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Having people over

Indian

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32 replies to this topic

#1 Lior

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 12:10 AM

In a few weeks I will be hosting an outdoor/indoor "party" (for lack of a better word). It will consist of 14 families from India staying here for a few years (they have been here for about a year) and the local families of the people professionally involved with the Indian group... Kids of all ages will also be coming.

What should I serve? I thought about a BarBQ, for those that do eat chicken/meat, but what about those who do not? Should I have some Indian style dishes? Which ones can I make having not too much experience cooking this style of food? Should I go with what I normally would make? Any ideas and recipes? What would YOU do/want?

Whenever the group gets taken out to a restaurant, they request to go to "Taj Mahal" restaurant...

Thanks in advance!

#2 Lisa Shock

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 05:38 AM

They probably would appreciate some naan bread off the grill. For the most part, they are used to using bread as a 'scoop' when eating, and this more than anything will be a touchstone for them. Can you get an extra grate for your grill so the naan doesn't have to be cooked in meat juice?

I'd also serve basmati rice and a vegetable masala dish of some sort. And, salads are important -just regular greens and tomatoes type salads with vinaigrette. I found the websites of a couple of Indian newspapers with recipe resources (kinda like allrecipes) a couple of years ago and have been trying to cook from them when I can. I am sure others here are a lot more qualified, I'm just a vegetarian who reads Madhur Jaffrey and eats at Indian restaurants.

#3 Lior

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 06:08 AM

naan bread on the grill is a great idea-we usually do pita bread! I have a smaller grill that we can use for naan. I too am a vegetarian so this will be nice for me. Thanks!

#4 Darienne

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 06:14 AM

The first thing I thought of was: 14 families means what? 3 persons per family gives you 42 +or -. It might be worth while to find out what percentage of these folks are vegetarians before you plan anything. There must be someone of this group (are they all known to each other?) who could give you that answer. Or if those who don't eat meat will be distressed by meat being served even if they don't eat it? Perhaps inappropriate answers...just what came to me at once.
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#5 Lior

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 06:31 AM

my husband knows all of them - the men, at least. They dont care if others eat meat and I thought that the sides would be vegetarian -enough for everyone. We always have many sides anyhow, only now I have to think what side dishes!! Some families have more than one kid... I know, I know....

oh- and your answers are NEVER inappropriate!!!

Edited by Lior, 20 May 2011 - 06:32 AM.


#6 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 07:05 AM

Since you're not familiar with Indian cooking, I wouldn't try to do it. You could have naan instead of pita, perhaps, but otherwise, show off your own cooking style. There are lots of vegetarian middle eastern dishes and the tastes won't be so exotic that your guests would be uncomfortable.

#7 Jenni

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 07:26 AM

Personally, I would serve them some interesting middle eastern dishes - they might actually be far more excited to try some authentic food from a different culture, rather than something "Indian" that may or may not be what they would consider Indian. They will also have fun comparing the similarities between Middle Eastern food and Muslim-influenced Indian food.

If you are determined to do something Indian, try and find out what part of India they are from. Then you could try making a few dishes from that region. Only one or two mind - I still would not recommend trying to cook them a completely authentic meal, just add a few Indian dishes to an array of dishes that are more in your style.

#8 Lior

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 08:00 AM

Perhaps if I make naan and one or other dishes and the rest our local stuff it could be good. Which one or two dishes would you suggest? Thanks for the input! :smile:

#9 Darienne

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 08:02 AM

Since you're not familiar with Indian cooking, I wouldn't try to do it. You could have naan instead of pita, perhaps, but otherwise, show off your own cooking style. There are lots of vegetarian middle eastern dishes and the tastes won't be so exotic that your guests would be uncomfortable.

I'm with Sylvia. Tabbouleh, hummus rush to my mind...partly because I am making them for our in-law guests next week. Fattoush. Falafel (or is that too immediate-labor intensive, as in standing over them?)Oh, love Mujadarrah (one of probably a zillion spellings)... noodle kugel (not the sweet one), chopped liver...I should quit now. My mouth is starting to water.

You'll be the hostess with the mostess I am sure. :wub:
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#10 Jenni

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 08:26 AM

Personally i would not do naan, but if you want to that is up to you (i believe it is a middle eastern as well as a north indian bread anyway, but I just think you should wow with some of your local breads!).

Do you know where they are from in India? I ask because it would be nice to tailor the one or two indian dishes you made to their region.

#11 Lior

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 08:48 AM

Okay- I will follow your advice. I will ask hubby and let you know.

#12 Jenni

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 09:07 AM

^^
Lior, it's just my personal opinion, but you may of course do whatever you like! It is your party and I am sure that the best things for you to make are those that you know you make well, and only you can judge that.

