Parveen The Spice Queen: Be brave, try something different

Parveen the Spice Queen
Parveen the Spice Queen

I am quite a creative soul, really...I love anything that involves my imagination and I don’t mean just in terms of food - anything creative really.

I do flower arranging, calligraphy, as well as jewellery and card making. However, there is one thing that I can’t do as well as I’d like to think I can, and that’s my makeup. I don’t mean everyday makeup, I am talking about heavy stage makeup that I need for cooking demonstrations and filming. I end up applying way too much and end up looking less like a spice queen and more like a drag queen!

Parveen the Spice Queen

Parveen the Spice Queen

So, I decided to book myself on one-day course in the fabulously multicultural city of Leicester...It was excellent but nothing like I expected, and I was quite a way out of my comfort zone - a zone I don’t usually like to be in. The tutor was asking me to do this and that - things I would not normally do - and throughout the day, she kept saying”come on Parveen, be brave, be brave”.

Well I was, and by the end of the day my bravery paid off - I had tried something new, and enjoyed it. Armed with my new found confidence, I decided to try something else that was new to me - pure vegetarian authentic cuisine. This is quite unusual for me, as when I am eating out I tend to go for a sizzling platter. I went to an authentic restaurant called Chai Pani - I ordered some dishes I was familiar with like vegetable biriyani, potato bhajis (which were as good as mine, or even better, but shush, don’t tell my clients) then I had a masala dosa, which is a very large thin type of savoury crepe made with rice flour, filled with spicy potato served with a coconut chutney, it was absolutely delicious.

I had tried something new, and it had paid off.

So, this week I wanted you guys to try something new and be brave too. Of course you don’t have to go all the way to Leicester to do it. The next time you order a takeaway or go out for an Indian meal, step out of your comfort zone and try something you haven’t tried before. To help you I have written a few top tips. I hope they help, and please let me know how you get on.

CHEF’S RECOMMENDATION

Get to know your waiter, ask for their name and what dishes the chef recommends. Remember, the waiter may not have tasted all of the dishes, but the chefs will have.

ORDERING VEGETABLES DISHES

Rather than the usual tarka daal, try okra, chick pea, aubergines or courgettes. These all taste great in a masala sauce.

LOOK AT THE OTHER PATRONS

This may sound a little odd but when you are choosing an Indian restaurant, try eating in one that is frequented by Indian clientele - then you know it’s the real deal.

To contact Parveen go to www.ParveenTheSpiceQueen.com