Now, I appreciate making and eating curry may be the furthest thing from your minds given the tropical heat wave that we’re experiencing, but given that Sana from Masala Pantry is taking bookings for September and into autumn she’s so busy, you don’t need to worry.

Bombay born Sana very kindly offered to come to my house to teach me how to make authentic Indian curry which I was very excited about because in my house, traditionally, Mr EAT has taken on the curry making role (and no I’m not talking ‘out of a jar’ curry!) and I wanted a piece of the action. Plus my children were on school holiday and as their taste buds are starting to become a little more adventurous, I thought this would be a fun afternoon activity for us all (and, of course, ease the burden of me having to think of something to do!).

Sana of Masala Pantry in my kitchen

Sana of Masala Pantry in my kitchen

Sana moved to Tonbridge three years ago with her English husband and after suffering the commute to London for a few years, decided to make her skill for teaching Indian cookery her business.

Sana was thorough in her prep – asking me to choose what we would like to make from her website, Masala Pantry and then performing her due diligence on allergies and intolerances, likes and dislikes. She then sent me a list of produce to purchase in advance and told me what pans we would need. We were all set!

I have to admit that I’ve always thought Indian cooking was very technical and laborious, hence why I allowed Mr Eat to develop curry as his signature dish (which he did very well I hasten to add!) but Sana spins that on its head! Sana is the Mumbai of Indian cuisine – a modern woman with a modern approach to cooking; sure, she use family recipes that have been passed down the generations but she is happy to show you how to cut corners to allow curry making to be much easier and accessible to all.

We made butter chicken as it’s mild and I thought my children would like it and Goan fish curry because I love fish, I love fish curry and I don’t mind a bit of heat. Sana enthusiastically involved the boys and me, giving us all jobs to do, chatting away throughout about her family and food growing up. My children were inquisitive about India and Indian culture and Sana was more than happy to answer their questions on topics as varied as cricket in India and the recent Cricket World Cup to whether they have McDonald’s in India (rolls eyes – I try, I try but the allure of fast food is ever present!). The most interesting answer was to my son’s question of how many curries there are and it transpires that much of what we would call curry is called gravy in India! The boys found this startling especially as Sana explained how she’d tried British gravy and found something quite different!

Both dishes were excellent: the boys enjoyed the butter chicken and my elder, more adventurous son when it comes to food (although having said that the younger one requested mussels in Sankey’s Fishmonger the other day and proceeded to devour them) enjoyed the fish curry too. I made them for friends two days later and, if I do say so myself, they were heartily enjoyed. So a big thumbs up for Sana and Masala Pantry!

*** Competition ***

We haven’t had a competition for ages, have we?! Sana has kindly offered a cooking lesson, like mine of two dishes as a prize to the person that can answer the following question. Cricket is the biggest sport in India. Who knocked out India in the 2019 Cricket World Cup?

Answers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or as a comment here! Winner will be chosen next Friday 2 Aug noon….

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