This past spring, Madison Public Library hosted a series of cooking classes with White Jasmine. I was able to sign up for two of the classes and had a great time at both. The classes were aimed toward learning how to cook a variety of Pakistani food. I really enjoy all food, especially food with a lot of flavor and spice, so I was really excited to get an idea of how I could make some tasty food for myself.
During the second lesson that I attended (the final lesson in the series) the class focused on vegetarian cooking. I personally prefer to have a meat dish with every meal but it was fun to learn how to cook some alternative meals options such as chickpeas and zucchini. Though they were intended to be vegetarian main courses, both could be eaten as a side dish.
When we arrived at the library, we walked into a room set up to view a cooking demonstration. At the front of the room were several ingredients, spices, and cooking tools. Each seat had a copy of each recipe that was being prepared as well as a survey for everyone to complete toward the end of the program.
After everyone arrived, the organizer of the event said a few words. Huma Siddiqui then took over the show. She explained to us that she had moved to Wisconsin from London and was startled by the lack of flavor and spices used in American cooking. She started to share her recipes and cooking experience and began to teach cooking classes in the Madison area. The spices are for sale on their website and at Woodman’s grocery stores.
While she was sharing her background, she began to prepare the meal. First, she started to prepare the lentils, then the chickpeas, and finally the zucchini. She did a great job giving tips about each dish to us and answering questions while the food was cooking. For those of us who weren’t familiar with all of the spices that were being used, she passed around the jars (which are a product that she sells) which allowed us to see and smell each one. We also had the recipes in front of us so that we could take notes on how to properly prepare the food for ourselves at home.
After the food was ready, we got to do the fun part. We all lined up and were able to eat as much of the food as we wanted. Everything was incredibly delicious, and I was especially in love with the chickpeas. I went back for seconds.. and thirds! It was hard to eat the chickpeas because they were incredibly spicy due to the chili pepper, but that certainly didn’t stop me from eating as much of the delicious food as I could.
Madison Public Library will be hosting another set of these cooking classes this fall and registration is currently open. The classes are also periodically available throughout the community at a low cost and information about upcoming classes can be found on the White Jasmine website.
I haven’t yet had the chance to make one of these recipes, but I am pretty sure the chickpeas would be a great fall meal. I also really enjoyed attending this class with my mom and one of my friends, it is a fun way to try out something new in our community.