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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)
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.


      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-


        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?


              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






                    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






                    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.



                2. Sounds like a delightful menu. I have always wanted to try some of the recipes Reichl cites in her books, which I just adore. Good luck - and I can't wait to hear how it turns out. Seems like your menu is already filled to the brim, but I wanted to mention that I've experimented with Indian cooking too. I made amazing samosas, from scratch, better than a restaurant, baby! I couldn't believe how delish. I made a sour cherry chutney for them b/c I lived in Chile at the time, with a sour cherry tree in the backyard. What kinds of fresh fruit do you have access to? I've also made a fantastic baigan bharta, eggplant curry with spinach if you ever want the recipe. Again, like the samosas, I couldn't believe how the food really tasted like Indian restaurants, better even!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: foxy fairy

                    foxy fairy, I would LOVE your baigan bharta and samosa recipes!

                    Thanks in advance!

                  2. For a side, how about a cucumber raita--it plays well w/ spicy curries and takes away some of the heat.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chowser

                      Wow guys! I would love both those recipes- Everything just sounds soooo good!!! Chowser and Miss Louella- I think I will take your advice and let them go in the fridge rolled into balls-
                      Im sooo excited!
                      The Raita sounds really refreshing- I think I will make this as well! :)

                    2. If you have people who are not too keen on spicy food maybe you could consider a chicken tikka massala, you can marinade the chicken and make the sauce the day before, then all you have to do is quickly grill the chicken strips and serve it with the sauce. Can you get papad? These make wonderful crispy snacks with a little onion relish or sweet mango chutney

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Its funny about 5 min. ago I wrote chicken tikka massala on my list- I posted another thread earlier and about favorite dinners to serve to 6ppl.- The poster goodhealthgourmet posted a recipe that I decided to go with-
                          this is the link to the thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/483617
                          MMRuth your recipe looks great too! I will have to try that out during the week for the hubby and I! :) I dont know how to make the thread go directly to her post but if you scroll down towards the bottom you will see it!

                          1. re: gastronomy

                            Thanks - I'll check that out - and the recipe I linked to is a nice easy weeknight dinner.

                      1. butter chicken or a korma would be nice.

                        for the veggies...channa masala, navrattan curry (or at least that's what it's called at one of my fave restos)...malai kofta etc...

                        also, a mulligatawny soup perhaps? A veggie version to suit all would be good like this one


                        although i don't know authentic that stuff is.

                        gulab jamun or a cardamom spiced rice pudding for dessert would also be lovely !!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: im_nomad


                          Alton Brown's recipe for Spiced rice pudding is wonderful. Although I enjoy it w/out the raisins but otherwise follow the recipe as written.

                          1. Sorry I dont have the recipe with me but Madhur Jaffrey's tomato chutney is good with everything. Its in her original book An Invitation to Indian Cooking which is a must own if you dont already have it. Make a whole bunch - it lasts forever in the fridge. Hope the party is great!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: anunez

                              Be careful, there are a lot of mistakes in Madhur Jaffrey's original book, but overall, it's the best of all the books I've looked at (well over 100.) Sometimes I think her teaspoon and tablespoon is like most Indian "aunty" measurements - the small spoon in their drawer is a teaspoon and the big spoon is a tablespoon, and these are more like 1/2 tsp and 1/2 tbsp in reality. Other times, it's actually a tsp or tbsp, in which case I think she instinctively uses heaping "tsp" or "tbsp". Every now and then, there's just a plain ol' mistake. Luckily I can just call my mom and ask her if it sounds right, but I know lots of people can't do that, but you can post on some of those blogs/forums posted above and someone will help you. In general, most Indian/Pakistani home cooking has much less zeera (cumin) and garam masala than what I see most recipes calling for.

                              Also, Urdu has many words different than Hindi, and even Pakistani Urdu has differences from Indian urdu (especially dialects like Hyderabadi). Punjabis don't really use the term "korma". They usually say "salan". That dahi poondi thing, I've heard it called it "dahi baray", "dahi palay", etc. (and never saw anyone buy them from a store, but rather fry their own, but i guess you can buy them.) Indian stores usually will have what you're looking for, but might not recognize the name (forget about the English name, it doesn't exist, hehe.) The workers will just be like "no", but it'll be two shelves down. Keep in mind that many regions of India do not have Hindi/Urdu as their first language.

