The sound of crackling mustard seeds, the fragrance of garlic frying in olive oil and the taste of brandied oranges can transform a boring morning. More so when you know that at the end of 3 hours you can duplicate parts of the menu at Mumbai’s Indigo Café at home. The café’s recently launched monthly cooking class is run by its chef Joydeep Mukherjee, or JD, as he is called.
The good stuff
Articulate and discerning, JD is undoubtedly the star of the show. In the first session, 25 yummy mummies from Andheri (West) with a lot of questions (and two bored-looking men) watched his every move with rapt attention. Everyone got a copy of the recipes that were part of the five-course cooking class menu.
There’ll be a new menu every month with dishes that are mostly non-vegetarian, but JD provides alternative vegetarian ingredients—tofu to replace fish, corn and paneer in place of crab meat, and so on.
The class begins at 10am sharp and walk-ins are allowed only if the class isn’t full. The biggest takeaway is learning how to use Indigo’s signature style of combining European recipes with Indian ingredients. On the menu this time were coconut-crusted crab cakes with kokum chutney; salad of baby potato and grilled onion with rosemary raita; tomato, coriander and ginger soup with mascarpone crisps; tamarind garlic rawas (Indian salmon) with peanut mashed potato and braised spinach; and Dulce de Leche Brioche with brandied oranges and ice cream.
Constant commentary and tastings keep the proceedings interesting (did you know strainers available at expensive Italian kitchenware stores are made in Andheri? Or that fresh fish shouldn’t be marinated for more than 10 minutes in an acidic paste?). Some women were full of questions that chef JD did his best to answer. But if you disturb his cooking session with redundant ones, he’ll politely but firmly ask you to keep them for later.
Almost the entire staff at Indigo is present, serving coffee, plating dishes and handing out tasting portions. For about the price of one main course entrée at Indigo Café, you get to taste five good entrées.
You end up doing more tasting than cooking. As I watched the chef toss the salad and marinate the rawas, I itched to get my hands dirty, but hands-on learning is not part of this class. That's probably the reason a class of 25 wannabe cooks cannot spoil the broth or slow the proceedings. Some women complained that the exotic ingredients used for the dishes were either too expensive or just hard to find.
A 3-hour session costs Rs500 plus taxes. The next class is scheduled to be held in September. For details, call 022-26336262.