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Indian Dinner Party

OKay guys- I sarted another thread asking for your best dinners for about 6 ppl. I think Im going with the Indian themed dinner party- Very very excited!
I would like to make the following:
Lamb Curry (I saw a recipe from a fellow hounder that looks good)
Ruth Reichl's Shrimp Curry found in Comfort me with Apples (Anyone try this before? )
Chicken dish (madra, massala, vindaloo) Im looking for suggestions here-
I know its a lot of food but I want the affect to be like we are in a restaurant ordering a bunch of little dishes to try- I can freeze any extras-
I will make a basmati rice and some sort of refreshing salad
maybe a chick pea or veggie dish (any ideas)
bread?
I would also like to make some accompaniments- chutneys etc.- please give any ideas you may have-

The shrimp curry recipe has coconut milk in it but other wise I would prefer mostly tomato based- We have 3 adults that love spicy food and one adult and 2 kids that dont like to much spice- The other 2 are indifferent-
Let the ideas begin! :)

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  1. Well just in terms of having a good mix of proteins, lamb, shrimp, and chicken, that sounds good. I would stick to simple chutneys like one raita (yoghurt sauce) and one tangy chutney, but let me give you some ideas on how to make those special and different from what you would get at your common Indian restaurant.

    For the raita, you could try "boondi raita." This will require a trip to your South Asian grocery store. You go in and ask for "chickpea flour balls" which are called boondi or dahi boondi in Urdu/Hindi. They are basically these tear drop (small variety) to cherry sized (larger ones) dried deep fried chickpea flour puff balls. What should you do with them? Make a very simple raita such as this:
    dry roast for a few seconds the following: 1 heaping tsp whole cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground cumin powder, do NOT burn. mix this with two cups Indian (Greek or whatever) yoghurt, salt to taste, you can make it sour with a squeeze of lemon or a pinch of aamchoor (ground mango powder, ask the grocer if you are interested). You can also add a tablespoon of chopped onions and chopped tomato. Okay, now you have made this and you have your boondis in the packets. For two cups of yoghurt, you need about 1/4 cup boondis. Don't be tempted to add too many because they will expand in the yoghurt and make it dry instead of nice and runny. Okay, soak your boondis for about five minutes in a dish of water, put a cup or a small plate on top to keep them from floating up. Then just stir them into the yoghurt. Pour the raita into a pretty serving dish and maybe sprinkle some more red chili powder on top as a garnish. So easy! Your guests will be so curious about the little boondis in the yoghurt!

    For your sour chutney, you could google or search chowhound for a recipe for an imli ki chutney, a dried date chutney, a tomato chutney, whatever. Most chutneys are quite easy.

    A great tomatoey chicken dish is something called karhai chicken. A karhai is a wok, but you can make it in a regular deep pan whatever. Since you have two "wet gravy" dishes, you should have one in which the gravy is a bit dried up. Do google the recipe, but it is basically you put chopped onions, garlic, and matchstick sized ginger with some spices and some whole green chilies fry these in oil with a few chopped tomatoes until the tomatoes melt down, you throw in your chicken, seal in the juices, then cover and cook until done. Then you squeeze in some lemon juice and add fresh chopped green chilies and chopped cilantro and a garnish of freshly chopped match stick ginger at the end.

    You could also pick up some naan or another flat bread from an Indo-Pak grocer, or even order it from a restaurant. Good luck.

    1 Reply
    1. re: luckyfatima

      I LOVE all of your Indian food ideas. I'm really into Indian food these days, so I'm paying particular attention to this subject right now! I had an Indian food take-out feast on Sunday (took some pics before devouring it, ha!) Thanks for the insights. I was missing a chutney from my choices, so I have to learn!

    2. I made this naan recipe this weekend: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Naan/Det... -- It was FAB!!! I mean really good. Restaurant good. But the problem with it is that it's at its best when it's fresh off the grill. (Fresh off the grill you get that great crispy/chewy texture.) But, even in the time it takes to make the whole batch, the first ones are good, but not exceptional -- because they don't have the crispy crunch part any longer. If I were making these for a dinner party, I would either enlist three people to make the naan (two to roll out, one to grill/flip) -- so they could all get cooked almost simultaneously. Or, more realistically, I would make them ahead and crisp them up in the oven. (I've been crisping up the leftovers in the toaster and they're pretty dang good -- better than anything I've ever brought home -- but not the exceptional of fresh off the grill.

      btw, if you decide to make these, I only buttered one side -- the recipe says to butter, then flip-- when I did that the butter caused lots of icky black smoke. Oh, and one more thing... if you have a two-burner grill, I would recommend heating one side (the one you use for the initial cooking) hotter than the other. Slap dough onto the hottest side, and move the naan to the slightly cooler side when you flip.

      It's not nearly as complicated as this long explanation makes it sound. Simple, easy, delicious.

      Enjoy!

      4 Replies
      1. re: miss louella

        Thank you so much!!!! You both gave such wonderful ideas- The chicken dish and "boondi Raita" sounds so interesting! I hope I can find what i need- Please keep the ideas coming- My dinner is tomorrow so Im going shopping tonight!

        Miss Louella- I have a question- It says to let the rolled balls sit for 30min. before grilling- Do you think I could let it sit longer? If I make in the morning and then grill right before dinner kind of thing-

        Thanks!

