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I'm Anjum Anand. I'm a food writer and a chef, and I am passionate about Indian food.
In this series, I'll be going on a journey
to show how different regional flavours of the Indian subcontinent
can be found up and down the country.
From fantastic Bengali food in London,
to the delicate flavours of Gujarat found in Leicester,
I'll be showing novice cooks how to prepare great Indian dishes.
-Will you now eat lamb in Indian restaurants?
This week, I'm heading to Yorkshire to meet
train enthusiast Jessica Thewlis, who's a volunteer chef on the Keighley And Worth Valley Railway.
Jessica regularly cooks for more than 50 passengers,
who have paid to take a trip back in time,
and travel on a steam locomotive through the stunning landscape of Bronte country.
The menu, up until now, has been mainly European,
but the volunteers of this heritage railway have decided to change
all that, and offer a lavish Kashmiri meal instead.
Jessica is going to be head chef.
Have you ever cooked Indian food?
No. I've used jars and things, but that's really it.
-That's not cooking.
However, she's going to have to learn to cook
a three-course authentic Indian meal for her passengers.
So I'm going to show Jessica how to prepare some lavish and mouth-watering Kashmiri dishes.
You get one flavour rapidly followed by another,
-and then you get that crunch of the vegetables.
-That's fantastic to hear!
I'll also be taking her into the kitchens and homes of
Bradford's Kashmiri community, so she can learn some of the culinary secrets behind the region's cuisine.
He's a very cool chef. If that was me I'd think, things are starting to burn now.
-Nothing will burn.
-He's not bothered.
But can Jessica stay cool under pressure?
Or will she find things just too hot to handle?
-Where do you want these?
-I was going to fry them but we haven't got time.
A little bit behind at the moment. So, that's why things are getting a little bit fraught.
As she attempts to cook Indian food on a train, for the very first time.
Kashmiri food has been heavily influenced
by the cuisines of central Asia.
Even today, lamb, yoghurt, rice, saffron and nuts
are the most common ingredients in Kashmiri cooking.
Kashmir is in the north-west region of the Indian subcontinent.
Many of the Kashmiris in Britain came to Yorkshire,
particularly Bradford, to work in the cotton mills.
I'm heading to the village of Oxenhope,
about ten miles from Bradford, to meet Jessica.
This stunning landscape was the inspiration for Emily Bronte's classic novel, Wuthering Heights.
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway was started in 1968.
It's a recreation of a 1950s branch line serving the local community.
The train offers tourists the chance to experience times long past.
It's hugely popular and is entirely run by volunteers like Jessica,
who help to maintain a wonderful piece of history in Yorkshire.
-Are you Jessica?
-I am, yes.
-How do you do?
-Nice to meet you. Shall we have a look around?
-There you go.
This is one of our Pullman carriages.
-And this is where we actually serve the on-train diners.
-So we can have 48 to 60 people at any one sitting.
Up to six courses and perhaps...
-Up to six courses?
-Up to six courses.
And sometimes even three options per course.
And what kind of food do you serve on these evenings?
It can be a huge variety.
It can be things such as roast beef and things like that for our Sunday lunch train.
To more complicated dishes.
And how big is your kitchen?
It's a standard carriage length. But...
-Long and thin?
-Yes. But it sounds a lot bigger than it actually is once you see it.
This is the tiny kitchen where all the action takes place.
Jessica and two other colleagues will have to prepare
a three-course Indian meal in this space, for up to 50 guests.
Have you ever cooked Indian food?
No, I've used jars and things, but that's really it.
-That's not cooking.
To get her taste buds tingling, I am going to start Jessica off with a delicious Kashmiri specialty...
lamb kebabs or koftas, with a vibrant radish chutney.
I have brought all the spices I need in my spice box.
The spice box is an essential utensil for all Indian cooks.
It keeps your seven most frequently used spices fresh and close to hand.
It's also perfect to help you cook on a moving train.
Have you talked to your team about this Indian meal challenge?
Yes, we have had discussions about trying different things.
Currently a lot of our food, as I mentioned, is very English-based.
-And it's an opportunity for us to actually
do something different and trial it,
and see if the customers like it.
So you're going to be learning and then teaching them...
-Passing it on.
-What you learn. Mm-hm. OK. So you see,
-I'm going to blame everything on you.
