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Having people over


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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!

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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.

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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.



learn, learn, learn...


Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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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 (log)
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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.

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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.

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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:



learn, learn, learn...


Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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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.

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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!

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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.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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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.

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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.

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littles notes are a great idea. Some are vegetarians, not all. SO I thought:


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


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

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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.

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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.

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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!

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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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.

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"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.

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