31 July 2006

Dinner party

This must be the most mixed crowd I've ever catered for! A invited a few of the research students from the Univ to dinner. I cooked for a group comprising of a Slovakian, Hungarian, German, Korean, Malaysian, and of course, Indians... US!

Since it's been a while since we last entertained (all of 3 weeks) I decided to make something slightly fancy. And with the mixed crowd in mind, also considering that the Europeans and the Korean had never eaten Indian food, I had to plan a good menu... balancing out the mild with the unbelievably hot.

The menu I finally came up with has to be one of my best ones to date. Naans, Tandoori salad, Aloo matar, Biriyani, Raita, Malai Kofta and Ice-cream for dessert. I decided on store bought naans as I don't have an oven... yet..
The recipes for biriyani, raita and aloo matar have been blogged here before. The only change, I dunked in about 250 gms of green peas along with the potatoes, and cooked it the same way.

Malai Koftas
serves 8

Koftas as made in this recipe.
Optional: Stuff koftas with chopped cashewnuts and raisins before frying them.

3 big onions
4 cloves garlic
1" piece ginger
1 cup milk powder (or khowa)
1/2 cup almonds (soaked and peeled)
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp garam masala
1" cinnamon
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
1 pod cardamom
1/2 cup cream
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Peel onions, garlic and ginger. Boil till onions are clear. Reserve water used in boiling. Cool and grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
Grind almonds to a smooth paste with milk. Keep aside.
Heat oil. Add dry spices and let them splutter.
Add onion paste and fry for 3 minutes.
Make a smooth paste of milk powder and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water. Add to the onion paste and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add ground almonds, Garam masala and adjust salt to taste. Simmer for 3-4 minutes till well combined. Dilute with reserved water to adjust to desired consistency.
Arrange fried koftas on serving platter.
Pour hot gravy over them just before serving. Garnish with cream.

Tandoori Salad
serves 4

100 gms Paneer
1 big tomato (very firm)
1 big onion
1 red capsicum
1 green capsicum
1 yellow/orange capsicum

For the marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsbp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic (ground)
salt to taste

Peel onions. Deseed Capsicums.
Cut paneer, and vegetables into equal sized chunks.
Blend ingredients for marinade till well combined.
Let vegetables and paneer marinate for at least 2 hours.
Grill in batches for 5-7 minutes (turning when they start to brown)
Alternately, bake in topmost rack of oven at 180C till browned.
Skewer before serving.
Serve hot.

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