Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Indian Dinner

It starts this way. I'd been flipping through the Cook's Illustrated International Cookbook and it has a nice section on Indian cuisine. Many good recipes, several of which we've made at home before. I zeroed in on making my own samosas.

The first problem with samosas is that they are deep fried. For a lot of folks this isn't a problem but I've never been fond of the hassle of deep frying food. The second problem was that the recipe makes 24 samosas. Now I like a good samosa as much as the next guy but I can't in good conscience eat even 12 samosas in one sitting and fried foods never make good leftovers.

The answer... a dinner party. Laura invited a bunch of her swing dancer friends and I brought in a couple more. We had about a dozen folks give or take. Food-wise only a couple challenges. We had a couple vegetarians and one person who is fine with meat but can't eat dairy. By the end of the planning phase we ended up with the following:
The samosas and paneer masala (I took the masala sauce from a recipe of chicken tikka masala) both had dairy in them (there's yogurt in the samosa dough). The vegetable curry recipe called for a little heavy cream at the end but I substituted coconut milk, rendering the curry entirely vegan. The chicken biryani (so long as you didn't use the yogurt sauce) was non-dairy and the mulligatny was vegan. On the table was some store bought naan and I cut one corner by not making my own rice. I have a local Indian restaurant that makes really good rice and I wouldn't have had room on the stove to make it anyway.

The dinner was great. The company was amazing. I was surprized to see how quickly the whole event devloved into very competitive bouts with a Nintendo Wii. I posted pictures (taken by two of the guests) on Facebook.