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Dinner Party - Indian Style


RickBehl
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Hi All,

I will be having a dinner party next week and was looking for guidance on the kind of things I can do to try and make it a success. I have 4 guests and there will be myself and my partner present too which will make a total of 6 people.

The dietary criteria are:

i) One guest is pregnant and is not keen on beef or mussels

ii) All guests are non-veg

iii) 3 meat-oriented males

I myself am Punjabi but grew up in London and have only recently moved to Hong Kong. Asian ingredients are quite easily available here and my cupboard is already pretty well stocked with dry spices.

My initial thoughts were to prepare a Punjabi/North Indian feast possibly including some of the following:

Tandoori lamb chops (prepared on my charcoal Weber bbq earlier in the day and then warmed up at dinner time)

Seekh kebabs (same prep as above)

Tandoori chicken (again as above)

Lamb or chicken curry

Vegetable side dish

Pullao rice

Raitha

Pickles

Not sure about the spelling but Gajjrela (cooked carrot) dessert

Currently I think the menu may be TOO much meat based so I may want to think about some lentils or fish dishes. Does anyone have advice on what I am preparing or recipes for the above. I have a lot of cookbooks but if someone has a 'killer' recipe, I would love to hear it !

Also I would prefer to prepare as much as possible in advance so I can enjoy the party myself :-)

Rgds

Rick

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Hi - reply may be too late, but hope it helps...

You're right that there appear to be too many

tandoori style items on yr menu.

Two maximum, and even that may be pushing

it for a home dinner for not that many people?

If you want two, then maybe one of them can

be a tandoori fish or prawn thing?

If you have two such items, then why pile on the chicken

curry as another? Maybe substitute a dal-type thing here

instead? Or paneer?

You also want to balance the wet and dry items....

The pulao, raita and pickles sound pretty standard,

do you want to augment with some form of bread

(naan, paratha, tandoori roti?)

do tell what you decide?

Milagai

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You're right that there appear to be too many

tandoori style items on yr menu.

Two maximum, and even that may be pushing

it for a home dinner for not that many people? 

If you want two, then maybe one of them can

be a tandoori fish or prawn thing?

If you have two such items, then why pile on the chicken

curry as another?  Maybe substitute a dal-type thing here

instead?  Or paneer? 

You also want to balance the wet and dry items....

The pulao, raita and pickles sound pretty standard,

do you want to augment with some form of bread

(naan, paratha, tandoori roti?)

do tell what you decide?

Milagai

Thanks Milagai,

Still got a week left before the dinner but currently the menu is looking like this:

Starters

Tandoori lamb chops

Chicken kebabs

Some vegetable/fish starter

Main

Chicken Curry

Pork Vindaloo

Potato Curry

Pulao Rice

Naan

Dessert

Carrot halwa + ice cream

Fruit

Appreciate your comments but all guests are quite big meat eaters and I have never cooked lentils before... The naan or paratha I will buy from the supermarket as I have never made these before either. Could I make these on the BBQ too and then warm them later ?

Any other suggestions for starters ? Been looking through all the cookbooks but can't see any exciting vegetable/fish starters...

Thanks again,

Rick

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What about some pakora as one of the starters? You could use any vegetable you find or even a mix, and most people really love them.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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You're right that there appear to be too many

tandoori style items on yr menu.

Two maximum, and even that may be pushing

it for a home dinner for not that many people? 

If you want two, then maybe one of them can

be a tandoori fish or prawn thing?

If you have two such items, then why pile on the chicken

curry as another?  Maybe substitute a dal-type thing here

instead?  Or paneer? 

You also want to balance the wet and dry items....

The pulao, raita and pickles sound pretty standard,

do you want to augment with some form of bread

(naan, paratha, tandoori roti?)

do tell what you decide?

Milagai

Thanks Milagai,

Still got a week left before the dinner but currently the menu is looking like this:

Starters

Tandoori lamb chops

Chicken kebabs

Some vegetable/fish starter

Main

Chicken Curry

Pork Vindaloo

Potato Curry

Pulao Rice

Naan

Dessert

Carrot halwa + ice cream

Fruit

Appreciate your comments but all guests are quite big meat eaters and I have never cooked lentils before... The naan or paratha I will buy from the supermarket as I have never made these before either. Could I make these on the BBQ too and then warm them later ?

