INDIAN FOOD

Going Indian: Using Traditional Indian Delicacies at Parties

Throwing a good party means following three basic rules – invite excellent company, be a good host and serve great food. The first couple of things are somewhat subjective and it really depends on your socializing skills. However, when it comes to good food, the choices are endless and it’s pretty easy to lose yourself in a regressive cycle, going back and forth trying to figure out what to put on the table.

The general choices like fish fingers and dips are somewhat passé and if you are not looking to bore your guest’s taste buds, it might be time to get out of the box, break a few rules and build a good menu.First thing first, you will need to choose a cuisine to center your spread on.Bruschettas and Oeuf Farcis don’t really stand a chance when it comes to the spectrum of flavors and aromas that Indian cuisine has to offer.

Hamburgers are absolutely no match for the finesse and delicate texture of Lucknow’s famous Galauti kebabs. A fine mince of lamb ground thrice and bound with gram flour and traditional Mughlai spices, the galauti kebab is sure to get people hooked. Why not lay out these delicious, juicy treats as appetizers when your guests are socializing? Serve it with a bowl of fresh mint chutney or spiced yoghurt sauce to really round off the flavors.

Recipe – Galauti kebabs

Ingredients

1/2 kg minced meat

Grind together:

  • 75-100 gm chopped raw papaya
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 8 cloves
  • Seeds of 2 black cardamoms
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds-roasted and dry ground
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp pieces of cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp desiccated coconut-lightly roasted
  • 5 green cardamoms
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

For the kebabs:

  • 1 cup sliced onions-fried brown and crisp in 1/2 cup ghee
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped green chillies
  • 3 Tbsp roasted gram flour
  • 1 egg
  • Ghee to pan fry the kebabs
  • Lemon juice to sprinkle over the kebabs

Method

  • Marinate the minced meat in the ground ingredients for 4-5 hours.
  • Mix together the coriander leaves, green chillies, gram flour and egg.
  • Add to the meat and work at it for some time, almost kneading it like dough.
  • Shape mixture into round patties of desired size, and refrigerate for half an hour or so.
  • Heat the ghee in a heavy-based frying pan or griddle.
  • Fry the kebabs, browning first one side and then the other, over medium heat.
  • Arrange them on a serving dish, sprinkle lemon juice and serve.

Alternatively, if you are looking to be a little more considerate and open up you menu to people with varied tastes, paneer shaslik skewers are a great option. Pieces of cottage cheese marinated in delicate spices, colorful vegetables like tomatoes and bell peppers, and barbecued over an open coal flame makes for one of the tastiest vegetarian appetizers you can serve.

Recipe – Paneer shaslik skewers

Ingredients

  • 600g paneer
  • juice 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp ground cumin, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 75g gram flour
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 284ml tub double cream
  • 4 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 pepper, red and yellow, roughly chopped
  • 2 courgette, sliced
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges

Method

  • Soak 12-15 bamboo skewers in water for 15 mins.
  • Cut the paneer cheese into 3cm cubes and toss with the lemon juice and ground cumin.
  • Set aside for 30 mins.
  • Sieve the gram flour, garam masala and paprika into a bowl and add the cream, garlic and chopped chillies plus enough water to make a thick batter, then stir until smooth.
  • Drain the paneer and add to the batter with 2 tbsp of the cumin-spiced lemon juice. Coat all the paneer cubes in batter.
  • Heat grill to its hottest setting and line the grill pan with foil.
  • Thread the paneer onto skewers, alternating it with chunks of pepper and courgette.
  • Drizzle with batter from the bowl and cook for 4-5 mins on each side, spooning over more batter when you turn them.
  • Grill until charred at the edges.
  • Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with the ground cumin, and serve immediately, accompanied with lemon wedges.
  • If you want to get a little messy and incorporate the rich flavors of Indian street food into your party menu, you can opt to serve bite size hot kati rolls. These small treats are made with botis of barbecued chicken along with a dash of mustard with shredded onions and horseradish, all rolled inside super crispy, shallow fried flatbreads and seasoned with nothing but a squirt of lime. If you have never had a hot kaati roll before, it’s time. Once you have been turned into a believer, share it with your guests at a party – they’ll surely be asking for more.

