Vegan MoFo #26 – I couldn’t participate in the Vegan Month of Food blog challenge without mentioning the inspiration that really pushed me to finally get my blog up and running. While I’ve been a web developer for many years, and a vegan even longer, I never sat down and put pen-to-paper (or fingers-to-keyboard) until a few months ago. Although I am passionate about being vegan and eating tasty, healthy, cruelty-free food AND I’m a little geek deep inside who gets so much pleasure out of launching a website or web application, I just never put the two together, or at least, never realized how much joy it could bring me (and others). That is, until I met Madhu.
Who is Madhu? Well, she’s an amazing woman who combined her Indian background with a love of teaching and passion for vegetarianism. What initially started as a few friends asking her to teach them how to make Indian food has become a full-on weekly commitment to teach people all about the intricacies of Indian food, but also how easily it can be made yourself at home.
Madhu offers two vegan Indian cooking weekend workshops per year, as well as vegetarian Indian cooking classes each Saturday, all from her home, just Northwest of Sydney. During the classes, you learn all about the different spices used in Indian cooking, as well as the many other ways that they can heal and protect. Madhu has a big, beautiful and modern kitchen, with a huge island and enough stools for everyone to sit comfortably while she demonstrates her family’s recipes, as well as other ones that she’s perfected over the years. But don’t think that you can just sit back and relax. Everyone gets involved, either as a volunteer demonstrating part of a particular recipe, or as a group, like when everyone gets to roll out the Poori bread. All the ingredients are chopped and prepped beforehand, so you don’t waste a lot of time with all that. Instead, you learn how to make 6-7 dishes in only 4 hours, and everyone then gets to tuck into it together at the end of the day. It’s a great sense of accomplishment to make such beautiful and soulful food – and sharing it together with everyone at the end makes for a very friendly and feel-good experience.
I personally attended the 2-day Indian Vegan Weekend Workshop back in August, and I have nothing but great things to say about the experience. We learned how to make North Indian food the first day, and South Indian the second, and I have to admit that I didn’t really know the difference until that weekend! I discovered many new dishes (and new favorites), and also tasted old favorites that were leaps and bounds better than anything I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant. All classes include a full recipe folder, so you bring Madhu’s family recipes home with you. The weekend workshop (along with the Traditional Home-style Indian class) also includes a spice starter kit, which is great because you can start cooking right away, rather than having to run around trying to gather all the spices that you’ll need. When you add all that up, along with the 2 feasts that you eat at the end of each day, AND all the tips and hands-on training, it’s awesome value!
Day 1 (North Indian):
Beyond all that, the experience was particularly life-changing for me. Not only did I learn how to make mouth-watering vegan Indian food (and learn how to use all the spices a bit more confidently!), but seeing Madhu in action really inspired me to follow my own dreams. I saw a woman who already had a great life, take it to the next level by combining a few of her passions into a new hobby and career. You can tell that she really loves what she’s doing – you would have to in order to let complete strangers come into your home every weekend! Her true love of teaching and willingness to share her passion (and compassion) really convinced me to finally share my love of vegan food with the world, via this blog. Thank you, Madhu, for your recipes, kindness, compassion, and inspiration!
NOTE: I have not been paid to write this post. I just really wanted to share my awesome experience with you. If you’re in Australia, I encourage you to contact Madhu and attend one of her Ma Indian Cooking classes. There are often people in attendance who are out-of-town, which speaks to how great these classes really are. This would also make a great gift idea for that special vegetarian/vegan (or omni) foodie in your life. If you do attend, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear all about your experience!
Day 2 (South Indian):