Market Chef : Sophie Rahman

June 21, 2011 |  by  |  Chef Demos

To say that Sophie Rahman is well-traveled is to make a big fat understatement. Born in Pakistan to an English mother and Indian father, Rahman married young and followed her husband around the globe, starting with a move to England in her early 20s. Fueled by visions of heady, brightly colored spice market visits with her father and the memory of her mother’s market-inspired home food, she began to hone her cooking skills, testing dishes on hungry friends and family. A move to Tokyo presented an opportunity to learn about the business side of the food world, helping her husbands’ family market the Indian curries, chutneys and pickles that they imported.

Throughout the years of globe-trotting, Rahman found herself in Portland on multiple occasions and finally in 1996 she realized that our fair city was calling to her and lucky for us she decided to settle down here, bringing with her a deep passion for and a desire to share the gustatory joys of Indian food and cooking!

Finally in 2009, after many years of involvement with farmers markets around town, she opened Masala NW, where she offers private, hands-on, Indian cooking classes. Many classes begin with a visit to the farmers market, where both teacher and student gather inspiration from the local bounty and the farmers who grow it. An afternoon of cooking together culminates in a lovely meal enjoyed together, a perfect option for a low-key bachelorette party, or just a fun girls afternoon together.

Find out more about classes offered or about Ms. Rahman and don’t forget to come visit her this Sunday at the Market, You’ll get to watch her in action and taste something locally exotic.

In the meantime, tide yourself over with her favorite lentil recipe!


  • 7 oz whole green lentils, picked over, washed and drained
  • 1 ¼ pints water
  • ¼ tsp tumeric
  • 4  tablespoons of oil
  • 1 – 2 fresh hot green chillies (for less heat, remove seeds) finely sliced
  • 1 – 2 tsp very finely grated fresh ginger
  • 8 well packed tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 large bunch of fresh spinach, washed and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ tsp Garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or more according to taste

Put the lentils and the water into a heavy pot add the turmeric and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer gently till tender (about half an hour).

Over a medium flame, heat oil in a large enough pan to hold the spinach. When hot, put in the chillies and the ginger.  Stir and fry for 10 seconds.  Add the fresh coriander and spinach. Stir and cook until the spinach has wilted.  Now put in the cooked lentils and the salt. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook very gently for 25 minutes. Add the lemon juice and stir to mix, sprinkle with garam masala, cook uncovered for another 5 minutes. Check seasonings.

1 Comment

  1. Sophie will also be offering Farmers Market Fresh classes at Montavilla Farmers Market on the following dates:

    July 10, 2011
    August 14, 2011
    September 18, 2011

    Classes begin at 11 am at the Market site.

    Details here:

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