Sharing his love for cuisine and culture
New Zealand’s growing interest in Indian cuisine excites Tokoroa’s Mohan Lal who has been running community cooking classes since 2000.
Once every term Lal, who is also the president of the Putaruru, Tokoroa and District Herb Society, runs evening Indian cooking classes at Tokoroa High School from 7pm until 9pm over seven weeks.
He said demand is high with people eager to learn how to make the various dishes they have tried at Indian restaurants or heard about via the internet.
‘‘People are becoming more aware of the health benefits that the spices in Indian dishes provide and they are also becoming more aware of different foods that are available, particularly younger generations who are more global and searching the internet. They are wanting to experience the things they see for themselves,’’ he said.
Lal’s latest classes start tonight and cater for new to experienced cooks.
‘‘We get doctors, lawyers, engineers - everybody - and people love it because food is something we all need,’’ he said.
‘‘Someone once said ‘one cannot think well, love well and sleep well, if one has not dined well’ and it is true.’’
‘‘One of the ways you can share your knowledge and culture is through food’’ Mohan Lal
Having taught internationally with a hospitality qualification, he said his love for cooking came at a young age.
‘‘My motivation to cook came from my mum. There were a few in my family and when she was cooking she used to tell us what she was putting in and why, so we learnt the science and art of cooking from a very young age,’’ he said.
He said his classes help people learn how to make dishes from scratch.
‘‘Because I am a herbalist I also teach people about the health benefits of different spices that we use in the food and they get lifelong, ongoing support from me,’’ he said.
‘‘I teach all the dishes that people want to learn and if they don’t know I show them recipes that are available.’’
‘‘One of the ways you can share your knowledge and culture is through food,’’ he said.
For more information phone Dr Trevor Bentley on 886 6109 before 5pm or 886 7312 after 5pm.
Mohan Lal is looking forward to teaching more people how to cook Indian cuisine.