        1. re: gastronomy

          Gastronomy, I actually was in a similar situation -- where I wanted to extend the rise -- I decided to let it rise slowly (in a cooler spot) and then punch down twice before making into balls. (Letting the balls sit longer seemed to me like it would be a real hassle--needing to reform balls rather than just punch down if the rise got out of hand.) BTW, I used about 1/3 whole wheat flour and 2/3 white.

          Have a great party and please report back!

          1. re: gastronomy

            Hmmmm, I just read that you're in the Bahamas so you may not have a very cool spot to slow your rise... I don't know how much pre-dinner time you'll have, but you might be better off making the dough in the morning and refrigerating it. (If I were going to do that, I'd probably whip up the dough tonight.) If, that is, you'll have enough time for the rising after you pull it out of the fridge.

            1. re: gastronomy

              I love this recipe. If you want to do it in advance, I think it would be fine to make the balls and leave them in the refrigerator during the day. It'll do the final rise in the refrigerator, nice and slow.

          2. Indian food has so many rich and wonderful vegetarian options- with the huge population of Hindu's, Jains, etc. Perhaps a dal- a classic Indian dish (and very easy), and some braised vegetables- cauliflower, potato, cabbage, are all popular Indian veggies. I recently posted my recipes for dal and braised cauliflower on another post here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/482168 (about 1/3 way down).

            Here's also a great thread from someone in your shoes (lots of ideas and recipes included): http://www.chowhound.com/topics/319904

            2 Replies
            1. re: happybellynh

              Both those recipes sound great! I would like to try- I have 2 questions- Do you stir everything into the Dal?
              Can the califlower be braised earlier in the day and reheated later?

              Thanks!!

              1. re: gastronomy

                Cualiflower is pretty delicate, but I think you could probably do it earlier on in the day. I portion it out with the rest and reheat for lunches through the week, and it's generally fine.

                As for the dal, I think you pour the spiced ghee/iol over the dal when you serve it (technically). Again, mine are usually for leftovers, so I mix it all up and think it's fine.

            2. One of my favorite indian veggie dishes is saag paneer (spinach and fresh cheese)- i don't have exact proportions, but it is quite easy (and i'm sure that there are many recipes online). You can buy paneer or make your own very easily by bringing whole milk to a boil and then turning off the heat and adding a couple tablespoons per gallon of lemon juice and then straining the curds in double-cheesecloth overnight. the paneer gets cubed and fried and then mixed into spinach that's been chopped or pureed and sauteed with onions, garlic, coriander, cumin, tumeric, cinnamon and a little chile (optional)

              1 Reply
              1. re: pslopian

                That also sounds really yummy! I dont think I will have the time to make it and I live in the Bahamas (very hard to find ingredients like paneer) I will look today just incase and if i do find I will be making! Thanks!!

              2. Some links to Indian blogs/ forums which you may be of interest to you.

                1) http://www.mamtaskitchen.com/board/sh...

                A site run by an Indian lady who is a resident of the U.K. She is a well regarded by the members of the food chat forum on the BBC site and her advice is frequently sought. There are a lot of recepies mostly North Indian cusines. There is no need for registration to either browse or post on her forum. She is very helpful.

                2) http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi

                A food blog by an Indian lady from Andhra Pradesh. South India, currently resident of U.S.A. She has many recepies and is a popular blog among the Indians. Also there a lot of links to many Indian blogs on her website.

                3) http://www.anothersubcontinent.com/fo...

                A forum run by Indians most of whose members are outside India. mostly in the U.S.A. Registration required to post but not necessary to browse.

                4) http://www.recipezaar.com/recipes.php...

                Has a large Indian cusines section. Registration required to post but not necessary to browse.

                Hope you find these helpful.

                2 Replies
                1. re: bulldog

                  Wow!! Thank you so much for such helpful information!! I really appreciate it and find everything very helpful!!
                  Thanks again!

                  1. re: gastronomy

                    Its my pleasure

                    Some more sites are given below

                    http://www.route79.org/journal/

                    http://www.tigersandstrawberries.com/

                    http://www.sailusfood.com/

                    http://arcthomas.blogspot.com/

                    http://www.peppertrail.com/

                    She is an Indian lady based in Texas and is a cook book author who has won an award for her book Grains,Greens and grated coconuts in the U.S.A. She hails from the state of Kerala in South India.

                    Photos of most of the dishes are posted on the another subcontinent forum/general discussion and recipes/Pinned:Grains,Greens and Grated coconuts-Recipe Index.

                    Its my pleasure

                    Some more sites are given below

                    http://www.route79.org/journal/

                    http://www.tigersandstrawberries.com/

                    http://www.sailusfood.com/

                    http://arcthomas.blogspot.com/

                    http://www.peppertrail.com/

                    She is an Indian lady based in Texas and is a cook book author who has won an award for her book Grains,Greens and grated coconuts in the U.S.A. She hails from the state of Kerala in South India.

                    Photos of most of the dishes are posted on the another subcontinent forum/general discussion and recipes/Pinned:Grains,Greens and Grated coconuts-Recipe Index.

                    http://www.foodblogblog.com/

                    http://www.foodblogblog.com/search?da...