Chinese food at Indian wedding
We are having a multiethnic wedding (indian and chinese (cantonese if it matters) and hosting this at an indian venue. Getting 2 caterers in would have been too costly. However, the chef as this venue has agreed to playing around the menu as well as preparing 1-2 chinese dishes
I'm looking for asians or anybody with the knowledge of to understand the best dishes to serve which are palatable to asians in general. We have appetizers covered as most people like kababs, chicken tikka, etc. We will also be doing a jelly fish platter with pickled radish/cucumber. Red bean desert soup is a sure thing. Where we are lost is the main course. I can't ask my fiancee since's she loves all indian food having spent so much time with me. Supposedly, chinese are fonder of drier dishes vs curries so tandoori chicken for the main course could be one dish. Any other ideas on other indian dishes or even chinese dishes that are easy to prepare? Things like duck, lobster or not doable
You could do Indo-Chinese. It's Chinese food, as served in india, catering to the Indian palate. Chilli Chicken, Chilli Paneer, Gobi Manchurian, Hakka Noodles, spring rolls, etc. Very popular and very good. We go to many weddings here in So. CA that often have Indo-Chinese for the appetizers. (I'm Indian).
Maybe pakora, samosa, biryani representing the Indian side. And along with Indian-Chinese, westernized "Szechuan" dishes (orange peel chicken, etc.) representing the Chinese side. (There is a Szechuan restaurant here in my city whose customers are predominantly Indian. Many of the dishes are reminiscent of Kolkata style Chinese). Balti style Indian stir fries might work too.
You are having Indian caterers prepare the Chinese dishes? You could definitely go for some Indian-Chinese dishes like the ones mentioned by Boogiebaby. (Noodles are liked by all.) Truthfully, this will not impress less adventurous Cantonese palates because the flavors will still be very exotic, but the good-sport eaters will be happy. And even if you went for a Cantonese caterer, ideally these types of foods are served fresh out of the kitchen, so something brought on site would still not impress the guests. I don't think jelly fish will go over to well with the desi diners.
But...you say no duck or lobster. I know you said only one caterer, but do you guys have a decent Cantonese owned Chinese BBQ place nearby? I have been to Chinese engagement and wedding parties where the hosts had a whole roasted pig catered from a Cantonese BBQ place. Some of your more traditional desi guests won't eat pork, I am sure, but it is a Chinese wedding food and will keep the Chinese guests happy. If having a giant pig will freak out the desi guests, what about Cantonese BBQ chicken catered from the Chinese BBQ place? It wouldn't matter to have chicken tikka AND Chinese BBQ chicken since the flavor profiles are so very different. The Chinese BBQ will be sold by the pound and you can bargain (send in your girl friend's mom if you can) for the price since it will be a large amount...it really isn't that costly compared to some other wedding catering.
I agree about your assessment of wet gravies being potentially less popular than dry items like tandoori meats and kababs. What about some kind of desi fried fish? Fish amritsari, whole fried pomfret, or something like that? That should go well with both Chinese and desi guests.
Also, why not keep kababs and chicken tikka as main courses, but for appetizers go for something like eggrolls, money bags (Indian caterers will know how to make this, it is a small baked or deep fried pastry stuffed with veg or protein and looks like a sack of money, which is lucky for Chinese, too) and some kind of shami kabab or veg cutlet, baked samosa/pattice, all made in desi-Chinese style.
For desi dessert, I think kheer is hard to beat and will be a hit with all.
Good luck and congrats on your wedding!
"Supposedly, chinese are fonder of drier dishes vs curries..."
Um, it depends. Cantonese cuisine [of Guangdong and environs, in Southern China] tends to be saucy, not dry. "Curries" is a vague term, do you mean a "saucy dish" or a "spicy/hot dish with gravy in the Indian style"? It's Northern Chinese cuisines that tend to be drier.
"...the best dishes to serve which are palatable to asians in general..."
Could you elaborate what you mean by "asians" in this case? Do you really mean Cantonese-Chinese and Indians (what regionality?) ?
That the Chinese side is Cantonese IS significant. In general Cantonese cuisine is not hot or spicy, and you should really look into what your fiancée's side of the family actually eat. So far I see suggestions that are largely spicy or hot/fiery in some way. Indo-Chinese is generally pretty hot, isn't it? Szechuanese is usually fiery w/ some non-hot options, though. Thai curries can be iffy with a Cantonese family unless they have acquired the taste for it - again, you really should look into what your fiancée's family actually eats. I am assuming you are both in the US; perhaps both familial sides have adapted to USAmerican modes of eating? Or are there "traditional" members who would only eat "traditional" Cantonese or Indian (of whatever regionality you and they come from)?
Another note of caution: Indian food similar to Thai curry has been made as a suggestion. My understanding is that many Thais themselves (including those of Chinese heritage) "cannot stand" Indian curries. It seems they don't like the "smell", amongst other things. OTOH, perhaps everyone on your fiancée's side does (which would be an exception) so again you might need to probe into what they do eat.
Would it be an option to have some purely traditional Cantonese dishes made? But perhaps that is beyond the capabilities of the chef. Maybe some non-spicy American-Chinese dishes, then. That orange peel chicken suggested above might be an option. What you need to find out IMO is whether everyone on your fiancée's side can eat any spicy food or not. Even though your fiancée loves Indian (presumably fiery) food, surely she can set aside her preferences and think about what her grandmother or that great-grand uncle from the "old country" eats; ditto on your side whether someone cannot stand to eat "bland" food that does not have chillies in it - the info would be useful in arriving at compromise dishes &etc.
I was guessing he meant the Chinese guests would prefer the dry Indian meats rather than those served in curry gravies.
Truthfully, I recall hearing friend's parents (Chinese and Vietnamese) saying things about Indian foods like "This smells like arm pit" and feeling disgusted by Indian flavors. These were very traditional people who were not very worldly and only ever ate their own regional foods...we can of course find Indians and people of every other background who only stick to their own foods.
It is very touchy, but hopefully most guests will be open. And yes, good advice, tell the caterers to make most food American-spicy or not at all spicy.