PRODUCT REVIEW

Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass Review: Does it Make You an Indian Master Chef?

Kevin Kessler
December 3, 2021

Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass review synopsis

What you’ll learn: Discover how to cook Indian food with famed Indian actress, travel, and food writer Madhur Jaffrey. Learn everything from basic Indian spice pairings to how to cook delicious finished meals. 

How long does the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass take?: The class includes 12 videos that last for 2 hours and 26 minutes in total.

Similar courses: Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck, Alice Waters, Gabriella Camara, Niki Nakayama, Ron Finley

Do I recommend Madhur Jaffrey’s MasterClass?: Yes, Madhur’s MasterClass is a great option for anyone who wants to learn how to make authentic Indian cuisine, especially beginners.

Learn to Cook Indian food with Madhur Jaffrey’s Masterclass

If all you’ve ever known of Indian food is local takeout restaurants, then you’re missing out on a world of spices, flavors, and unique perspectives on food.

If you’re an American, like me, you may never have had the opportunity to learn how to cook authentic Indian cuisine.

Well, thank goodness for MasterClass. Even if there are no cooking classes in your city, you can start learning from your phone or laptop and at a fraction of the cost.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and take the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass on Indian cooking. Jaffrey is an Indian actress and food and travel writer who has a real passion for cooking — and of course eating — Indian food.

The Taj Mahal in India
The Taj Mahal

That much is evident in her Indian cooking MasterClass from the very start.

But passion alone doesn’t make for a great educational experience. Can Jaffrey bring that passion to bear as a teacher and instruct even a total noob like me on the finer points of Indian cooking?

That’s what we’re going to uncover in this Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass review.  

Disclosure: In the interest of full transparency, Codeless uses affiliate links in our MasterClass reviews to cover our site’s costs.

Our Verdict

If you’re someone who has a passion for Indian food or you’re an adventurous cook who wants to expand their repertoire, then this is a great Masterclass for you.

Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass Learn how to cook authentic Indian meals

$15 /month
PROS
  • Learning a lot about her history
  • Get a foundational knowledge of spices
  • Like watching a cooking show
  • Lots of great visuals
  • Comes with downloadable recipes
  • The workbook is basically a cookbook
CONS
  • She dips her finger in the food to taste it
  • Hub has little to no activity
  • No real conclusion to the class — it just ends.

A few frequently-asked questions…

Do I need a subscription to access this course?

Yes, you will need to subscribe to a MasterClass membership to take the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass. The good news is that once you’re subscribed, you can watch every course in the Masterclass catalog without any additional fees.

How long is the MasterClass?

Madhur Jaffrey’s MasterClass takes 2 hours and 26 minutes to complete. It’s broken down into 12 videos.

Does MasterClass have a cancellation policy?

All MasterClass subscriptions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Is the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass worth it?

I definitely believe that the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass is well worth it if you have a passion for or even a fleeting interest in Indian food.

Explore your passion for Indian food with the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass.

About Madhur Jaffrey

Madhur Jaffrey is an Indian actress and food writer credited by many for bringing Indian cuisine to the Western hemisphere. She released her first cookbook, An Invitation to Indian Cuisine, in 1973 to rave reviews.

The cover of Madhur Jaffrey's first cookbook
Cover of Madhur Jaffrey’s First Cookbook

In the book, she introduced the recipes she loved as a child, taught to her by her mother through correspondence after moving overseas at just 19.

That book was then inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame back in 2006 for its impact on the Western palate. Since then, Jaffrey has authored more than a dozen cookbooks and appeared regularly on television.

Her first TV show, Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery, hit the airwaves in the UK in 1982.

How much does Madhur Jaffrey’s MasterClass cost?

You can’t purchase the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass on its own. Instead, you have to subscribe to a MasterClass membership, which gives you access to the entire MasterClass library. There are three affordable options, all billed annually and with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pricing for MasterClass subscriptions

The MasterClass Standard Plan is $15 per month. On this level, you can watch classes on one device at a time. That can be a computer, TV, phone, or tablet. All courses come with a workbook and bonus content, including access to the MasterClass Hub community forum.

MasterClass’s Plus Plan is $20 per month. It includes everything from the Standard Plan, plus you can access classes on two devices simultaneously. You can also download videos when using an iOS device.

Then there’s the Premium Plan, which is $23 per month. On this plan, you’re going to get everything from the Plus Plan, with the option to watch classes on six simultaneous devices. Basically, it’s a family plan.

