My Workshop – How to Make Chutney

Silk Route Cookery Workshop in Toronto

Chutneys are a diverse range of intensely flavoured, often spicy savoury jams prepared from fruits or vegetables that complement dishes cooked across Central and South Asia.

Join award-winning food writer and photographer Shayma Saadat, as she cooks along the Silk Route, incorporating ingredients from the Afghan, Pakistani and Persian kitchen to create tangy, spicy and sweet condiments for your summer barbeques. Enjoy these spooned over your favourite cut of meat or grilled tofu this summer.

Participants will prepare two types of chutneys: Cinnamon Peach & Caramelized Tomato

Working in groups of three, participants will peel, chop and slice the ingredients, take turns at the stove while the mixture cooks down and decant the chutney into jars.

For a tasting, we will end the class by slathering some chutney over bread and cheese. You’re also welcome to bring your favourite crackers or cheese to make the party merrier!

You will choose one jar – peach or tomato – to take home. If you would like to take home a portion of both, bring an extra jar from home, please.

NB: The chutneys will keep for one month in the fridge. We will not be learning canning and preservation techniques in this class.


Elaichi Chai- Cardamom Tea in the Pakistani Manner

Chai Tea

If you were friendly with one of the House Prefects, you were always guaranteed a thick stack of those buttery, crumbly biscuits for dipping into your milky tea. At 10am, as the bell rang, all of us would push past the Assembly Hall’s heavy doors and greedily reach for the blue and orange rectangular biscuit tins. The Prefects had control over the tins and if you weren’t on good terms with them, you’d have to ask your mates to share some of their goodies with you, which they always did, but rather reluctantly. It was all about survival of the fittest in that Assembly Hall. No one really wanted to share their elevenses with you. Not even your best friend. Everyone huddled together, with their plastic teacup of fragrant Kenyan tea in their hand, dipping the thin sliver of a biscuit with the frilled edges into the hot liquid till it turned just a tad bit soggy and melted in your mouth with each bite.Read More

Doogh-Yoghurt Drink (Lassi) in the Afghan/Persian Manner

The chaunsa, sindhri, anwar ratol: Pakistan’s mangoes. Oh, and the dohsehri. That’s the one you soften with your fingers, till it feels like soft pulp and then you pierce a tiny hole at the top. You suck out all the juice. And that’s how you eat that mango. But my favourite, which appears in late July, is the langra– with a thick parrot-green skin. And when you cut into it, the juice starts to ooze out-like perfect yolk from a softly poached egg-and forms a puddle in your plate. The flesh is fibrous and honeycomb-sweet.Read More

Fresh Dill-Spiced Rice in the Afghan Manner: Chelo Shibit

This is a recipe, as promised, from the menu at the Nairobi Reunion dinner I hosted.  (My recipe was awarded an Editor’s Pick on Amanda Hesser -the ex- New York Times Food Editor- and Merrill Stubbs’ Food 52 project).Read More