I was thinking about this a bit, and I really think that your guests will enjoy some of your local food. I will not pretend to know much about your particular local cuisine, but I have eaten the following in various meals from different middle eastern regions that have parallels with aspects of various Indian dishes:

*Yoghurt salads - containing vegetables, herbs, etc. These are similar to raita, pachadi and other Indian yogurt salads.
*Vegetable dishes/ salads - different regions of India have different raw veg salads, and of course all regions have cooked vegetable dihes. The use of herbs and some spices in Middle Eastern cuisine will be recognisable whilst providing new tastes.
*Different hot and cold lentil and bean dishes - in seasoning they are often different from Indian style bean and dal dishes (although some seem to contain spices such as cumin, coriander and chilli), but still the nutritional parallel is clear.
*Various grain dishes, including bulgur and rice - something similar to bulgur called dalia is used in India (I think it's cracked wheat as opposed to bulgur wheat, but very similar really) and this along with rice will be a recognisable grain component. Again, the use of herbs and spices in a Middle Eastern way will be new and familiar at the same time.
*Flatbreads - Many of India's flatbreads have a middle eastern connection are so will be quite similar. Others will be new but I am sure they will be well appreciated.
*Grilled Meats - Again, due to the Muslim influence on Indian food, some Middle Eastern meat dishes are similar to Indian meat dishes.

So if you make your usual fare, your guests may already feel extremely happy and enjoy the food a lot, partly because it will be new and delicious but also because aspects of it are very familiar. It will be a wonderful introduction for them to the local food, and you may make some firm friends amongst those who would like to have a recipe from you!

#13 Kouign Aman

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 02:03 PM

Hummus.
Good call on finding out region etc. I accidentally made a lovely allium-chocked meal for a friend who turned out to have a non-allium eating wife. Yikes.
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#14 Lior

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 01:43 PM

Now I am really worried-what does not have garlic and onions in it!

The people are from all over- and most are not living in their hometowns. At least one is from Hyderabad and one from Bangalore. The others we don't know. Yikes.

#15 Jenni

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 03:04 PM

^^
I would not worry too much. They informed you that they (or at least some of them - I find it hard to tell simply from what you have posted whether it is all or a few) are vegetarian, yes? If there were other restricitons I would have thought they would have mentioned it. May be worth checking if they eat eggs though, as for many (but not by any means all) in India vegetarian means eats no meat or fish and no eggs, but yes to dairy.

Since they are from a mixture of places, I would urge you to wow them with some of your native dishes.

#16 heidih

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 03:28 PM

I agree with others that showcasing your wonderful fruits and vegetables and dairy as well as the breads would be ideal. In terms of any dietary restrictions perhaps just a simple note card at each dish (if doing buffet style) noting that it contains egg or dairy or onion/garlic or meat - that covers it and leaves it up to the guest to decide.

#17 Lior

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 11:17 PM

littles notes are a great idea. Some are vegetarians, not all. SO I thought:
barBQ,
salads: Chopped fresh vegetable salad, Humus, Tehina, Burnt/roasted eggplant with Tehina (all these have garlic) Cabbage salad-no eggs no garlic
A curried cauliflower dish-cold ?
Majadara with no onions
Pita


I still have to think of a few more vegie dishes...

#18 annachan

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 11:37 PM

When some of my guests are vegetarian, I usually like to make a main dish that is vegetarian so that they aren't just eating side dishes. I think a vegetable stew may work well in your case. Maybe something like a ratatouille. A vegetable lasagne may be good, filled with mushroom, roasted vegetables or butternut squash.

If you're looking for something that can be served room temp, maybe some hand pies. Just roast some vegetables with seasoning of your choice as a filling and put them in puff pastry (I used store bought) and bake. They're good both hot or room temp.

#19 Lior

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 11:44 PM

yes that is true-I always get side dishes!! I actually was thinking of some kind of "Indian pie" or "pocket" with vegetables. I am sure there is a proper name... This shouldn't be impossible to make? What do you think?

#20 annachan

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 12:01 AM

yes that is true-I always get side dishes!! I actually was thinking of some kind of "Indian pie" or "pocket" with vegetables. I am sure there is a proper name... This shouldn't be impossible to make? What do you think?


It'll be nice to make a curry beef. You can do curried cauliflower and/or potato. Puff pastry is the easiest for me, but you can make your own pastry or even use filo. If not curry, a mixture or garam marsala and cumin would be nice as well.

If your guests are fine with eating eggs, frittata is another idea.

#21 Lior

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 12:22 AM

I thought of puff pastry with a vegetarian filling. Maybe curried potatoes and peas? Perhaps the BarBQ chicken or meat or both can include something Indian spices or sauce.