Choose the right MasterClass plan for you today!

What is included in the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass?

Runtime:  2 hours and 26 minutes

Course Value: 5/5

Lessons: 12

Supplementary materials: Class guide, MasterClass Hub, Downloadable recipes

Supplementary workbook

All MasterClasses come with a supplementary workbook, and Jaffrey’s is no different.

OK, it’s a little different.

Jaffrey’s workbook isn’t an actual workbook at all. It’s essentially a cookbook, which goes well with the class.

The Workbook for Madhur Jaffrey's MasterClass
Madhur Jaffrey’s MasterClass Workbook

Because it’s not a traditional workbook, they don’t call it a workbook. Throughout the course, Madhur refers to it as the Class Guide.

There are plenty of recipes included in the workbook for you to peruse and try, and most of them match up to what she prepares in her course.

There are also downloadable recipe cards that pop up at the end of every lesson for added convenience.

Recipe cards that pop up in the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass
Recipe Cards in Madhur Jaffrey’s MasterClass

That is an added feature that I haven’t seen in other MasterClasses.

The MasterClass Hub

MasterClasses all have a dedicated community forum for students to come together and share their thoughts, feelings, and questions surrounding the class.

Jaffrey’s course has one too, but don’t expect too much from it.

The MasterClass Hub for Madhur Jaffrey's MasterClass
MasterClass Hub for Madhur Jaffrey

Some MasterClass Hubs, like the one for the James Cameron MasterClass, have a lot of great back and forth interaction.

However, since this course is relatively new on the platform, there aren’t many topics in this Hub, and most have little interaction.

As of this writing, not a single thread of the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass Hub has more than nine replies.

A complete breakdown of the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass curriculum

Madhur Jaffrey has created an exceptional MasterClass curriculum that gives you hands-on training in the art of Indian cooking.

Let’s break down all 12 chapters of this Indian cooking MasterClass.

Curriculum:

  1. Meet Your Instructor
  2. Spice Fundamentals: Roasted Cumin and Garam Masala
  3. Exploring Spices: Potato A Thousand Ways
  4. Demystifying Curry: Goan Shrimp
  5. South Asian Meats: Aloo Gosht
  6. Essential Indian Vegetables: Cauliflower With Asafetida and Cumin
  7. The Magic of Rice: Basmati and Biryani
  8. Indian Breads: Chapati
  9. Comforting Legumes: Dal
  10. Embellish Every Morsel: Tamarind Chutney (Condiments)
  11. Lip Smacking Savory Street-Food: Dahi Puri Chaat
  12. An Indian Feast: Sample Menu

Course summary:

Madhur Jaffrey starts her class off by giving you a taste (pun intended!) of who she is and how she came to be a presence in the world of Indian cooking.

That was perfect for me because I walked into the class knowing nothing about her background. Understanding someone’s passion for a topic and their credentials makes them more effective as a teacher.

Next, she dives right into the heart and soul of Indian cooking, the spices.

Indian Spices
Spices used in Indian Cooking

After that, she starts going through various recipes one by one, chapter by chapter. What’s nice is that every chapter has a theme.

One teaches you how to elevate plain old potatoes with an exciting mix of spices. Then there are a few lessons on meats, curries, vegetables, and more.

There’s even a chapter about condiments and another about putting together a stellar Indian menu.

Madhur Jaffrey cooking in her MasterClass
Madhur Jaffrey cooking in her MasterClass

I loved this class because it felt like I was binge-watching a cooking show on television. For the most part, we see Madhur standing at a kitchen counter demonstrating each recipe.

Madhur Jaffrey pouring Cumin seeds into a skillet.
Madhur Jaffrey toasting cumin seeds

She makes a lot of interesting points that uncover the hidden science of Indian cooking. Jaffrey talks about how once you know what each spice does and how it tastes under certain conditions, you can become more improvisational with your cooking.

The only thing that bothered me was that she dips her fingers into the food a lot. She says that it’s something all Indian cooks do, but if you’re a germaphobe like me, you might feel a little uncomfortable at times throughout the course. Of course, when you replicate the recipes, you can just nix the finger dipping and use a tasting spoon like me.

What I learned

I’m going to level with you all. My experiences with Indian food over the years have not always been great. I’ve tried a variety of Indian cuisine over the years, but I didn’t personally care for it even though it was well-made.

