Review: I learnt to cook like a pro at Zouk's Cookery School

Zouk offer a range of extensive cookery classes that explore traditional Indian cuisine and techniques.

By Ben Brown | 22 March 2019

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As a man who considers himself one of the greatest cooks in the world, surely there’s no way that I’d ever need (or want) to go to a cookery class?

Not only am I skilled with many types of blade in a combat situation but I can also speed chop an onion in 1.3 seconds while poaching an egg in a kettle.

All these skills have contributed heavily to my ability to keep friends and girlfriends happy for a long period of time, bashing out an award-winning pie when things are tough or creating the perfect lasagne when someone is feeling down.

So surely there’s nothing else I can learn further? Well, not exactly.

The one area in my cooking arsenal that has always needed a bit of assistance is curries. Indian food is something that yes, I know how to do most things, but it never, ever tastes as good as what you can get in a proper Indian restaurant.

I find my favourite curry of all time – the Lamb Nihari – to be nigh on impossible to make at home, I don’t know when to put the lamb in to ensure that it melts in the mouth, I always make it a little too spicy and it’s just always fails to impress.

Similarly, a Tarka Daal can be particularly difficult, insofar that it usually ends up as a sloppy mess stuck to the bottom of my pan.

I think it’s safe to say that I could probably do with improving my Indian cooking skills, and so a couple of weeks ago I went on down to one of the brilliant Cookery School sessions down at Zouk.

For half a day I joined a group of like-minded people to learn all that there is to know about how to make tasty traditional Indian dishes and most importantly – learn all about the best ingredients and the most effective way to cook them.

Each Cookery Class comes with a theme, which may revolve around a particular ingredient, region of India or in our case – vegetarian dishes. We were tasked with preparing 2 starters and 2 mains which we would then all sit down and eat at the end of it all.

Taking control of the class was Ali Malik, who is also one of the owners of Zouk. He managed to create a fantastic atmosphere almost immediately and he was full of so much food knowledge that I reckon he would smash Mastermind if he had it as his specialist subject.

The class was very hands on – we all mucked in both behind the kitchen and in the restaurant. There was also a massive level of satisfaction with making something in a proper restaurant kitchen, something I’ve never done before (you can’t really describe a kebab shop back office as a kitchen).

The classes run every month – see what they’ve got coming up;

6th April
Tandoori Haddock, King Prawn Pakoras
Goan Fish Curry, King Prawn Karahi

4th May
Chicken tikka, Seekh Kebab and Onion Bhaji
Lamb Rogan Josh, Chicken Tikka Masala, Channa Masala.

1st June
Lamb Chops, Chicken Tikka, Seekh Kebab
Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Rogan Josh

6th July
Chilo Kebab, Chooza Chaat, Crispy Calamari
Lamb Biryani, Butter Chicken

7th September
Black Pepper Chicken Fry, Spiced Prawns, Masala Dosa
Chicken Xacuti, Lamb Biryani

5th October
Chicken tikka, Seekh Kebab and Onion Bhaji
Lamb Rogan Josh, Chicken Tikka Masala, Channa Masala.

2nd November
Falafel, Vegetable Tikka
Tarka Dall, Paneer Tikka, Channa Masala, Palak Aloo

7th December
Punjabi Lollipop, Lamb Chops
Lamb Karahi, Chicken Jalfrezi


Zouk Cookery Masterclasses

More Information & Booking


Zouk Tea Bar & Grill, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, M1 5QS
0161 233 1090