An Indian Feast: Sample Menus

Madhur Jaffrey

Lesson time 06:15 min

In India, nothing comes between flesh and food. Here, Madhur dives into the connections between touch, texture, aroma, and flavor. She demonstrates how to eat with your hands and shares sample menus using the dishes taught in her class.

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Topics include: Eating With Your Hands · Sample Menus


[MUSIC PLAYING] CHEF: If you go through the length and breadth of India, in each state, each province, each city, each village, people are doing different things according to their own personal traditions. When Indians sit down to dinner, they don't all do the same thing. But also, we have a lot in common. We are a nation that uses their fingers to eat. In my family, which considers itself fairly westernized, we sat on a table and we had plates. But because we were so many-- we were over 30 people in my particular family-- it was three tables that had been put together that face the Yamuna river in Delhi. And we all ate our own food. By grandfather and grandmother were at the far end. I didn't know my grandmother was vegetarian, because I couldn't see her plate ever. She was so far away. So that's how we ate. That was our family tradition of eating. But other people in India use tals which are metal plates of different metals, and into that they have little bowls, which we call katoris. And then you have your rice, your bread, your papadam, maybe. Sometimes you eat on a banana leaf. In South India, very often you will eat on a banana leaf. And all the food will be put on the banana leaf, and you will have your rice on the banana leaf, you will have your vegetables and your dal, and you will eat that together. Of course, the foods we eat in India have changed. Vegetarianism has come into being. We've had Buddhism and Jainism-- two religions that don't eat meat at all which have had their influence. So things change over time and things are still changing. So nothing is static in India, as it is anywhere. Nothing is static anywhere. I'm going to eat a meal and show you how Indians eat a meal. So I have chapatis. There's ghee on them. Sometimes you can put ghee. And then I have my main meal, which is cauliflower and potatoes and eggplant that has been roasted and cooked with ginger, onions, tomatoes-- things like that. And it's really roasted and cooked-- thoroughly cooked down. And then I have two pickles. I have a sweet and sour cauliflower pickle and have a very hot chile pickle. And then here, I have a raita. So how do you eat it? All right, here's a chapati. The first thing I do is I take a piece of chapati here. Then I take a little bit of the eggplant, if that's what I want to eat, and I put that in my mouth. Mm. I want a little bite of this. Mm. Very nice. I want a little green chile. Mm, yeah. I want some raita. Take a little piece of bread, dip it in the yogurt. Mm, very nice. I'm having a lovely meal here. Eating with the hands is such a sensual experience. Nothing is coming between you and the food-- no utensils of any kind. It's your body and your food. It's sensual, and it's the deepest kind of pleasure that you can get. And you are controlling everything-- controlling how much you put in each morsel, what flavors you want to mix together. Do you want just the chile with this or you want a little bi...

About the Instructor

With more than 30 award-winning cookbooks and a James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame Award, Madhur Jaffrey may be the greatest living authority on Indian cuisine. Now she shares those vast and storied traditions with you. Learn 30 authentic recipes: vegetables, breads, South Asian meats, street foods, and more. Blend and layer spices and bring it all together—from the perfect bite to full menus of vibrant flavor.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Madhur Jaffrey

7x James Beard Award winner Madhur Jaffrey teaches you 30 authentic recipes and shares India’s vast culinary traditions and techniques.

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