So while I had an interest in learning to cook various cuisines, I wasn’t diving into this one with excitement, as I had with the courses from Neil Gaiman, Bob Iger, or Ron Howard.

However, as humans, our palates change over the years. Stuff that I used to hate as a child I now find myself loving. So I wanted to give Indian food a second chance and figured that this MasterClass could be an excellent way to do it.

And it really succeeded. I came to appreciate the art of Indian cooking, and it made me want to try again!

8 takeaways from this MasterClass

1. Spices are what makes Indian food unique:

Indian cooks use spices the way a painter uses paint. By combining spices, they can create different flavors, colors, and experiences. It’s one of the reasons why Indian food looks, smells, and tastes so unique.

2. You can transform spices using a variety of techniques:

For example, Roasting cumin seeds creates an entirely new and unique flavor. When learning to cook Indian food, you discover a lot about spices and transforming them into what you need them to be.

3. Certain spices like Garam Masala are mixtures of multiple different spices:

What’s interesting about this is that, according to Madhur, everyone has their own recipe for Garam Masala. Hers includes cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cardamom, black cumin, and black peppercorn.

4. Once you learn how spices work, you can improvise:

Improvisation is key to Indian cooking. Once you understand how the various spices and ingredients work together, you can create new dishes by mixing and matching.

5. Even just one spice is enough to change a dish completely:

Jaffrey demonstrates this with potatoes, using just simple cumin seeds to make something super unique and different. She then goes on to show many different ways to cook potatoes with various spices.

6. Different spices do different things when heated

Cumin seeds brown when heated, which most people would assume is normal. Mustard seeds, however, pop when heated in oil. If you don’t wait for the pop, they’ll become pungent. Sesame seeds actually start to fly away when heated in oil, so you have to be quick with them.

7. Spices are used in Indian medicine

Every spice is given a specific value in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, based on what it can do medically. For example, turmeric is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.

And in the case of turmeric, its anti-inflammatory effect is backed up by western medicine in numerous studies. Adding some Indian spices to your everyday meals can have health benefits.

8. She doesn’t like to use the word curry

Jaffrey says nobody used the word curry in India until the British came, and they used it as a generalized word to lump all Indian food together. She thinks that the term is too general for such a diverse country with so many different culinary traditions.

Madhur prefers to use the actual names of the dishes. For example, instead of shrimp curry, she says Goan shrimp dish.  

Find your own takeaways with the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass.

Memorable quotes from this MasterClass

“Eating is such an important part of our lives. It really tells you who you are.”

Meet Your Instructor

“Nobody uses spices like we do. We are masters. We use spices like painters, with a little shade of pinkish-red and then greenish-yellow as we mix them. And I will show you how that is done.”

Meet Your Instructor

“What really distinguishes Indian food is its magical use of spices.”

Spice Fundamentals: Roasted Cumin and Garam Masala

“There’s a lot of freedom along with a lot of rules in Indian food, and you have to find a space that goes right between them.”

Exploring Spices: Potato a Thousand Ways

“It’s not what spices you use. It’s how you use them and how you make them draw out the flavor from them that you want.”

Exploring Spices: Potato A Thousand Ways

“When Indians sit down to dinner, they don’t all do the same thing. But also, we have a lot in common.”

An Indian Feast: Sample Menus

Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass pros and cons

If you’re considering a MasterClass membership so that you can take the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass, keep the following pros and cons in mind.

Pros

This class really felt like a cooking show, and I loved that. Here are just a few of the things I enjoyed about Madhur’s MasterClass:

  • Learning a lot about her history
  • Get a foundational knowledge of spices
  • Like watching a cooking show
  • Lots of great visuals
  • Comes with downloadable recipes
  • The workbook is basically a cookbook

Cons

While there wasn’t a lot wrong with this class, there were a few cons that I picked out. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • She dips her finger in the food to taste it
  • Hub has little to no activity
  • No real conclusion to the class — it just ends.

Do I recommend this Masterclass?

If you’re someone who has a passion for Indian food or you’re an adventurous cook who wants to expand their repertoire, then this is a great class for you.

Even if you haven’t had the best experiences before, this could be the perfect chance to come at Indian food from a new angle. When cooking for yourself, you can control the level of spice and adjust it to your liking.

Anyone who wants to learn about cooking Indian food can get a lot from the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass, and it has my sincere recommendation.

Get cooking with the Madhur Jaffrey MasterClass today!