'The mince is mixed with yoghurt, bread crumbs, black and green
'cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and an egg to bind.'
Well, they are incredibly light, aren't they?
Yeah. We can go on and make our chutney,
-cos it takes just a minute by the time they cook.
I'm using Greek yoghurt, grated radish, fresh mint and roasted cumin seeds.
I know it looks like a raita, but the Kashmiris call it a chutney.
I'm going to put some chutney and I want you to try it,
-and be honest.
-Mmm. That's lovely.
-Yes. Very subtle.
-but really flavourful.
-That's how it should be.
Do you feel confident,
seeing how easy it is, that you can go and, assuming
I'll continue to make it as easy as I can for you,
That you'll be able to cook an Indian meal for your passengers?
I think our team will be able to deal with that.
Those passengers will have a fantastic taste of India
as they savour days gone by on this wonderful steam train.
Back in the days of the Raj, it was trains like this one
that opened up the subcontinent to British influence.
One of its greatest achievements was enabling the spread
of a much-loved British tradition - the drinking of tea.
So I am taking Jessica to Bradford for a cuppa. Kashmiri style.
Hamayan is a food inspector at work, but at home he's an enthusiastic cook,
and is passionate about food from Kashmir.
These are Kashmiri tea leaves.
When they get boiled up in water they open up
and at the end they are sieved out, otherwise you'd probably choke on them.
-The other ingredient which is quite important is cardamom.
And then, this is cinnamon, cinnamon bark and star anise.
I can imagine this in tea being amazing.
How many varieties of Kashmiri tea are there? Lots of them?
Loads. Loads. Loads of varieties.
-Because...it's a big area.
-And I'm sure there's variations from village to village,
-place to place, as there's different colours as well of Kashmiri tea.
Traditional Kashmiri breakfast tea, we have as just a normal tea, but it's very milky.
-In Kashmir they use a pink colour just to add a little bit of colour to it.
-What we'd like to use is this - rose petal syrup.
And it does give it a really nice sort of aroma.
-Yeah. It really is sort of a sweet essence of rose.
-Dab it behind my ears.
So, onto the stove.
We're going to use about three spoons of this, of the tea leaves.
OK? It's actually like a cooked tea.
-It's not, you know, it...it's like a dish.
-In fact, I could cook a few dishes a lot quicker than I can make this tea.
-It's such a labour of love.
And now what I've got to do is, I've got to...it's called "pentna."
My wife is good at it and she was just trying to tell me, she... It's a bit of a...
a bit of a skill. What you do is you've got to keep just sort of ladling it and turning it...
-Just keeping it moving.
-Yeah. And then...
-And then in goes the milk.
Just nice and slowly.
OK. So you just get...you can just see that, that causes it
to turn quite a nice sort of lightish sort of pink
which just gives it a bit of an interesting sort of tinge.
-It's like an oyster pink. Really delicate. Yeah.
So that's...that's the end of the process now.
I bet you're saying, thank God for that!
And then what we'll do is sieve all the goodies out now.
And...and...they do say that it tastes nicer in china cups so...
Well, all tea tastes nicer...
-Yeah. I agree with that.
-It's got to be china.
So how do you say, kind of "cheers."
What would you say when you drink tea?
-I would say, "bismillah" and just take a sip and...
-It's a bit hot.
-I can imagine sitting in front of the fire.
-I think that tea must be quite special,
because to put three teaspoons and still to have such a delicacy of flavour...
Oh, that's really nice.
Jessica has a big challenge ahead.
In just over a week, she's going to have to prepare
three different Kashmiri dishes for 50 discerning passengers.
For the vegetarians, there'll be paneer stuffed peppers,
a lovely blend of sweet vegetables, spices and Indian cheese.
For dessert, I'm going to show Jessica
how to make a sweet that reminds me of my childhood in India.
Sweet angel hair vermicelli with orange cream.
But the first dish I'm going to show her how to make
is a classic Rogan Josh,
a hearty lamb stew that has all the delicate flavours of Kashmir.
Now, Rogan Josh is probably the most familiar Kashmiri dish
that we know of in this country.
-If I could just ask you to slice that onion.
In Kashmir, they would use just lots of spices, and yoghurt.
So if you slice that and I'll get into these garlic cloves
-to make a puree.
