Monday, March 14, 2011

A Passion for Life and Food

I originally met Rahul Vora not in person but through his correspondence with Anthony Boutard, the author of the Farm Bulletins that appear on GoodStuffNW. Rahul had been a longtime fan of the goodness that flows from the fields of Ayers Creek Farm in Gaston, and often engaged in discussions regarding how the fenugreek, cornmeal, turnips and bitter melons were used in the cuisine of his native India.

After a couple of his recipes appeared in Anthony's column, we exchanged a few e-mails about cooking minutia but it wouldn't be till a couple of years later that I'd meet him in the flesh, almost by accident, at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market. The subject of classes came up (or was it my saying, "You should teach some classes!"), and he said he'd been thinking it might be fun to share his market-fresh approach to the cuisine he loves.

Well, it turns out he had more than that in mind, yessiree, because he's just announced the birth of Rasa Lila, a venture to express his passion for food, travel, culture and adventure. "I am passionate about the idea of marrying our love of fresh, local, organic food with an education in authentic world cuisines," he said. "I'm hoping Rasa Lila will contribute another step in the exciting march of Portland's food culture."

To start he's offering, as you might expect, some very exciting cooking classes and is gauging interest in a yoga trek in the Himalayas scheduled for October. Details on that are in development, but the classes look great, and at $75 each (or $65 each if you buy the series), the price is amazing, too.
  • Heartland Vegetarian: Quintessential northern vegetarian home cooking that produced the great standards like Palak Paneer , Baingan Bhartha and Aloo Gobi as well as various wheat flatbreads and hearty Dals. Sun., April 10, 3-6 pm.
  • The Spice Coast: Explore the exotic cuisine of the Malabar coast that was influenced by explorers, traders, missionaries and the local bounty of abundant spices, vegetables, fruits and seafood. Sun., May 8, 3-6 pm.
  • Portuguese Fusion: A spectacular culinary mashup of Portuguese and Konkani cooking that produced signature Goan dishes like Vindaloo, Xacuti and Bebinca. Sun., May 8, 3- pm.
  • A Moghul Feast: With the Moghuls came the tandoor and the refined cooking of Persia that would change north Indian food forever with Pulaos, Biriyanis, Kebabs, Kormas and succulent Tandoori meats. Sun., May 22, 3-6 pm.
Details: Rasa Lila Spring Cooking Series. $75 ea. or $260 for the series; reservations required. Register on the website. Check the website for details on the yoga trek as they emerge.

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