership with Émigré Gourmet’s chefs in offering this culinary series.
We invite you to the next class in the Cooking East to West series, which will take place on Saturday, March 27, from 11am to 3pm. Led by chef Margarita Gutierrez, the class will include classic Mexican dishes like tamales and pipian verde. Class size is limited, so reserve your seat soon! Please contact Jessica Bonilla at (718) 633-4823 or email email@example.com.
Below is a recipe of Tandoori chicken, a dish that Afsari usually serves for a party or family get-together. She likens it to an Indian version of the American barbeque because it is a recipe that most everyone knows and likes. You can serve this with nan bread or a buttered rice called pulao rice – a high quality basmati rice seasoned with bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon stick, and onion. If you can, use ghee instead of regular butter!
Makes 4 servings of 2 pieces of chicken per person.
- 8 pieces of skinless chicken, thighs and drumsticks
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
For the ginger-garlic paste:
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 thumb gingerroot, peeled
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 5 drops red food coloring
- 2 tablespoons garam masala powder (see below)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the garam masala powder:
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- 10 cardamom pods
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon mace
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
Brush the chicken with lemon juice (reserving the remainder). Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. To make the garam masala powder, combine all of the spices, except for the mace and cumin seeds, and toast in a pan over high heat until you can smell the spices. Add the mace and cumin seeds off of the flame and let heat a bit before grinding. After a minute, grind the spices in a spice (or coffee) grinder into a fine powder.
To make the ginger-garlic paste, peel and chop the ginger and garlic and blend in a blender to make a smooth paste. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, food coloring, remaining lemon juice, chili and garam masala powders. Add this mixture to the chicken making sure to mix it in well. Cover again with plastic and return to the refrigerator to marinate for another 3-4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350º. Place the chicken onto a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes turning over the pieces after 30 minutes. Quickly place the chicken pieces over a hot oiled grill or grill pan to make black grill marks.