OK. Since you've done the onion, let's start cooking.
First, I'm going to fry up all my spices in hot oil.
I'm using black and green cardamom pods, pepper corn,
cloves, cinnamon and mace, which is derived from the nutmeg tree.
Next, I'm going to make a paste using six cloves of garlic
and one square inch piece of ginger.
So in with our meat.
And, if I can have you gently browning that off in the onions.
I haven't gone too dark with the onions
is cos they're going to cook now more with the meat...
-Even more. Yeah.
There's big pieces here. Would you leave them this size?
No. I would have cut them smaller.
-For the train...
-That's what I was thinking.
-Does it matter, having them smaller?
-No. It doesn't matter, at all.
In India we eat with our hands
-so we'll tear bits off and that's fine.
But for the train, you absolutely cut them to the right size for you.
-So how did you get involved in this train? Or how did that happen?
Your parents are involved too, aren't they?
-Yes. They are still... Slightly less involved than they were.
My father used to be chairman of the catering department.
Ah! Now the connection makes sense.
-He roped you in, didn't he?
-Something like that, yes.
He did what an Indian father does.
He goes, "This is what I do, come and do it with me."
OK. I'm just going to puree these tomatoes.
Then I'm adding half a teaspoon of chilli powder
and two teaspoons of cumin,
coriander and garam masala.
-Now, fennel seed is really typical of Kashmir.
It is something that should go into Rogan Josh. It just works.
Although it sounds unusual, it works well with the lamb.
So I'm adding two teaspoons. OK.
Stir, stir, stir!
You can see the colour's already gotten darker.
-It's looking more like how you'd expect curry to look.
In go the tomatoes.
-This is yoghurt. I've stirred it so it's got no lumps.
So, three tablespoons.
OK? Stir. And that's really all that goes into it.
Now I'm going to leave the lamb to stew for about 20 minutes.
Once the liquid has reduced, I brown the meat slowly in the masala.
-What it's doing is concentrating those flavours?
So you just need enough liquid in there to stop it catching?
-Yeah, exactly. So it shouldn't be dry.
But there shouldn't be so much liquid that it's bubbling away.
-So I'm happy with that.
-I can smell the caramelisation of that masala.
I need to add some water.
It's not supposed to be a thin gravy, but also not thick,
cos we're going to have it with rice
so we need enough to moisten that.
All right, so that's boiling. I'm putting the heat back on.
Turning it down a bit and then, leaving it till the lamb's completely cooked.
Another ten minutes or so.
Un petit peu de garnish.
That is more than garnish cos once you crunch into that with the lamb,
it's really fragrant and fresh.
And I think it's time to try.
And we have lift off.
-That's not converting you to eat lamb in Indian restaurants, is it?
-That's a good curry.
If I do say so myself!
This fabulous lamb curry would normally be served with Kashmiri pilaf rice.
Jessica's going to cook it as a side dish on the train,
so I'm taking her to meet the executive chef of the Aagrah chain of Kashmiri restaurants in Bradford,
He is going to show us his own special recipe.
I'm going to fry the onions.
That's the...that's the start.
Now you can add the garlic.
-We can toss that. Yeah.
-Let me feel like I'm being at least a little useful.
-All right then.
-I don't like standing here doing nothing. All of it?
-All of it.
He is a very cool chef.
-If that was me, I'd think things are starting to burn now...
-Nothing will burn.
He's not bothered! He knows it's going to turn out fine anyway.
This is where experience comes in, knowing that it will be all right in the end.
-It'll be all right.
-He's here and still smiling.
-Now, so far it's very easy in there.
-It is. I can do this.
-Are you enjoying it?
Mohammed then adds his own unique blend of whole and powdered spices.
-All...all of that water in there.
-All of it?
-You see the combination of that water and the oils
and the flavour of all these spices, it needs to come out.
-That's what we're trying to do now.
Next, let's put the saffron in, to give the flavour of the saffron...
-All of it in?
-All of it?
Saffron is the flattened stigma of a small crocus.
It's often called the golden spice
because it's one of the most expensive in the world.
It takes around 50,000 hand-picked blooms to obtain just one pound of dried saffron.
It has a delicate, distinctive flavour, a striking colour
and has been used for centuries for cooking and its medicinal qualities.
