India: My Indian Feast

I love making curry.

Which is just as well, because once I start making curry I just can’t stop. In my house a simple curry invariably turns into a full-on 4 dish Indian feast…for two. It doesn’t matter how humble my initial intentions are, the simple fact of the matter is that Indian curries need companions; what is a rogan josh without a dhal, a korma would be lost without a sambar. Seduced by the alchemy of spices and my insatiable need to feed; it all gets out of hand very quickly, but that’s okay, because I really do love making curries!

One of the best things about making curry is that it always benefits from being cooked the day before. Dhal and vegetable curries aside, I would never dream of serving a curry on the day it was made. To do so would be a shame, a wasted opportunity to allow your guests the experience of tasting the full array of flavours of the curry, which can only develop if given the necessary time. Far from being an impediment, a curry’s need for advanced preparation is, in fact, one of its greatest conveniences and makes it a dinner party favourite at our house. An Indian feast allows you to make the various elements days in advance, all the while giving the curries time to mature to their full potential. This advanced preparation makes for a stress-free meal, giving you more time to spend with your guests.

The other important element is choosing the right dishes for your feast. I tend to work on a ratio of two meat, one or two vegetable and one side dish – this gives you a good mix of dishes and should cater to all tastes and dietary needs. One of the great things about Indian food is that it is easy to accommodate vegetarian/vegan guests and you can all enjoy the “same” meal together. Now, what curries to make? There are a myriad of choices out there. Indian food is wildly diverse, at times bewilderingly so, but I tend to stick to a few classic dishes that most people know and aren’t afraid of.

These are my top picks for an Indian Feast:

Meat Curries:

Lamb:

Rogan Josh

Gosht Shahajani

Chicken:

Kadhai Murgh (Kadhai Chicken)

Makhani Murgh (Butter Chicken)

Fish:

Molee (Keralan Fish Curry)

Vegetable Curries:

Aloo Mutter (Peas & Potato Curry)

Aloo Gobi (Cauilflower & Potato Curry)

Lobia Khumbi (Black-eyed Beans with Mushrooms)

Accompaniments/Side Dishes:

Tarka Dhal

Chole Chaat (Spicy Chickpea)

Like all feasts, planning is key. Read through your recipes in advance and plan accordingly. If necessary, marinate your meats overnight in preparation for cooking the curry the day before serving. Most curries will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator, so stagger your cooking over a few days so as not to become overwhelmed!

On the day of the meal, organise any last minutes additions according to the needs of each individual dish, so that everything is where you want it, when you need it. Slowly reheat you curries at least an hour before serving, they can always be heated up again just before serving. Of course, don’t forget the most important element of your feast – the rice!

 

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