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Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath take two - Southern Indian Thali

I have been truly indulging my cooking demons - last week, I enjoyed not one but two vegan cooking courses.

Recidivism was very much the order of the day for the first of them as I hauled myself down to Bath for the Southern Indian Thali course at Vegetarian Cookery School, a venue I went to once before earlier this year and enjoyed so much - the food was great, the teachers were cracking - I reckoned a repeat visit was necessary.

I've been to Delhi once in the course of my work and gloried every day in the Indian breakfast - thin rice and lentil pancakes called dosas served with masala potatoes, coconut chutney, a thin lentilly dhal-style dish by the name of rasam, and idlis, roughly akin to savoury sponge cakes. 

Idli molds and steamer

The thought of gaining the secrets of the Indian breakfast was pretty much what persuaded me to get my sorry self down to Bath and I've been congratulating myself on that most wise decision ever since. 

After being taught how to make the all-important Indian spice mixes that would be used in a couple of other dishes through the day, and observing the secrets of idli and dosa making, we sat down for our first meal of the day. 

I think I ate my own body weight in idlis and curried spud - if the course had just included learning to make those dishes, I would have gone away happy.

Handily enough, there was more good gorging to be had as we knocked up an Indian yoghurt dessert full of interesting flavours - rosewater and saffron giving each other a snog - which was later brought to the dinner table as a delightfully pretty pot of subtle wonder. (As the only vegan there, and so the only one eating soy yoghurt, I got double quantity - result!)

The students then split up into pairs to cook a dish for the thali we would all be sharing. Me and my partner got bhindi masala: okra and tomatoes cooked down and brought to tasty life with the spice mix we'd been shown how to make earlier. 

Another pair got chow chow and methi curry - a coconut milk based dish that I tasted during the cooking and found meh. Only, when it got to the table at the end of the day, some curry alchemy had transformed it from ugly sister to Cinderella. 

Another couple got to make the star of the show - aubergine curry (with cheese for the dairy eaters and curd-denuded for the dairy dodger, me). In another act of transformation, simple ingredients became a meal fit for a maharaja thanks to one of those magical spice mixes.

Having finished creating our okra dish, me and my partner got the chance to knock up some puris, a type of bread where the chief binding ingredient was mashed banana. 

The banana puris were the surprise win of the day - a subtle banana taste with some chilli meandering around in the background - and all for hardly any effort. That's the kind of ratio I like.

While we busied ourselves with the carbs, mango chutney, spiced yoghurt and a dahl were all being magicked up out of nowhere by our teachers. 

Cooking over, we got to toast our efforts with a glass of prosecco to celebrated (as if gorging on delicious Indian food wasn't enough) and test out some of the shelves of homemade gin and vodka on the cookery school shelves (quite unfeasibly good) before cracking on with second round of eating. 

More wine, more chances to marvel at what we and others had wrestled into existence. Wonderful.

I also learnt that the cookery school has a vegan cakes and baking day planned for early next year. Whenever that is, my last two visits have convinced me - there's definitely going to be a hole in my diary.

The Vegetarian Cookery School
6 Terrace Walk
Bath BA1 1LN

01225 427938

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  1. Wow what a wonderful day! I've never tried making dosas but am lucky to have a South Indian restaurnat 5 mins walk away! You're reminding me I must make a visit there soon!

  2. Hi Jo, it was nice meeting you on Sunday! And you're going to come cook all of this for me, right? Hehehe =) Looks amazing!

    Here is the info on vegan drinks (and potluck) Hopefully see you at one/both of them? http://fatgayvegan.com/london-vegan-drinks/

    And here is the underground supper club if you’re interested =)

    See you soon!


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