The rice has been boiled in the spicy broth until all the water has been absorbed.
It's now steaming for around 25 minutes.
-Now even if you steam cook that for 45 minutes, it's not going to ruin the rice at all.
50 minutes, it won't.
-Right. Half an hour.
-But the minimum it needs is 15 to 20 minutes.
-15 to 20.
-Oh, wow, yes.
-That's a really meaty, tasty smell.
-You can... Exactly. Without meat.
It's still got that nice texture.
Yeah. A great texture.
-Which you've done very well.
Now that Jessica seems to be mastering the art of Kashmiri cuisine,
it's back to my kitchen and time to show her my next dish -
Paneer Stuffed Peppers.
This is a delicate dish made with simple spices
that contrast beautifully with sweet onions and paneer.
And when stuffed into the pepper, it becomes a classic combination.
If I can get you to just take the tops off these peppers,
-and take out the seeds.
-And I'll chop an onion.
There we go.
Put this in the oven.
-We just want these to soften.
-Not brown, not collapse.
Next, I'm going to get Jessica to chop up three tomatoes,
whilst I add a teaspoon of cumin seeds to hot oil.
Then it's in with the chopped onion,
before finely chopping an inch square of ginger.
So, how many of you volunteered to do the "cheffing" on the train?
-There's three main chefs.
-And the idea is to...
Are they trained chefs, or are they keen cooks?
No. We're called chefs, but actually, it's just people who enjoy cooking.
-Any major mishaps?
-My first sort of solo wine and dine
that I did when I was in full responsibility for the menu, when I managed to burn the bread buns.
-The first thing out.
-In the oven?
-We put them under the grill to warm them through, but they caught.
-What did you do?
Did you serve burnt bread buns or did you have to kind of source a whole new lot?
No no. We just carefully cut the tops off and then sprinkled them with flour.
OK. Why don't you get stirring...?
I'll get you to put in the next spices, cos the onions are really brown now.
And, I'll just add the tomatoes.
I'm going to wait for the tomatoes to soften, then I'm adding two teaspoons of coriander.
A teaspoon of garam masala.
A pinch of chilli powder and turmeric.
And seasoning to taste.
I'm just going to chop these beans.
I mean, you can make them as small or as big as you like.
-I think I like them quite dainty.
OK. And if you throw the peas in at the same time.
-Straight in, all of them?
-Yes. Straight in.
Then we'll add our paneer in.
Crumble it into the dish.
-Just give it a stir.
I'm going to add a little water, cos I do want there to be a little sauce to go with it,
cos we're serving it with rice and I don't want it to be too dry.
And then, cream.
So maybe five tablespoons or so of cream.
Just to add a bit of something special.
OK. And stir that in.
And that, with a handful of coriander,
is the vegetarian option.
I think we'll just place this on without the lid on top.
Let me know what you think.
We didn't add too much chilli powder, so it shouldn't be too hot.
Hopefully you'll get the delicacy of the spices.
Yeah. And, you actually get them in stages, don't you?
-I think you do, anyway.
You get one flavour rapidly followed by another
and then you get that crunch of the vegetables.
That's fantastic to hear.
That'll go down really well. I'll be very happy, anyway.
-That's my kind of food.
The final dish I want to show Jessica is one that I was brought up on.
It's a delicious light dessert made from angel hair vermicelli,
and topped with a refreshing orange cream.
I need 125 grams of vermicelli,
and with Jessica's help break them up into small pieces.
Then I'm going to fry the vermicelli in a small amount of ghee.
Ghee is just used in all desserts across India.
It's just basically butter that's been clarified.
It takes around three minutes.
Do you...are you a dessert person?
Not really, no. I'm more of a main course and sort of thing. I don't have a sweet tooth.
You don't go to the Indian restaurants and ask for kulfis and all of that?
It's always been one of my things that,
Indian restaurants really don't serve that many desserts.
-You get two options and that might be it.
Which is a shame because Indian desserts are so delicious.
Next, I'm adding a couple of tablespoons of sugar,
200 millilitres of water,
and then I'm going to let the vermicelli steam on a low flame for four minutes,
whilst I prepare the cream.
I'm using around 90 millilitres of double cream,
and adding a tablespoon of sugar and a quarter of a teaspoon of orange rind.
I love orange in desserts.
