Small dinner party - indian - dishes and recipes?
Hi - having another couple over and wanted to make indian. I've made curries before but not recently so can't remember what recipes I've used. I can easily get spices at the indian grocer. I want something tasty and not so time consuming, preferably some make ahead ideas. Any thoughts on dishes and any recipes you may have.
I was thinking - a meat or shrimp curry, raita, and a chickpeas dish. thoughts? what else?
I would suggest a green shrimp curry (cilantro sauce) and a chicken/lamb rogan josh (you can buy a ready made rogan josh suace base at your Indian grocer). My mother makes a great green bean side dish with mustard seeds and coconut, or a curried cauliflower. All of these are easy and tasty.
i'd say with the meat dish with chickpeas might be a very heavy dinner, unless you included a vegetable as well, such as pea tendrils or okra. those can be stir-fried quickly with chile, turmeric, grated coconut... or spice it up with black mustard seed, cumin, coriander, shallot, etc.
or palak paneer! YUM!
or... tamarind potatoes.
or... spiced aubergine.
there's so much to choose from!
If you want to do a lamb curry, rogan josh is a favorite of mine when serving Westerners and goes great with raita, and naan. I would, however, also add a vegetable dish such as baigan bhartha. Butter chicken is also a popular option , but in that case I would balance out the dairy by omitting the raita and instead serving your chickpea dish, such as a tangy chana masala to balance out the richness of the butter chicken and perhaps some palak aloo for extra texture on the plate. Also I prefer rice over naan with butter chicken so as to soak up every last bit of gravy. Everything aside from the chickpeas and rice can be made ahead of time and re-heated.
If you want to go all out, I might also suggest serving ginger mojitos for cocktails with bhel puri or papadum and chutney for a starter and a cardamom panna cotta for dessert.
I thnk the simplest quickest curries are those using on-the-bone chicken. Madhur Jaffrey has several which start with sizzling whole spices (cardamon-cinnamon-peppercorn-cloves-bay leaf, then may involve adding in stages onion garlic-ginger paste, the chicken and yogurt and/or tomato sauce. As I say, they go from really simple to more complex, but all are relatively quick (unlike meat curries) and can be prepared ahead.
Raita is simple - either with tomato-cucumber-cilantro, with a add-in of sizzled oil/ghee with a bit of asafoetida, mustard seeds, whole cumin seed and chopped green chiles or one we enjoy, cooked potatoees crumbled and sauteed with the aforesaid sizzled ingredients and onion, and mixed into the yogurt, with some chopped cilantro.
I like particularly the veg - cabbage and onions or frenched green beans - sauteed with
the sauteed mustard seed, asafoetida and cumin and then blended with a mix of grated fresh coconut and chopped cilantro. Even easier is a simple sautee of shredded cabbage and onions in oil (slivered chiles at your discretion) flavored with a sizzled tsp. of panch phoron (5 spice mix of equal quantities of cumin, black mustard, fennel, fenugreek and nigella (blqack mustard seed) . After the inital sauteeing, add sprinkles of salt, a bit of sugard, cover and cook til tender - it should still be crisp - garnish with some cilantro and you are done.
Some rice pilaf is good - sautee some whole spices and onions in butter or oil, then the rice a bit before adding the water, and add a few green peas and some cilantro garnish at the end and your guests will be impressed.