Indian Dinner Party

I really look forward to hosting an Indian Dinner Party.  I find it very therapeutic to spend time in the kitchen making dishes that you do not make everyday.  I enjoy the smell of the spices as they pop and simmer away and I know at the end of the cooking process I will have made some amazing meals.  With an Indian Dinner party, as you guests enter the door they are greated with the wonderful aromas of exotic spices and they are left in no doubt about what is on the menu.  

I've collected a number of trinkets that I use for styling Indian dinner parties these include some loved and worn candle holders that I've toped with green pillar candles and a number of elephants that have found there way into the house.  This year I've created a printable range to compliment the table including napkin rings, name tents and a menu, these are available from our shop.

I've created a three course menu based on some of my favourite Indian recipes (I have many) that are fairly straight forward to put together.  The full recipes and some useful tips are included at the end of the post.

For now enjoy and think Indian at your next Dinner Party.

  Indian Dinner Party

Indian Dinner Party

  Indian Dinner Party

Indian Dinner Party

To complete the look, use a single flower such as a Freeshia within the napkin ring.

  Indian Printable collection - www.chicpartyideas.com

Indian Printable collection - www.chicpartyideas.com

Use simple bamboo table runners and add trinkets such as Elephants and candles.

  Indian Printable Collection - www.chicpartyideas.com

Indian Printable Collection - www.chicpartyideas.com

When styling an Indian Table, use aged metal candle holders and team with bright candles.

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  Indian dinner party

Indian dinner party

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Place a couple of copies of your menu at either end of the table.

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This menu with text or blank is available from our store

  menu printable - www.chicpartyideas.com

menu printable - www.chicpartyideas.com

A starter of Cucumber and Mint Raita with pappadums is a great first course.  I've used packaged Pappadums from the supermarket that you shallow fry just before serving.

  Cucumber and Mint Raita with pappadums

Cucumber and Mint Raita with pappadums

Butter chicken is always a hit with the children, it is a lovely sweet, creamy dish that does not carry any heat.  

  Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Most Indian cook books have a vast range of vegetable curry.  They are a must for a dinner party.

  Indian vegetable curry

Indian vegetable curry

Beef Dhansak translates to beef and lentils, this is a slow cooked dish that is full of flavour. 

  Beef Dhansak

Beef Dhansak

Mango Kulfi is a cool, refreshing and light option to end an Indian meal.  

  Mango kulfi with fresh fruit

Mango kulfi with fresh fruit

Recipes:

A good Indian dinner party does require a few hours in the kitchen, but many of the meals can be made ahead of time and then re-heated prior to serving.  Tonights menu included:

Starter:                Cucumber and Mint Raita with Pappadums

Mains:                 Butter Chicken,  Vegetable curry, Beef dhansak and Steamed basmati rice.

Dessert:              Mango kulfi and fresh fruit

How I approached the cooking!

  • Prepare the Kulfi the day before.
  • Marinate the butter chicken the day before.
  • Prepare the Raita in the morning of the party.
  • Prepare the Dhansak and Butter chicken early afternoon, soon followed by the Vegetable curry.
  • I've used Basmati rice and cooked according to the package, as with the pappadums.
  • I've also used a supermarket naan.  I find the refrigerated naan breads are nicer than those placed with the other breads, these are heated prior to serving.
  Cucumber and Mint  Raita with Pappadums

Cucumber and Mint  Raita with Pappadums

Cucumber and Mint Raita with Pappadums.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lebanese cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon ghee or butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves, and more to garnish
  • Packet of pappadums

Method:

  1. Peel cucumber, half lengthways, remove the seeds and roughly chop.
  2. Heat the ghee or butter in a small pan, cook the seeds and cumin until the seeds pop, then allow to cool.
  3. Combine spice mixture with the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Cover, refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  5. Just before serving, add mint and additional mint to garnish.
  6. Pappadums are best made right before serving.
  7. enjoy
  Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 5 Chicken breast fillets (cut into large chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 teaspoons garam masala
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 60 g butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cardemon pods, bruised (note 1)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 can (425 g) tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup cream

Method:

  1. Combine ginger, garlic, ground spices, tomato paste and yogurt in a large bowl.  Add chicken and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Heat the butter in a large pan, add onion, cinnamon and cardamon and cook stirring until the onion is lightly browned.  Add the chicken and contents of bowl and cook for approx 5 minutes.
  3. Add paprika, tomato puree, salt and stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir through the cream and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. enjoy
  Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Yogurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon gaman masala
  • 4 cardamon pods, bruised (note 1)
  • 3 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 brown onions sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and coarsely diced
  • 300 g cauliflower florets
  • 1 baby eggplant sliced
  • 1 zucchini sliced
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 200g green beans
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves

Method

  1. Combine yogurt, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and spices in a bowl and stand for 30 mins.
  2. Heat butter or ghee with the oil in a large pan.
  3. Add onions and cook stirring until the onions are slightly brown.
  4. Add bay leaves, potatoes, carrot, cauliflower, eggplant and zucchini and cook stirring for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the yogurt mixture, water and cream and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Add the beans and simmer uncovered for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Add the mint just before serving.
  8. enjoy.
  Beef Dhansak

Beef Dhansak

Beef Dhansak

Ingredients

  • 1 kg diced beef
  • 1 eggplant (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 500g Pumpkin (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 litre water

Method

  1. Heat the butter or ghee in a large pan, cook onions and garlic until lightly browned.  
  2. Add the spices and cook, stirring until fragrant.
  3. Add pumpkin, eggplant, curry leaves, lentils and water and bring to the boil - then simmer for 30 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Place the mixture in a blender or food processor in batches until pureed - return to the pan.
  6. Add the diced beef and bring to the boil.   
  7. Simmer, covered for 1 hour, remove lid and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes.
  8. enjoy
  Mangp Kulfi with fresh fruit

Mangp Kulfi with fresh fruit

Mango Kulfi

Ingredients

  • 2 x 375 cans evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 8 cardamon pods, bruised (note 1)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 mangoes, chopped and skin removed
  • Fresh fruit for serving

Method:

  1. Combine milk, sugar, cardamon and cinnamon in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat and stand for 30 minutes, then strain into a blender.
  4. Add the mangoes to the blender and process until smooth.
  5. Line the base and sides of a 23 cm square baking pan with glad wrap
  6. pour in the Kulfi and cover with more wrap.
  7. place in the freezer for a least 4 hours (i normally do this the day before).
  8. To serve, I cut the kulfi into 4 squares, then each square into 4 triangles.
  9. Serve with fresh fruit.
  10. enjoy

Notes

Note 1 - To bruise a cardamon pod, place the pods on a chopping board and hit once with a meat mallet or other heavy object.