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Easy Vegetarian Indian Cooking: Indian Spices 101

Thursday, August 4 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


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There are a lot of spices used in traditional Indian cooking. We can’t deny it, but we can demystify it!

In this class, we’ll introduce some of the major spices used in Indian cooking, discuss where to find them, and learn about the different ways they are used, including tempering and dry roasting.  We’ll focus on a fundamental technique of tempering spices—a special process of toasting spices in oil and then using that richly infused oil to flavor the whole dish.  We’ll use this technique as the basis for making a few tangy chutneys and raita (yogurt) dips. Come ready to sample a few offerings and taste your own creations!

Tomato Chutney
Coconut Chutney
Onion Spiced Raita
Potato Spice Rice
Golden Milk Cocktail


About the Series: All classes in this series are VEGETARIAN! Indian cuisine is not known for its simplicity, but it doesn’t have to be that way!  In this new series, Capitol Hill food writer Varu Chilakamarri will share her home cooking tips for making Indian food quickly and easily in a fun and relaxed environment. Participants will be introduced to key ingredients and spices and will learn simple techniques for creating different Indian dishes, with a focus on the subcontinent’s diverse vegetarian cuisine. Each class will center on a stand-alone topic and will include an initial discussion introducing techniques and relevant historical and cultural perspectives about the food we’ll be making that day.  Most of our time will be spent on cooking demonstrations, hands-on cooking by participants, and sampling!  Whether you attend one or several classes, the goal will be to make basic Indian cooking more accessible and to give you the confidence and ability to whip up an Indian dish any night of the week!

About Varu Chilakamarri: Varu Chilakamarri is a second-generation Indian American who learned to cook traditional South Indian cuisine from her mother.  Varu is a writer and attorney who loves creating easy recipes that are influenced by the food of her parents but adapted to fit a busy home kitchen.  She’s contributed to the Hill Rag, the Huffington Post, and Bon Appétit.  Find more of her recipes in her cookbook, Indian Cuisine for the Busy Vegetarian, and on her website,

More Classes in the Series:

As this class is in-person, we require all attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This class requires at least 6 participants.

If you need assistance registering, please check out these step-by-step instructionsvideo tutorial or call (202) 549-4172 for assistance.


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Thursday, August 4
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Categories:
Varu Chilakamarri
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Cooking Class Type:
Participation Class
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Hill Center DC
921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003 United States
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