A Cooking Class in Orchha, India

When I was in Orchha, India with G Adventures, I had the chance to visit a young Indian lady, Rajni at her home for a cooking class. The cooking class took place on the floor in a spare room in her house, where she sat behind two burners and a variety of ingredients. I was amazed as we watched and learned how to make six different things on her small burners in just an hour (I can hardly cook one thing at once)!

Rajni 3

In the cooking class we learned how to make masala chai (tea), eggplant curry, cabbage and potato curry, boondi raita, mixed vegetable rice, fried dahl, and two types of bread (puri and chapati). Rajni whipped up her family recipes with grace, precision and speed, and before we knew it, we had the chance to eat up the masterpieces we created, and it was delicious! It’s one thing to have the chance to do a cooking class, but this experience felt incredibly intimate and local, especially since it was run in Rajni’s family home.


At the end of our lunch, she called over her friend to help with giving us all henna tattoos. The experience was not only tasty, but unique, and allowed our group to learn more about the yummy food we had been eating while in India, and equip us to try and recreate it at home (although I haven’t tried to yet). It’s not very often that you get to have such an authentic experience, and since this cooking class I’ve done some in other countries that didn’t come close to comparing to this intimate afternoon we had at Rajni’s. If you ever are in Northern India, and looking for a different experience, I encourage you to not only visit Orchha, but take part in one of these cooking classes.

Below I’ve shared the recipes of some of my favourite dishes from the day, and you can learn more about Rajni’s cooking classes on Facebook, or by emailing her at


Masala Chai 

– 5 cups of water
– 3 tsp of black tea
– 4 tsp sugar
– 2 pieces of fresh ginger (approximately 4 tsp)
– 3 pieces of green cardamon
– 1 piece of brown cardamon
– 4 pieces of black peppercorn
– 5 pieces of cloves
– 2 cups milk (their milk is really sweet, so I’d used condensed milk)

1) Put all spices together in a mortar and crush
2) Boil all ingredients on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes
3) Strain and serve

Eggplant Curry 

– 4 tbsp mustard or vegetable oil
– 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
– 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
– 1/2 tsp of anise seeds
– 1 tsp coriander
– 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
– 2 small red onions (their onions were significantly smaller, so I’d use maybe 1 small red onion)
– 2 tomatos
– 5 cloves of garlic (she said she used 10 but that seems insane, so use to taste)
– 1/2 tsp red chili powder
– 3 tsp coriander powder
– 1 tsp turmeric
– 1 tsp garam masala
– 1 tsp salt

1) Chop garlic, onion and tomato, and grind/puree.
2) Add all above spices and ingredients and cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes
3) Chop 3 small eggplants, add to spices
4) Add 1/2 cup of water
5) Cover and leave for 10 minutes
6) When cooked, add a handful of fresh coriander to garnish

Rajni 2

Cabbage & Potato Curry 

– 4 tbsp of mustard oil
– 1 tsp of mustard seeds
– 2 tsp of chopped garlic
– 2 chopped green chilis
– 1 chopped red onion (I’d use maybe 1/2 if it was a large onion)
– 500 g of cabbage
– 1 potato
– 2 large carrots
– A handful of fresh peas
– 1 tsp of salt
– 1 tsp of turmeric
– 3 tsp of coriander powder
– 1/2 tsp of red chili
– 1/2 tsp of garam masala
– A handful of cherry tomatoes

1) Add mustard oil, mustard seeds, garlic, green chili and onion and cook on medium heat until the onion is golden
2) Add the rest of the ingredients and cook covered for 10 minutes
3) When finished, garnish with fresh coriander

Mixed Vegetable Rice 

– 2 tbsp of ghee
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 stick of cinnamon
– 1 piece of brown cardamon
– 1 tsp of cumin seed
– 1 tsp mustard seed
– Mixed vegetables of your choice
– 1 cup basmati rice
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp of garam masala
– A pinch or turmeric
– 2 cups of water

1) Cook for 5-7 minutes in a pressure cooker or 15+ minutes in a covered pot.

Happy eating!

Other cooking class experiences:

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Mel Hattie
    April 4, 2016 at 10:10 am

    You’re making me hungry!

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