Recipe – Hot kati rolls

Ingredients

  • Refined flour
  • Boneless Chicken 250 grams
  • Ginger 1/2 inch piece
  • Garlic 3 cloves
  • Green chillies chopped 4
  • Salt to taste
  • Cumin powder 1 teaspoon
  • Chaat masala 1/2 teaspoon
  • Onions sliced 2 medium
  • Carrot cut into thick strips 1 medium
  • Oil 2 tablespoons
  • Green chutney 4 tablespoons
  • Fresh coriander leaves chopped 2 tablespoons

Method

  • Grind together ginger, garlic and two of the green chillies into a paste. Marinate chicken cubes in ginger-garlic-green chilli paste and salt for an hour.
  • Heat oil in a pan and sauté chicken cubes till done. Add cumin powder, chaat masala and check seasoning. Mix sliced onions and carrot strips.
  • To make kathi rolls, put one teaspoon of oil on a tawa and lightly heat the rotis. Smear each roti with one tablespoon of green chutney, place six to eight pieces of cooked chicken and sprinkle with remaining green chillies and coriander leaves. Spread a spoonful of onion and carrot mixture on the roti and sprinkle salt.
  • Roll the roti tightly over the stuffing and serve.
  • If you want to get a little heavier with the grub and mix it up a little, go the fusion way and serve nachos with a creamy dip made out of roasted eggplants, fresh tomatoes, spices and cilantro. The recipe is really simple but the final spread is disproportionately delightful and tangy.
  • No good party would ever be complete without some mouthwatering dessert, and the Indian cuisine completely knocks the ball out of the park in that sector. The choices are endless – hot gulab jamuns, firnee and sweetmeats of diverse flavors is just the tip of the iceberg. If you got the skills or resources, fresh-from-the-frying-pan jalebis are sure to end the night on the perfect sweet note.

Recipe – Gulab jamuns

Ingredients

  • 100 gms firmly packed khoya
  • 1 Tbsp refined flour or soojee
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp milk – mixed with a little water
  • 4 green cardamoms – slightly crushed
  • Ghee

Method

  • With the heel of your palm or the base of a flat metal bowl, mash the khoya, so that no grains remain.
  • Mix in the flour and baking soda and knead into firm dough. You can use a food processor too.
  • The dough should be firm but pliable and should not feel dry. If it does feel dry, wet your hands and work the dough again.
  • Shape the dough into marble-sized balls (jamuns) that are smooth and creaseless. The shape can be round or oblong.
  • Heat ghee in the kadahi till a piece of dough tossed in comes up at once.
  • Lower heat and fry a cube of bread till light brown (this lowers the temperature of the ghee).
  • Lift out bread and add as many jamuns as will fit in, without one touching the other.
  • Keeping the heat low, fry these till a golden brown all over.
  • Drain the jamuns out of the ghee, and fry the next lot, increasing the heat for a few seconds and then lowering it again before adding the jamuns.
  • Keep the gulab jamuns aside till the syrup is ready.
  • Mix the sugar and water and place over low heat, stirring till the sugar dissolves. Make sure it does not boil.
  • Increase the heat once the sugar dissolves, and then bring mixture to a boil.
  • Add the milk and water mixture and continue boiling over high flame, without stirring.
  • Skim off any scum that collects on the sides of the pan.
  • Cook till syrup thickens a bit. A finger dipped in slightly cold syrup should form a coating on it for a few seconds.
  • Take syrup off stove and cool for a minimum of half an hour. Strain through a fine nylon sieve or muslin cloth.
  • Add cardamom and bring syrup to a boil again.
  • Add the fried gulab jamuns to it and put off the heat. Let jamuns soak for at least half an hour before serving.

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