Mama takes foodies back
From fine cuisine to inventive fusion menus, chefs in the UAE are always innovative when it comes to food.
However, there’s a lot to be said for good old-fashioned, homemade meals. Not even the most high-profile celebrity chef will deny the benefits of cooking basic dishes alongside mother - it is, after all, where most of them started learning their trade.
With this in mind, Spectrum on One at The Fairmont Dubai, has launched ‘A Taste of Home’. The plan is to help foodies rediscover the love of home cooking and each month different ‘Mamas’ are invited to showcase their skills.
This month’s matriarch Pramilla De Souza, from Goa, shares her expertise and has been taking the delighted award-winning chefs at the restaurant back to basics.
“In Goa, we still take time out to cook and do things the traditional way,” ‘Mama’ De Souza explains. “We haven’t lost the art of making a home-cooked meal. We still make our curry pastes from scratch - we call it masala.
“Traditionally we grind it on stones but those who’ve become modern rely on mixers.”
Mama De Souza recognises that busy lifestyles often make it easy for people to find excuses not to cook at home. However, she advises: “If you take the time to plan, you’ll be able to do it and it’s so healthy because you’re careful with what you’re using.”
For those of us who rely on convenience food, Mama De Souza certainly gives food for thought on that subject.
“Take a Goan curry, it’s so easy. All you require is coconut, which over here you can spoon out from a packet! Back home we have to go get the coconut, open it, break it, sit and scrape it then make the curry! At home the procedure is very long. Here, it’s so convenient.”
Pramilla De Souza will share her skills at Spectrum on One with a special Goan ‘Taste of Home’ every evening from Sunday to Friday until June 15. At Dhs150 per person, it includes a four-course dinner.
An Arabic ‘Mama’ will join the team during Ramadan to teach chefs home-style Iftar dishes. Call 04 311 8559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mama Pramilla’s Prawn Curry Recipe
500g prawns - shelled and de-veined
Half cup of coconut, grated
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
1 onion - finely sliced
1 green chilli - sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon - coriander powder
Quarter teaspoon - cumin powder
Half teaspoon - chilli powder
Quarter teaspoon - turmeric
1 marble-sized ball of tamarind
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Extract the juice of the tamarind by placing the marble-sized ball in a cup of water.
In a medium-sized pot, heat the oil on high and add the onions. When the onions turn translucent, add the dry spices and fry for a minute.
Add the green chilli and cook under medium heat. Add the prawns, tamarind water, coconut milk and bring
to a boil.
Reduce to simmer and let the curry cook to the consistency you like, adding water to thin out
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over a bed of basmati rice or with your favourite