On Saturday 24th September 15 Timebankers met up at the Compassion Soup Kitchen in Tory Street to enjoy a delicious Indian meal and each other’s company.
Shelali Shetty and her friend, Aanchal, had agreed to put on an Indian Cookery Demonstration and their choice was a very warming South Indian Potato Stew. A rich and wholesome dish, perfect for cold nights, especially when accompanied with bread or rice and papadums. On this occasion a vegetarian version was being prepared, but, the recipe could just as easily incorporate meat.
Shelali has recently started a new job which has proved a really busy time for her and has meant that she hasn’t been active with Timebank Trading. When Chris Carey-Smith, the Co-ordinator, contacted her with this idea it seemed a good way to get back into exchanges.
Chris began the evening, welcoming us all and introducing Shelali. Then we each gave a brief synopsis of our Timebanking history and experiences, whilst making the inevitable links and connections. Within the group there were people who had been Timebankers since its conception, many with 2 or 3 years’ experience, one who was spending her first time-credit and another who was the latest sign-up! One person commented on her involvement being a rich experience from beginning to end and many noted the importance of meeting up with new people and exchanging the things we are good at. In identifying the skills we regularly offered, there were clearly the beginnings of trades in the making.
Afterwards we were divided into two teams, led into the kitchen and given instructions. There was instantly a veritable frenzy of peeling, chopping and conversation, as we were taken, step by step, through the preparations and cooking method. This recipe, like many dahls, is ideally cooked in a pressure cooker, as the food cooks quickly and the process uses less energy. It takes about 30 minutes to produce and feeds a family of four for
about $10. When asked where she buys her ghee, Shelali was adamant that, for her, Spice Rack in Petone, was a firm favourite for quality. She also buys all her spices from the store as they keep them well wrapped and they are not left too long.
As the activity progressed, lovely aromas began to emanate from the cooking pots, heightening the anticipation of beginning the feast. However, it was only the shrill hiss of steam escaping from the pressure cookers that actually brought a pause to the numerous conversations developing around the kitchen.
Eventually our efforts were rewarded. The final tastings declared the cooking complete, the meal was served and the conversations were accompanied now by the clicking of cutlery and the exclamations of approval!
For Shelali food is really important and the fact that people from different backgrounds had come together to share a meal at the same table brought a tremendous sense of satisfaction. She said, ‘Food will always be my second love – the first love being my Dad – and with so many things going wrong in the world sharing a meal, our experiences and time, is my moment of bliss.’ She said she would be pleased if everybody enjoyed learning and eating and the empty plates, smiling faces and engaging chatter were certainly proof of that!
A lovely, friendly evening enjoyed by all, with sincere thanks to Shelali, Aanchal and the Compassion Soup Kitchen.
Story by Sue Jenkins
Indian Potato Stew Recipe