An Indian summer evening with the Darjeeling Express – Summer Spice Supper Club

Invited by an old friend to experience one of his school friend’s supper club evenings, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As I entered the rather impressive building in West London, I smelt the address before I stumbled upon it. I was met by a very vibrant and exuberant room full of five tables packed with first time supper club goers and some apparently familiar diners. It was a sweltering evening and I was literally melting in my jeans, but with all of the Indian artwork, and rugs around the flat and the smell of spices wafting from the kitchen.. a tiny part of me imagined I was in a mystical part of India.

Summer Spice Menu

Summer Spice Menu

Refreshing Saffron Lassi Refreshing Saffron Lassi[/caption]

One of the fun parts to any supper club is the people and guests you get to meet and speak to. Our table, was a table of newcomers mostly, which meant we were all tasting these recipes and dishes with fresh eyes (well taste buds). The menu listed an impressive selection of family recipes over 4 generations of Asma’s family, recipes passed down through her family and made for us with love.

<img Chaat from Calcuttasrc=”https://thedelicioustraveller.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/img_0574-e1405430958626.jpg?w=300&#8243; alt=”Spiced Potato Patties” width=”300″ height=”225″ class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-763″ />

We were warned several times to pace ourselves over the evening, but naturally this was ignored and frankly it was too hard as everything was delicious, the spices in the food were not too strong; but delivered a flavoursome impact. The starters ranged from Chicken Reshmi (boneless) Kebab and Spiced potato patties, Onion Bhajii to Paneer Kebab for the vegetarians; to Street food Chaat from Calcutta (or a flavour food bomb when popped in the mouth), simply scrumpy, with that feel good factor you can only ever get from good homemade cooks, who know their ingredients. Needless to say all of these starters were devoured and plate after plate was left empty, as if we’d never seen food before!

Spiced Potato Patties

Bring on the Indian Banquet

Bring on the Indian Banquet

Chef Asma and her team

Chef Asma and her team

As the mains started to arrive, despite it being a hot and balmy evening, the Bhopali Achaar chicken curry aromas drifting in from the kitchen were still very tempting. Asma matched the succulent chicken curry, which was my favourite dish of the evening with a very light and fluffy lemon cashew nut rice, which went together perfectly and was not too heavy. For the vegetarians they had several dishes made of cabbage and potatoes and aubergine and okra cooked with coconut milk, which I was quite jealous of and wished we had been given a little side dish of, for us meat eaters. The chicken curry was quickly followed by a Bengali Prawn Malai curry, which divided several tables over which dish they preferred. The final main dish was a Bihari Kala Channa made from Black Chickpeas and was also delicious, my first time to try black chickpeas in this was and I absolutely loved them, although they were very filling.

Chaat from Calcutta

Chaat from Calcutta

Spicy Curry Onions

Spicy Curry Onions

The tables were also served various accompaniments from the lemon rice, to a cucumber raita, which was refreshing and perfect for the hot summer evening and two chutney .. one aptly named by one of the guests (blow your head off green chili with onions) and a tamarind chutney all homemade and very Moorish.

Chicken Curry and Lemon Rice

Chicken Curry and Lemon Rice

Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita

We trooped out and headed towards Earl’s Court around 11.00pm thoroughly sated and ready to collapse into bed. Asma, holds several supper club evenings and you can book through her website to ensure you’ll have a place on the night. It’s fun to go as a group or just 1 or 2 of you, which ensures you’ll get to chat to the other people at the evening; almost as much fun as eating the food itself.

The food business, Darjeeling Express is Asma’s journey to spread her passion for authentic Indian regional flavours rooted in the old fashioned techniques of cooking – no instant spice pastes and masala mixes in her kitchen. She cooks with recipes which have been in her family for generations. The food comes straight out of the Royal and Mughali School of cuisine which is part of her heritage. In addition to her Rajput and North Indian food influences on her father’s side, Asma cooks the food of Calcutta where she was born and raised. To book or see when the next supper club event is on go to:

http://darjeeling-express.com/

email: darjeelingexpress@hotmail.co.uk

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