Parveen The Spice Queen: Spice yourself slim


One of the things I do as part of my day job is cooking lessons.

I teach in small groups, large groups or several students at a time, but what I love the most is when someone hires me to do a private cooking lesson.

I don’t think I am the only one who enjoys them - my students do too!

I find that most people quite like the 1-2-1 tuition plus as it’s just me and them, they have my undivided attention and the cooking lesson goes at the pace they need and require.

Oh!... who am I kidding - I get to talk and cook, my two favourite pastimes.

Last weekend, I was teaching one of my clients, Robin (who is also a friend) how to cook my recipes but we had to do them the ‘Slimming World’ way. Rob has done so well and lost nearly two stone, so we had to cook dishes that would fit into his healthy eating regime.

Therefore, we cooked the dishes with minimal oil but maximum taste!

All we had to do was reduce the amount of oil, and for the chicken masala we doubled up on some of the ingredients, so there is less oil per portion.

Notice, I said “reduce” the oil not cut it out.

This is because you need a certain amount of oil in order to cook the spices properly.

If you don’t add oil, it will turn out like a spicy casserole, because the taste and the depth flavour comes from the way the spices are fried as they cook.

This is usually done by turning up the heat to high, and not by simmering.

Basically, a good curry sauce or masala needs a good amount of heat, so it does get quite hot.

Well, you know what they say ‘if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen!’

I’m only jesting - just follow my recipes and YouTube videos and you will have great tasting authentic Indian food.

Here’s some thoughts on the cooking lesson from Rob.

“I was surprised how high the heat was whilst cooking the chicken masala but I can see how it changed the flavour of the curry sauce, once the spices had been stir seemed to turn from a sort of stew-like dish to a proper flavoured curry.

“Some of the starters were so easy to make.

“I used spray oil to cook the tandoori chicken and lambsheesh - it was a breeze.

“They took minutes and it was really quick, with massive flavours.

“All the family liked it, even my youngest, Eddie who normally eats plain pasta and fish fingers!

As I am on Slimming World, we added less oil, but the food was still full of flavour. Plus, making it from scratch was great as you can control what goes in it.” 

One of my guests, Phil, actually had seconds of the amazing lemon and coriander salad - and he usually never eats salad.

But he had one complaint, the plates were not big enough!

To contact Parveen or mfind out more about her recipes, visit her website www,