Culinary Tales is an inspiring project by the incredible team at Enactus, University Of Sydney.
In its second year of operation, Culinary Tales provides disadvantaged refugees with work experience by employing them to run cooking classes. The classes are designed for home cooks like you and me who love food and want to learn something a little more exotic
I felt incredibly privileged to attend a class by the beautiful soul, Mili. Mili is originally from Gujarat, a state in North-West India. In her class we learnt to how make Pav Bhaji (traditional Indian vegetable curry with bread rolls) and Gulub Jamun (Sweet Indian Dumplings). Whilst we all prepped and followed Mili's precise cooking instructions, we learnt more about Indian spices, traditions & her story.
Personally, I found it to be a moving and emotional experience.
Mili was kind enough to let us share her Pav Bhaji (Indian Vegetable Curry) recipe with you.
I really encourage you to make this at home for yourself. I guarantee it tastes as good, if not better than your local Indian takeaway. This curry is delicate with a beautiful cleanliness to it.
Pav Bhaji is actually one of the most popular street foods in Mumbai. Typically eaten in Autumn and Winter when most of these vegetables are in season. Mili gave us a stark reminder that many households in India aren't fortunate enough to have a freezer so they eat whatever is in season & available. There is a nice lesson in that don't you think.
Mili's Pav Bhaji (Indian Mixed Vegetables)
Potato 500g, peeled, quartered, rinsed
Cauliflower 1 small, roughly chopped
Eggplant 1, peeled, roughly chopped
Red Capsicum 1 medium, de-seeded & diced
Tomatoes 3 chopped
Onions 250g diced
Long Green Chilli 1 small, chopped
Dried Red Chilli 1, soaked in warm water
Garlic 2-3 chopped
Turmeric 2 tsp
Chilli Powder 1/2 tsp
Pav Bhaji Masala Powder Spice Mix 1 heaped TB (we used the Everest brand)
Coriander 1 large bunch, roughly chopped
Lemon 1 quartered
- Vegetable oil
Pav (Round Bread Rolls) for serving
Place a casserole pot on the stove top over a medium heat. Pour in 3-4 cups of water, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp of turmeric. Bring the water to a boil then add the diced potato, cauliflower and eggplant. Reduce to a simmer and cook for approx 30-40 mins with the lid on until softened, adding a touch more water if you need it. (If you have a pressure cooker you can use this). Mash all vegetables until you have a pulp like consistency. If it's too watery, just drain the veggies and add them back into the pot to mash.
In the meantime add the chopped tomatoes, dried chilli, garlic and chopped green chilli in a bowl with a dash of water. Using a hand blender blitz the mixture until you achieve a runny gravy like consistency. Set aside.
Next saute the diced onion in a fry pan with a drizzle of vegetable oil over a low-medium heat. Careful not to let the onion burn, you just want it to soften. After 5 mins add the chopped capsicum and cook for a further 2-3 mins. Throw in the last 1 tsp of turmeric, chilli powder and the blended tomato mixture. Cover and cook over a low heat for 5 mins. Add in the Pav Bhaji Masala spice mix.
Finally combine the mashed vegetables with the onion, tomato spice mixture, stirring until everything is thoroughly combined. Pour into a serving bowl and top with a generous spoonful of butter, fresh coriander.
Slice the bread rolls in half and in a fry pan toast each half with a dollop of butter.
Serve the hot bread rolls alongside the mixed veggies and lemon wedges. As an option you can have side bowls of raw diced onion and green chillies to add on top (highly recommended!)
In between lots of laughs and thought provoking moments, we all got to enjoy the feast we cooked together. It was the perfect way to wrap up such an enriching experience.
The world-wide Enactus network aims to empower individuals & communities through social entrepreneurial action. Students are challenged to create sustainable improves which improve the standard of living for people in need. Culinary Tales is doing just that.
Classes are only $65 pp and all proceeds go back into the program to support refugees.
If you'd like to learn more about Culinary Tales or to book a spot in one of their classes reach out here
. (Upcoming classses are Indian & Fijian!)
I wanted to say a huge heartfelt thanks to the team at Enactus for such a memorable day.