Enfield chef Ela Teague on why she launched an Indian cookery school
I have been cooking since I was about eight years old; I would be in the kitchen with my mum and she would captivate me with our spice box, explaining each of the brightly-coloured spices and their flavours. This was enough – I was hooked!
I learnt to cook as many Indian dishes as I could, specifically from my heritage in the region of Gujarat, but also some dishes from Kenya and Zambia which is where my parents grew up. I wanted to be able to share my knowledge of Indian food, so from 2019 I started Cook Eat Joy, an Indian cookery school.
The focus has been to educate people on how to create traditional Indian food at home and to demystify the spice box. For many people, cooking with spices seems more complex than the Enigma code, but it really doesn’t have to be! My classes breakdown the different dishes and the spices used and what each spice brings to the dish. The aim is to give people the confidence to cook these dishes at home.
Feeding people is something I love, it brings me so much joy. I also love giving back to the local community, and I get an opportunity to do this for the memory club run by care provider Home Instead Enfield at St Paul’s Centre, Church Street.
I also support Cooking Champions when I can, providing meals that are distributed to families across the borough. During the pandemic I wanted to help support people through food.
A big part of my motivation for starting Cook Eat Joy was education. I feel cooking is a life skill, being able to take a few fresh ingredients and produce a healthy, nutritious and tasty meal is invaluable. My classes teach this skill for anyone, young or old. If you are interested in finding out more, please visit cookeatjoy.co.uk or find me on Instagram and Facebook.
In winter I try to plan for healthy, nutritious and tasty meals to boost my mood. I need my taste buds to feel the tingle, but I also want the feeling of a warm, comforting hug. So here is a simple recipe for golden potatoes, which can be made super spicy or mild, but packed full of flavour. The leftovers can even be made into the most fabulous toastie with cheese, onion and mango chutney!
Bateta nu Sak (Gujarati potatoes)
Serves two, cooking time 30 minutes
Four medium potatoes, cut to mouth-sized pieces;
Three tablespoons of oil; one teaspoon of mustard seeds;
One whole green chilli, sliced finely;
Two large cloves of garlic, grated finely;
1/4 inch of ginger, grated finely;
1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder;
1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder;
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric; one teaspoon of salt;
One handful of fresh chopped coriander
1. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds;
2. Add the diced potato and stir them gently;
3. Add the green chilli, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, and stir;
4. Reduce the heat and place a lid on the pan. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, remembering to stir occasionally to stop the potatoes sticking to the pan;
5. The potatoes should be soft and cooked through, you can then garnish with coriander;
6. Serve with yoghurt and chapatis and enjoy!