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Nov 19, 2008 09:25 AM

Indian Appetizers

I am hosting a party where several of the people are Indian and dpn't eat meat. I need some idea's on some Indian appetizers that would be pretty simple and easy to eat. I can bake or fry or whatever but I have never worked with Indian spice so I am lost.

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  1. What's the rest of your meal, or is it just an appetizer party? Are you thinking about the Indian items as a polite nod to your guests? My thought is that Indians probably like to eat other cuisines as we all do, so taking into consideration their dietary restrictions, just make things you're comfortable making. Or am I missing something?

    3 Replies
    1. re: nemo

      I second nemo's suggestion. your guests could find it sweet that you took the trouble to do Indian appetizers for them, but they could also possibly find it patronizing, or maybe they eat Asian food every day at home and would be really happy to try a veg. appetizer that is not Indian for the sake of culinary variety, or maybe they would even think that your novice attempt at their cuisine isn't very good (I am not doubting your skills, just postulating). I am sure they will love that you took the effort to do something veg for them, but it doesn't really have to be Indian.

      1. re: luckyfatima

        I third nemo's suggestion. Coming from an Indian-American family, I can give you tips on what are the most popular non-Indian appetizers at the Indian-American parties I've attended. I'm not sure how casual or elegant of a party you're planning, but here are a few ideas: spanakopita, crudite platter with hummus, 7-layer bean dip. I know the 7-layer bean dip doesn't sound fancy, but that gets devoured!

        1. re: pmody

          I gotta wonder about novice prepared Indian vs. well prepared and dietary considerate/hospitable other.

          I think I know what I'd go with and I'd consider LF's idea that one wouldn't want to seem patronizing. also your confidence will be so much better and that gives guests relaxation. better to do what you know with maybe some ingredient tweaks than try something you don't.

    2. The easiest appetizers for you to make would be mixed vegetable pakoras. Think of them as the Indian version of tempura. Aloo tikki (potato croquettes) served with a refreshing dose of coriander chutney and tamarind chutney for sweetness would also be very simple. Neither option is overly complex in terms of spicing. If you decide to be a little more technical, you could try your hands at potato samosas, paneer tikka kabobs, spiced cashews and a small platter of store-bought bhel puri.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JungMann

        Spiced cashews are a great idea and hold well at room temp (if it's a cocktail party).

      2. The absolute best dip I made recently was a carrot curry indian dip (could eat it with a spoon - sooo fantastic). Here's one that I found that is just like it (mine came from a funky "sauces" cookbook):

        good with pita chips or vegies.

        3 Replies
        1. re: lexpatti

          this looks interesting, but what's "curry paste"? can i just substitute garam masala?

          1. re: Produce Addict

            I don't know garam masala - been on my list to get as it's mentioned often. The
            curry paste is this:

            Dip is fantastic, I've also played around with this curry paste and having fun with marinades.


            1. re: lexpatti

              Garam masala is a mixture of spices, the one i use being bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods (green), and maybe something else that I'm not remembering right now... And, no, you can't substitute.

        2. All the stuff that JungMann suggested plus onion bhajis which are golf-ball sized fritters using the same chickpea batter as the pakoras, sliced onions, chopped cilantro, turmeric/garam masala powder/ground cumin/a bit of cayenne (this does vary slightly from region to region). Every get together I've ever been to has had these.

          Now, if I were you and wanted something super easy (stuffing samosas can be a bit time consuming), I'd go to a local Indian store and check out their frozen section as there are usually a ton of prepared stuff you can just fry or bake AND come with their own chutneys. Totally acceptable and surprisingly good. :o)

          1. Pani Puri is one of my alltime favourite apps....they are silver dollar sized pori's that you tap open, then yer guests fill with a mix of slightly mashed potatoes and red beans tamarind chutney and coriander water (?)...i could eat the whole thing...i've seen them sold as a package deal at indian supermarkets (pori's, potatoes, sauces)..Topped with the sev (fried noodles), it becomes sev pani puri....completely lovely and one of my favourite things EVER. picture of it is show below

            2 Replies
            1. re: sixelagogo

              Pani Puri is a great idea. Your Indian guests will love you!

              1. re: sixelagogo

                Completely labor intensive, but delicious. However... I've never tried holding the pooris for more than a few minutes. They can get rubbery when cold, right?

                Maybe a chaat bar where you can mix your own chaat? Put out sev, crisped rice, chopped veggies, coriander and red onion, chickpeas, tamarind and other chutneys.