My friend, Andrea and I were looking for something fun to do together - without the kids, away from work and without a designated driver. I was flipping through a Sur La Table catalog and came across their cooking class; they were offering Indian, Dish By Dish (Andrea was also the friend that gave me the super delicious Indian cookbook for my birthday). This seemed like a perfect match for us!
So last night, Andrea and I and about 13 other people assembled at the Kirkland, WA Sur La Table for some instruction, socialization and good food. The class started at 06:30 PM and we left around 09:00 PM - in between, we cooked Curried Beef Samosas with Mango-Papaya Chutney, Savory Semolina, Coconut-Vegetable Curry, and Yogurt-Braised Chicken with Cashews and Raisins.
I enjoyed the class - it was a nice mix of people, both young and old and all seemed to have fun. The instructor was knowledgeable and he explained everything very well - he seemed to really like teaching people and the 3 Sur La Table helpers were wonderful too! The instructor broke us up in to groups of 5 and we all did the prep for a specific dish (Andrea & I worked on the Coconut-Vegetable Curry). The chicken was cooked ahead of time and so was the ground beef for the samosas, so we added spices, veggies and various sauces to the meat dishes to complete them. Everyone made their own samosa (some made a few more than others). The instructor and assistants finished the cooking while we were on a short shopping break (we all got 15% off of any purchase that evening). Then we came back and ate all the food.
My favorite dish was the Coconut-Vegetable Curry (it was also Andrea's). I will admit that if I made it at home, I would meat to it and serve it with rice. The samosas were ok - we used wonton wrappers and I thought that took away from the "Indian" flavor a bit. When I have meat samosas out, they always are spiced well and the dough is more flavorful. The chutney that went with the samosas though was delicious and I really enjoyed it to my surprise (I don't really like mangos much, but paired with vinegar and curry spices it was awesome). The chicken had a really good flavor and was very tender - the sauce that went with it broke and was not the most pleasing to the eye. My least favorite dish was the semolina - it reminded me of mashed potatoes (don't get me wrong, I like mashed potatoes - I would have rather had rice or naan instead).