#22 Carlovski

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:15 AM

I have no idea on the recipe, or it's authenticity but we recently had a 'pot luck' style lunchtime buffet for a joint leaving party for 2 colleagues. Someone made a similar sounding curried vegetable (potatoes, carrots, peas, onions I think) 'sausage roll' type affair, it was served sliced and still warm and it was absolutely delicious, spicy but not hot. I'm sure it was quite easy to make, if you get the spicing correct.
He put out a couple of bottles of a commercial tamarind sauce to go with them, along with some pakora/bhaji type items.
I must have eaten about 5/6 slices!
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They are delicious.

#23 baroness

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:16 AM

I thought of puff pastry with a vegetarian filling. Maybe curried potatoes and peas? Perhaps the BarBQ chicken or meat or both can include something Indian spices or sauce.


You may be re-inventing Samosas.
I have no experience in making them, just enjoying them in Indian cafes.

BTW, I hope you will be having onions on the side with the Majadara.

#24 Lior

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:22 AM

"sauasage role" thing does sound great. Anyone know what it is called or where I see a picture or recipe?

Yes! Samosa is the name I was looking for! Now I can look for a recipe! And yes! I think onions on the side is a PERFECT solution-why didn't I think of that?

#25 Kerry Beal

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:25 AM

"sauasage role" thing does sound great. Anyone know what it is called or where I see a picture or recipe?

Yes! Samosa is the name I was looking for! Now I can look for a recipe! And yes! I think onions on the side is a PERFECT solution-why didn't I think of that?

Here is a basic one.

#26 Lior

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:35 AM

aaah ok, now I know what this is. Kind of like an Indian type of sushi looking thing. Samusa Sushi. Just kidding, but they do look nice. Easy enough to make.
Thanks

#27 Darienne

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:59 AM

Not that I have a lot to contribute to this topic, but I am confused. What is the actual problem with onions and garlic that they must be omitted or left on the side? I have reread the entire topic and can't find exactly why they are a problem? Allergies? Cultural? Religious?
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#28 prasantrin

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 07:03 AM

I'd ditch the Indian spicing altogether. They probably prepare Indian food at home on a regular basis. And when they go out to eat, it's likely they choose Indian so they don't have to cook at home.

But as guests in someone else's home? Unless you're Indian, I would cook something more familiar to you. Likely if they wanted to eat something that has Indian spicing, they'd rather just eat Indian food rather than bbq with some Indian-influenced spicing. It would be like when non-Thai people want to impress me with their Thai cooking, and they make "green curry" with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.

For another main, something like a large bourek or two--one filled with spinach and cheese, another filled with meat (ground chicken?), etc.

falafel would likely go over well

kofta, too, if you can use chicken.

I'd probably do some kind of grilled fish, too, with sauces on the side.

Grilled chicken with Mediterranean spicing rather than Indian. You could also do skewers so they can eat them in pita, rather than cooking large pieces of chicken.

Just think of a typical meal you'd make for 20 of your friends, and consider those options. You don't have to make special concessions just because they're Indian (other than taking into consideration standard dietary restrictions).

#29 Jenni

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 07:21 AM

Not that I have a lot to contribute to this topic, but I am confused. What is the actual problem with onions and garlic that they must be omitted or left on the side? I have reread the entire topic and can't find exactly why they are a problem? Allergies? Cultural? Religious?


Some strict Indian vegetarians do not eat onions and garlic. There are a variety of reasons for this, probably the main ones being:
*They are supposed to arouse base passions. This is according to traditional Indian medicine and ways of classifying food items.
*They are associated with the preparation of meat dishes.

Jains in particular do not eat onions or garlic at all, and some Hindus don't either. There are also some people who will prepare onion and garlic free dishes on certain occasions such as paritcular religious occassions.

To be honest, I think it would be a mistake to assume that these particular vegetarians don't eat onion or garlic, as many Indian vegetarains do and I think there are some Middle Eastern dishes which would not be the same without onions and garlic! Just ask and you may save yourself a lot of time and effort.

I also just want to say that I agree with prasantrin post above.

Edited by Jenni, 23 May 2011 - 07:24 AM.


#30 prasantrin

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 08:01 AM

I also just want to say that I agree with prasantrin post above.


That's because you said it first! :laugh: So really, I agreed with you!

Regarding Jainism, there was a previous topic here http://forums.egulle...h__1#entry92824 that explains a lot about the food restrictions. As I understand it, any food that results in the death of something (animal, plant) is forbidden. So not only onions and garlic, but also potatoes and other root vegetables. Also, nothing fermented, so no yoghurt or cheese, and no milk that is not absolutely fresh.

Like Jenni, I would not assume anyone in this particular group is Jain or does not eat garlic and onions. I'm sure someone would let you know if that were a limitation, since it's a pretty big limitation.





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