                              Also, the cooking styles vary quite a bit throughout every region of the two countries, just like in any country. Most Pakistanis till this day have never eaten a dosa, much less know what it is. There is no one "authentic" in the sense that every region has there own version of a dish, even though it might have originated in a specific region 160 yrs ago. Some things are even popular there now *because* they are popular here. I'm convinced butter chicken and chicken 65 are like that, because even in 2000 I didn't hear anyone in Pakistan or Hyderabad talking about those dishes like they do now, but those were very popular among Indians/Pakistanis in UK and America. Also, interestingly, I had never heard of or seen paneer in Pakistan's Punjab province (including Lahore) until recently. I didn't know what saag paneer was until I ate it 5-6 yrs ago. We have family friends that eat rice with bread, just crazy stuff! :P

                              I would just experiment and figure out what tastes good to you. I have personally adapted my Indian/Pakistani cooking to include far more than punjabi cuisine. What I'm trying to say is don't worry about trying to be authentic as that notion is dying away, especially now that it's so easy to find and share information. Ask a person from Hong Kong or Shanghai what's authentic in HK or Shanghai right now. It will be different that even what many CHers consider authentic chinese food. Everyone's cuisine is evolving at an extremely rapid rate. My only regret is that the food in the Indian subcontinent is losing its heat as a result of our now smaller world. I just love it when a chaat in Lahore burns my toungue on contact, but alas, those days will be over soon.

                              P.S. I've never seen any "aunty" put as much thought into proteins, and sauce varieties, wet/dryness, what will go with what... heh, but it'll catch on soon.

                              1. re: bmorecupcake

                                Aunties don't need to sit around an analyze; they know what goes with what. They don't normally make up three dishes, each with an identical tomato gravy and serve a bowl with 5 c of rice to serve 10 people, or serve bland cream sauces with a side of raita.

                                1. re: bmorecupcake

                                  Actually, Dahi Bhoondi Chaat and Dahi Barey are two entirely different dishes. I think you're confusing the two of them as the same thing.

                                  Bhoondi is prepared using a Gram flour batter...which is then made into small balls using a ladle with holes. These balls are then deep fried in oil. When you take these fried Bhoondi and put them into a spiced yogurt mixture, aka dahi chaat, it is known as Dahi Bhoondi Chaat.

                                  Dahi Barey are made using gram flour batter as well, but to make the Barey, you have to drop tablespoon-size amounts into a deep fryer until they're cooked through and then soak them briefly in water to soften them up...afterwards, you add the Barey to a spiced yogurt mixture (dahi chaat) and garnish them with other chutneys and toppings to taste.

                                  1. re: skittlesrharaam

                                    I co-sign that dahi boondi (or is it bhoondi?) are made with gram flour (besan). They are not at all the same and bhallay/baray

                                    But dahi bhalle are made with washed urad daal/white urad daal (urad dhooli) that are soaked and ground.

                                    The end serving style for dahi boondi and dahi bhalle are the same but they are different dumplings.

                                    1. re: luckyfatima

                                      Actually, Dahi Barey can be made with besan (gram flour dumplings), (which is the most popular way to make them in the Subcontinent), as well as with Maash/Urad Daal (ground white lentil dumplings). The word Barey refers to the dumpling itself, not what it is made of, because technically it can be made of anything.

                              2. Everyone's ideas sound tasty, but I think that you should also think about the mix of wet and dry, so that the texture of all your dishes isn't the same with all kinds of sauces running together on the plate.

                                1. Chicken Vindaloo can be made mild to the taste and is often the preferred "first experience" for many people enjoying Indian food for the first time.

                                  Basmati rice, steam a fresh bag of raw rice. Goes with everything!

                                  If you have an Indian grocer or better yet a bakery that creates Ladoo, special Indian desserts, you might consider a few premade treats/desserts or side dishes to round out your lovely and time intensive menu.