It's such a fragrant, fresh way of dealing with it.
Then I'm going to whip the ingredients together for around a minute.
My favourite time.
-They're very nice.
Very light for the end of the meal.
Jessica's learned three fabulous Kashmiri dishes
that I feel will satisfy even the most discerning of diners.
The only thing that remains is to see whether she can prepare them
by herself, under pressure, and on a train.
I have come back to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in South Yorkshire.
Today Jessica and the rest of the railway's volunteers,
are preparing for their usual weekend round trip between Oxenhope and Keighley.
But for the very first time they'll be serving curry on the menu,
for around 45 passengers each paying £25 a head.
-Green cardamom pods, we've got those?
Although Jessica is incredibly organised, the size of the task is beginning to dawn on her.
I'm busy getting on with it, really. Not trying to think too much of it
cos if I do, then I'll get paranoid about it, probably.
Head chef Jessica has to prepare three Kashmiri dishes.
Paneer Stuffed Peppers,
and Sweet Angel Hair Vermicelli.
She also has to get the rest of her team to work with her to make it happen.
-It has to be like that...
Locked into position. So if you hold that in...
-Let's get them in now and once they're done, they can go in the hot cupboard.
I have arrived a whole two hours before the train leaves the station,
and there's still lots for Jessica to do.
That's fine. Thank you.
Though she's rushed off her feet, she's doing a good job of staying cool.
-Are you all right?
-How is it going?
-Oh, it's going OK.
Can I help at all?
I think at the moment we have everything under control.
-Damn! Redundant already.
-Can you wash up?
-Can I wash up?
Well, I didn't expect to be demoted, but it's good to see that Jessica and her team are confident,
as the passengers are boarding and the journey's about to begin.
Now that it's full steam ahead, the food has to be served within the two hours of the trip.
20 minutes into the journey, things aren't going to plan.
A little bit behind at the moment.
So, that's why things are getting a little bit fraught.
Right. Ready for these tomatoes?
Jessica's decided to serve pilaf rice alongside the main dishes,
but she's running out of time to prepare the dish properly.
However, the journey can't be delayed because this historic steam locomotive
shares its line with a local commuter train.
Where do you want these, Jess?
I'm... I was going to fry them off but we haven't got time,
-so we'll lay them on top of the rice as a...
-As an alternative.
I'll fill a tray, then they're not getting direct heat.
-So this is for the rice?
If the worst comes to the worst, you can cook the rice first,
then stir it into the spiced oils, you know that?
In that case, Geoff, can you just drain that off...
-Drain it off.
-..and put some water on it.
This cheat method for pilaf rice isn't what she learnt,
but it will mean that Jessica can get the dishes out and get the hungry passengers fed.
Two, four, six...
So, in the heart of Bronte country, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
has served up its first Indian menu.
Just over a week ago, Jessica had never cooked an Indian meal.
So what do the passengers think of her foray into Kashmiri cuisine?
Oh, it was exceptional. It tasted nice.
Well presented. I really enjoyed it.
We had the lamb and that was just really good.
There was no heat to it, but the spices came through just so well.
It was really tasty.
I had the lamb Rogan Josh.
It's very good, very nice.
More subtle spicy, quite warming.
I had the Paneer Stuffed Peppers.
It was very nice, very unusual.
I don't normally go for vegetarian food,
but it was something different to try, and it was very nice.
I had the rice, and I could have sat down and just had the rice on its own. It was wonderful.
The main courses have gone down a treat. Now it's time for dessert.
But the pressure of time has meant that my precise measurements have gone completely out of the window.
-My next stage, sugar.
-How have you...
-You're totally guessing?
-No. I can always add a little later, though.
I am bad with this kind of guessing for huge quantities.
It's one of those things that you have to do.
Particularly when you have to do things in batches.
Kashmiri cuisine, because it's so regionalised, has surprised me a little bit.
It's just more varied than I imagined it was going to be.
Things don't need to be hot, just because you're using spices.
So that you can gain depth and taste to a dish without actually managing to blow somebody's head off.
It's been quite nerve-wracking, but the great thing is that we've all pulled together,
because ultimately it is all a team effort down here.
That's the best thing about it, really.
For all the recipes from the series,
as well as an exclusive video recipe from today's expert Hamayan, go to -
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