Any other suggestions for starters ? Been looking through all the cookbooks but can't see any exciting vegetable/fish starters...

Thanks again,

Rick

You can buy the roti things from the supermarket and heat them

according to instructions (anything from toaster oven to stove top usually).

Tejon's suggestion of pakoras is a good one - but make them

hot and serve immediately for best taste.

The raita fell off the menu? Usually with so much heavy

food, you need something lighter and cooling to help digestion,

that's the recommended approach, or maybe substitute lassi....

depends what else you're drinking.....

Again - suggestion in the interests of balance -

some lighter veg instead of the potatoes? From an Indian perspective,

balancing with something like cauliflower (it surprised me that

Cauliflower is considered infra dig in the West, in India it's definitely

a status veg) or saag (i.e. anything more on the green side)?

Again, that's my preference - for balancing tastes, heavy and light,

wet and dry, etc. And that's what I was raised

to think as one of the main guiding principles of

an Indian food plate, whether you're designing a menu or

filling yr plate at the local buffet lunch....

But whatever you and yr guests like...

Milagai

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Thanks again for the suggestions.

Yes, the paratha or naan I will buy from the supermarket and heat up. Less work than making your own and probably more reliable as I have never baked anything before...

I would love to make the pakoras as I am a big fan but I know that they are only good if eaten hot out of the oil with minimum standing time. Unfortunately this would mean that I would have to stand over a smoky oil filled wok while my guests were arriving... Can I make these beforehand and put them in the oven when guests arrive ? or will they lose their crispness if I do this ? If it's ok to do this does anyone have any good recipes ? I always like the potato or aubergine ones the most myself.

The idea about putting the potatoes on the menu is that it would help to 'fill up' the guests just in case there is not enough meat there...

Lassi is a good idea. Can it be made and stored in the fridge beforehand ?

And yes, the raitha will still be on the menu as I believe that can keep in the fridge if made earlier.

I tried the vindaloo recipe last night but it needs a bit of refinement. I took the recipe from these forums in an earlier thread and combined it with one from a cookbook. The result could be improved. Currently it doesn't quite have the tangy/sour taste I think it needs. Also could do with a bit less oil and a bit more salt. I've also kept leftovers for today to see how the flavour changes overnight. Will report back !

Rgds

Rick

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Hi Rick,

I've experimented with making pakoras beforehand and reheating them and was somehow not satisfied with reheating them in the oven. The last couple of times I made pakoras for guests, I fried them lightly beforehand (till they turn slightly brown) and refried them in hot oil for just a couple of minutes before serving. This way, I am able to serve a reasonable number of pakoras in a short amount of time and I was really pleasantly surprised by how fresh/crisp they tasted.

If you'd rather do fish than vegetables, then tandoori pomfret might be a good idea.. would go with the rest of your tandoori theme on the first course but still offer a good variation from the rest of the meat on the menu. You could do these beforehand on the grill and just reheat at the last minute.

I agree with Milagai that I would have gone with a lighter vegetable than potatoes as well (Saag is a good suggestion or Bhindi masala perhaps?).. I doubt you'd need potatoes as a filler with this menu :).

In any case, good luck with your dinner and if you can, then do post pictures and let us know how it all went.

-w@w

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Hi Worm,

I'm gonna do a trial run on the pakora's to see if I can do what you say with half-frying them before hand and then a quick fry when the guests arrive. I believe I have a couple of recipes in my books for them but do you have any pointers/advice on making them ?

Also I'm now thinking about switching the potatoes to bhindi like you say. Should hopefully make the meal a bit more balanced... May also drop the chicken kebab starters if I can do the pakora's as I think there may be too many things going on for only 6 people...

Rgds

Rick

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi Worm,

I'm gonna do a trial run on the pakora's to see if I can do what you say with half-frying them before hand and then a quick fry when the guests arrive. I believe I have a couple of recipes in my books for them but do you have any pointers/advice on making them ?

Also I'm now thinking about switching the potatoes to bhindi like you say. Should hopefully make the meal a bit more balanced... May also drop the chicken kebab starters if I can do the pakora's as I think there may be too many things going on for only 6 people...

Rgds

Rick

How did yr party turn out?

Pictures?

Milagai

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