It feels like it’s been ages since we’ve last attended a cooking class at Sur la Table, so this Saturday we went to our first class for the year which was all about Global Street Food. Mum was the most excited about the idea of making French Crepes as we’ve made them in the past on our own, and enjoyed a few at one of our local crepieres. As for me, I was interested (and a little nervous too, not being the type of foodie that can do a lot of spice) about trying my hand at making Samosas and Thai Chicken Satay.
Our teacher for this class was a familiar face for us as we’d been to one of the cooking demos that Chef Vera Samuels had done back in 2013 at the Davidson Farmers Market where she made the most amazing fresh Corn Puree with Cucumber and Radishes.
When we arrived at the class, we found our name tags along with our group. Since there were 10 in the class we were divided into teams of 5.
The first recipe in the packet (Note: Since the chef’s at Sur la Table walk you through each step of the process packets and tucked away either at the beginning of the class or handed out at the end) had already been created for us. Unfortunately I missed taking a picture of this drink, but here’s the recipe…
Mexican Agua Fresca
- 4 cups water
- 6 cups hulled strawberries
- 1/4 lime juice
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
Place all ingredients in the pitcher of a blender and secure with lid. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to high. Use the taper to press the ingredients into the blades and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add more water, a few tbsp at a time, until the contents blend smoothly. Serve immediately over ice. (As this drink is best served cold!)
With the class being 2 hours, the dishes (with the exception of the crepes) were created together. So you’d start the one thing and then move onto a portion of the next so that everything could be enjoyed at the same time. Chef Vera walked us through each step of the process and explained about why things are done and for what reason, leaving us feeling like we’d learned so much more than how to prepare the dish itself.
The first dish which makes a perfect appetizer especially for your vegetarian or vegan friends, is this Indian Potato and Sweet Pea Somosas with Tamarind Chutney…
Indian Potato and Sweet Pea Samosas with Tamarind Chutney
- 2 cups unbleached bread flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ajwain seed (optional)
- 1/2 cup ghee or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp mild curry powder
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and finely diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 to 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
To make samosa dough: Place flour, salt, and ajwain seed in a food processor or large mixing bowl and pulse or whisk to combine. Add ghee and pulse or whisk until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add water and continue mixing until a lumpy dough forms. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough forms a smooth ball. Cover dough with plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.
To make the filling: Place a large skillet with a lid over medium heat and add ghee. Add onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, and curry powder; cook, stirring constantly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar, salt, cayenne, vinegar, potatoes, carrots, and broth; cover and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Mix in peas, cilantro, and lemon juice and move skillet from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Cool filling to room temperature.
To assemble samosas: Lightly flour a work surface and roll dough out to 1/16 inch thick. Use a 4 1/2 inch round cutter to make 15 discs. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut each circle of dough in half, making 30 half circles.
Have a small bowl of water available. Moisten the edges of the half circle with water. Fold the ends of the dough together to create a connection and press firmly to adhere. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of filling into the one. Seal dough cone closed while gently squeezing to release any air pocket, pressing the dough edges firmly together to ensure a tight seal. Place filled samosas on a baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
Preheat oven to 200F. Fill a large pot with 3 inches of oil or fill a deep-fat fryer. Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and set next to stove top. Heat oil to 350F. Gently place 4 to 6 samosas in hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes, turning as needed. Carefully remove cooked samosas from oil with a slotted spoon or spider and place on the rack. Immediately season samosas fro oil with a slotted spoon or spider and place on the rack. Immediately season samosas lightly with salt. Place baking sheet in the preheated oven to keep fried samosas warm. (Check oil temp with a deep-fry thermometer to ensure it reaches 350F before frying another batch. Do not let oil temperature exceed 350F as pressure from the higher oil temperature can burst the dough seams.)
To serve: Place samosas on a serving platter. Serve immediately with tamarind chutney.
- 8 oz block seedless, compressed tamarind pulp
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp toasted and ground cumin seeds
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Sea salt
Place the tamarind pulp in a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over to cover and break up the block using a fork; cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
Push the soaked tamarind a fine-mesh strainer, using a spatula to extract as much of a pulp as possible; discard any leftover fibers. Transfer the strained mixture to a small saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer the sauce until fragrant and thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt. Serve with samosas.
Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for grilling
- 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp grated palm or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, sliced into 1 inch wide strips
- 12 (10 inch) bamboo skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1/8 tsp red chile flakes
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
To prepare chicken marinade: In a blender, combine the coconut milk, oil, curry paste, cilantro, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Blend smooth and transfer to a large bowl. Add chicken strips and mix to coat completely; cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
For the peanut sauce: In a blender, combine all ingredients, except the cilantro, and blend until smooth. Add small amounts of water as needed to adjust the consistency. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning by balancing the sweet, sour, salty and bitter flavors.
To grill chicken satay: Preheat a grill or grill pan on medium-high heat; lightly coat grate with oil to prevent sticking. Thread marinated chicken pieces onto bamboo skewers, leaving at 1/4 inch space between each piece of chicken to allow for even cooking. Grill satay for 2 to 3 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through and edges are lightly charred.
To serve: Arrange the chicken skewers on a serving platter and serve with peanut sauce on the side; garnish with cilantro.
Parisian Crepes with Chocolate Hazelnut Filling and Whipped Cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup water, plus more as needed
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
For the filling:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
To prepare crepe batter: Place all ingredients in the pitcher of a blender. Blend into a smooth batter with the consistency of heavy cream. If batter is too thick, whisk in additional water, 1 tbsp at a time. Cover and refrigerated for at least 30 minutes of up to overnight.
To cook the crepes: Heat a 9 inch crepe pan or high-quality, nonstick, skillet over medium-low heat until hot enough for a drop of water to size on contact. Brush the surface of the crepe pan with a thin film of melted butter using a silicone pastry brush.
Gently stir the batter and ladle 1/4 cup into the middle of the pan, tilting the pan quickly in all directions to evenly coat with a thin layer of batter. Cook crepe until the edges turn golden, 60 to 90 seconds. Gently lift the edge of the crepe with an offset spatula and quickly flip. Cook the second side until the batter is set, another 30 to 60 seconds.
Transfer the crepes to a plate and top with a sheet of parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining batter, brushing the pan with more butter as needed. Stack the crepes, layered between sheets of parchment to prevent sticking. You will need at least 8 crepes for serving.
To prepare the filling: Add the cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, add sugar and vanilla, and whip until the cream forms soft peaks.
To serve: Spoon the chocolate hazelnut spread over each crepe and fold the top half of the crepe over the filling; top with a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately.