Indian Street Food Cooking Course at Jenius Social
Interested in cooking an Indian feast in under two hours? Jenius Social, a cookery school in Holloway, has got just the class for you.
I’m a lazy cook. When I come home from work (read: move from couch to kitchen), I’ve got my signature cod, steamed broccoli and halloumi ready to whip up in fifteen. It’s wholesome, healthy, minimal clean up, and most importantly, quick.
Luckily I’ve gotten myself into a flatmateship where Sally does the majority of the cooking. As you can imagine I’m quite keen to seal the deal on this whole civil partnership thang, but the evidence points towards that (definitely) not happening… Plus, I think she’s getting pretty sick and tired of me ditching the carbs and sugar every few months in favour of restoring my gut. So this means I’m now cooking. And meal prepping (blurgh). And while Pinterest is great for inspiration, I’m the type of person that springs into action once I see how something is successfully (and efficiently) accomplished. So with my ex flatmate (Master of One Pot Noodles Victoria) in tow, we made our way to Jenius Social.
When we arrived for our Indian Street Food course, I immediately noticed piles and platters of fresh vegetables. There was work ahead. No way were we going to get a biryani in the oven, a curry sizzling in the pot and fried snack food done in time. I mean it’s Indian food! Ya know, a cuisine that’s got to marinate and soak up flavour?
I just kind of stood there at the kitchen island, frozen as everyone around me picked up their knives and began chopping or muddling spices. The kitchen was just like any old kitchen you’d find in someone’s home. There was no rustic long table with portable burners. No hipster aprons. One stove. Four burners. No cleaners to remove and replenish. Zero fancy equipment. Just Andrew. And six of us. It was set up just like my family home in Chicago, which made the idea of re-creating these recipes at home that much more tangible.
It was then I got busy chopping, listening and laughing at Head Chef Andrew’s directions and explanations. One of the original graduates of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, there isn’t a thing he wasn’t able to answer. With ease he juggled roasting spices sans a timer, demonstrated knife techniques, explained the science behind hob heat, and perfected the way we chopped herbs so as to retain optimal flavour. He’s like a cartoon character, bouncing off the walls with passion for his practice, eager to teach us through demonstration and past fails in order to create a realistic picture in our minds.
The menu itself is a mix of street food (hello vegetable pakoras and onion & fennel bhajis) and traditional dishes like biryani with mint raita and mogul chicken curry. The biryani took on more of a Western tune as Andrew picked whatever vegetables from the store he fancied. Aubergines, broccoli, red peppers and courgettes all made their way into this signature rice dish. Time just flew and before I knew it, we’d popped the tray into the oven and were already on to frying the Indian snacks.
Within an hour and forty-five minutes we’d removed our aprons and were sipping on a glass of vino ready to tuck in. The pakoras and bhaji were standout dishes with the biryani a close second. It was so untraditional in taste given the vegetables used, but I welcomed the lighter flavours. The curry could have used a good overnight to marinate, but I suppose that’s the beauty of leftovers.
We left completely stuffed. In terms of practicality and quality of knowledge imparted on customers, Jenius Social stands out among other cookery schools. But if you’d like something a bit more hands on, I’d venture towards their other courses like Pasta Pronto and Classic French Desserts as Andrew handled the majority of the stove, oven and fryer equipment in Indian Street Food. In those courses there’s a bit more assembly required, and possibly the best pasta you’ll have in your life (according to Sheepa).
Oftentimes I think is £75 worth it for a cooking class? I hem and haw over justifying the cost but then seem to have no problem forking out £50+ for dinner at a London restaurant. What? Dinner was only supposed to be £20… how did that happen? So yes, £75 for practically unlimited tea and coffee, knowledgeable teachers, great company, wine and a delicious feast is a pretty good bargain.
Back to the kitchen I go now. It’s Curry Week and I’ve already whipped up a lamb keema. And guess what? It was farking easy. This whole cooking thing may not be so bad after all…
*Victoria and I were guests of Jenius Social. All opinions and thoughts are entirely my own. If you’d like to find out more, visit their website: Jenius Social.