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Recs for Indian-themed dinner party

I will be making dinner for 10, and I'd love your recipe recs. Dishes that can be made in advance are esp. useful. I live near an Indian neighborhood, so I have access to all ingredients. One dish will be vegan (Chana Masala (sp?)?, but they all don't need to be. Thanks!

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  1. I'd go with my comfort zone:
    Chana Masala
    A paneer dish (mutter paneer, maybe?)
    Aloo gobi
    A chicken dish (Chicken Makhani aka Butter Chicken)
    Lamb (Maybe a VIndaloo, or other spicy gravy dish)
    A plain basmati rice, maybe a vegetable biryani or pulao as well
    Raita, pickles (chili and mango,) cilantro chutney
    If you live near an Indian neighboorhood, find some samosa, and then pick them up before the dinner party.
    Ditto for naan, and paratha. Fresh naan and paratha are essential IMO - and better left to a restaurant that has the tools to make it easily and cheaply.

    6 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      Thanks for your reply, Gordeaux. Do you have any good recipes for the above?

      1. re: Henrietta Stackpole

        Well, in a nutshell, yes, and no. Here's my take:

        Chana masala
        For this, I would use Shan brand chana masala spice mix. I would use canned chick peas - for a group of 10, probably two regular sized cans rinsed well. In a saucepan, I'd bring a heaping spoonful of ghee (or vegetable oil if you wanna keep it vegan) to a hot temp, and add around two tablespoons of the spice mix to the oil. When the spices release their aroma, then add a tbs of chopper garlic, and an amount of fresh ground pepper that makes sens to you. Stir this mixture in the saucepan quickly for only about 20 seconds. Add the chickpeas, and enough water to cover, + a tiny bit more for "gravy." Reduce the heat, and cover it. Make a slurry out of like two tsp of cornstarch, and three tbs of water. Add it, then add the juice of half of a lime. Give it a stir. Taste it. It should be pretty mild, and buttery. Adjust salt if needed. Let it simmer slowly for only a few minutes. Note: I have no idea if the Shan brand chana masala mix is legit for vegan - read the box. Also, for extra 'zing' you might wanna throw a few curry leaves in the oil after the spices are added.

        After thinking more, I'd do a saag panner (spinach with cheese) instead of a mutter paneer.

        My take on saag paneer:
        I use frozen spinach. For 10, I'm thinking four of the regular size frozen boxes of chopped spinach, thawed.
        Mince an onion, and sweat it in ghee or vegetable oil
        Next, throw in a good amount of crushed ginger, and garlic (two tablespoons each?)
        Next, a few minced serranos - seeds and all, 1 tbs of your favorite garam masala*, 1/2 tsp of turmeric, 1tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of coriander powder, and 1/2 tsp of a hot chile flake (I'd use aleppo in this - simply because I have it, and I find it ideal as a "layering" heat.) Saute this for about a minute.
        Next, toss in some sprigs (just a few) of fresh methi (fenugreek leaves)for a few seconds - just to heat through.
        Add 1/4 cup of tomato puree (fresh or canned)
        Next, add yer spinach, and about 1 cup of water. Stir and taste. Add salt as needed, cover and let it simmer slowly. This will go for about 10- 15 minutes until the spinach is soft.(add water if needed)
        While this is simmering, heat a skillet with oil toa medium hot. Cube up some paneer that you can get as a 'brick" at any indian grocery store. I would think three cups cubed would work well. Brown the cubes in the oil in batches.
        Add the paneer to the spinach mixture when the spinach is soft, and nicely broken down. Simmer slowly for another few minutes.
        *As garam masalas differ, so do their needed amounts. I would assume for this much, 1 tablespoon would be a good guestimate.

        Aloo Gobi-
        Well, you're talking potatoes and cauliflower and some kind of masala, so again, your tastes may differ from mine, and recipes will be all over the map
        I'll start by browning cubed potatoes in oil
        Next, I'll heat up some ghee, and add black mustard seeds. When they start to sputter, I'll add in some turmeric, garam masala, minced serranos, and minced onion, Stir fry this for about 30 seconds, and then add in chopped garlic, and ginger, and some chili garlic paste. After a minute more of stir frying, I'll add the potato back in, along with enough water to cover.
        Once the potatoes are tender, I'll add in the cauliflower, and then a cornstarch slurry to thicken it a little. Salt to taste at the end. I do also add a little heavy cream to this to add richness, but that's me.

        Chicken Makhani:

        Look for Shan brand spice mix "Butter Chicken," or "Chicken Handi" Follow the recipe on the box, but use about half of the spice mix that the box recipe calls for. Fortify with a garam masala. The Shan brand spice mixes are kinda heavy on the salt content. Trust me on this one if you happen to use either of these.
        If you use the Chicken Handi, I always remove the chicken form the gravy at some point after everything is in the pot (I use a wok,) and then put the gravy into a blender, and blend it smooth. Then add everything back together. I will usually also fortify both recipes with some oil that has sauteed a few curry leaves in it.

        For a vindaloo, I don't use any pre-made stuff. You'll get me started on serious bhuning, and well, I'd say you're better of finding a recipe online, and not relying on me to type up things here.
        I usually use a good amount of heat, some tomatoes, and a mixture of vinegar and lime juice for the liquid component when making a vindaloo. Just find a recipe - they are plentiful if you do a search.

        If you've never made a biryani,seriously, it might be better (easier and pretty darn cheap)if you order it from a restaurant with the naan / paratha.

        My raita:
        1 to 1 plain yogurt to sour cream
        Cilantro - a nice bunch
        lime juice
        salt
        hint of garam masala
        Blend it(puree) until smooth, and add water/ lime juice to make it the consistency of hmmm - I guess cake batter?
        My raita is unconventional, yes, but it works for me. It's a little more substantial than a regular raita.

        Sorry, but I rarley do "recipes" like 1/4 tsp of this, and 2 tsp of that. I'm notorious for "eyeballing"

        I would also stay far, far away form any recipe that calls for "curry powder." To me, British curry powder is tantamount to American "chili powder." It generally has a muddy, dirty flavor to me. Simple masalas are much brighter and cleaner tasting.

        1. re: gordeaux

          dessert!

          MANGO KUHLFI + a vegan dessert. Web up a mango kuhfli receipe. Easy, and WAAAY YUMMIE!

          1. re: gordeaux

            whoa, that's awesome, I feel like I never need to hit an indian restaurant again (except for naan!)

            Thanks!

            1. re: beany

              I've now made Naan twice - and I'm not much of bread baker. I was surprised at how easy it is.

        2. Here are some recipes we've made several times and like.

          California Chicken Curry
          http://groups.google.com/group/rec.fo...

          Paraphrased recipes from America's Test Kitchen:

          Indian-Style Curry with Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant, Green Beans, and Chickpeas
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/54143...

          Indian-Style Curry with Potatoes, Cauliflower, Peas, and Chickpeas
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/54143...

          1. For the lamb dish, make the lamb "popsicle" recipe from Canada's best Indian restaurant (and one of the best in the world, really), Vij's. It's a guaranteed hit.

            http://www.dongenova.com/r_2003_8.html

            1. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
              I have gotten a lot of positive response to this recipe. I fooled around with it a little, and typically cut up the chicken before cooking it for ease of service, but the flavor is really good.

              1. Don't forget papad/papadums and a few pickles (tomato, garlic, green chillies, mango carrots, cauliflr, turnip, lime, ginger, chana, stuffed red chillies.........)
                All papads and pickles are vegan