Entertaining Idea – Start Your Own Dinner Club!

Getting together with friends is always exciting, but sometimes it is nice to mix it up a bit.  Recently, a friend shared with me a great idea that adds a bit of a twist to hosting friends for dinner, which we tried for the first time this weekend and with great success.

When I think of times where we have had guests over, we usually make a main course and perhaps a few sides.  Guests tend to bring pre-made items they buy at the grocery store, a bag of chips and salsa, or alcoholic beverages.  All of this is great, of course, but now let’s imagine if everyone put their cooking skills to the test!

We’ve decided to start a Dinner Club.  The idea is to have a select group of friends gather on a consistent basis trying foods of various cuisines or from various cookbooks.  The host selects the cookbook or cuisine for the evening and everyone picks what they would like to make.  Typically, the host makes the main dish since that is usually the most difficult to transport from place to place.  In our case, everyone made two dishes.

For our first Dinner Club, we were the hosts and decided on Indian cuisine.  My husband and I chose to make food from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking.  We made the following:

  • Tahiri (rice and peas), 
  • Bhutta aur alo ki mazedar tarkari (corn and potatoes with mustard seed and mint), and 
  • Kashmiri yakhni (Kashmiri lamb stew).  

The Tahiri was a nice substitute for plain basmati rice as it includes cumin, onion, and shelled peas, while the lamb stew was spectacular and made for great leftovers.  Our favorite, however, was the corn and potatoes, which were unbelievably spicy and tasty.  I plan to add this to my repertoire of sides dishes when I am in the mood for spicy deliciousness!  (I will post the recipes from this cookbook separately.)

Our friends also brought some amazing dishes.  See below for the list and links:

  • Mango curry hot wings:  http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/mango-curry-hot-wings
  • Indian spiced roasted chickpeas (aka Indian beer nuts): http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Indian-spiced-roasted-chickpeas/Detail.aspx
  • Chicken tikka masala: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chicken-Tikka-Masala/Detail.aspx
  • Red lentil curry: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Red-Lentil-Curry/Detail.aspx
  • Dal lentils (see recipe below)
  • Vermicelli Kheer (see recipe below)
Of course, one cannot eat Indian food without naan.  We decided to order naan from a local Indian restaurant since we were all making enough food and were a little worried about our naan-making skills.  Surprisingly, we had leftover naan and warmed it up in a pan for leftovers.  Even the naan held up nicely as a leftover dish.

In the end, I would say this Dinner Club was a great idea.  Some commented that our meal was better than some of the Indian restaurants we’ve eaten at here in New York City.  Funny enough, while we were snacking on appetizers, the gang was chatting up a storm.  As soon as we sat down for dinner, there was complete silence for about 10 minutes as everyone gobbled down their food.  Yes, I would say it was a successful evening.

We plan to have our Dinner Club once per quarter.  I wonder what the next cookbook or cuisine will be……

Pictures of our dishes are posted on Facebook.  Check them out!

Dal Lentils Recipe

Boil and cook 2 cups of packages of mix daal lentils in a pan and keep it aside.
Cut eight plum tomatoes, grate a piece of ginger and cut about 8 garlic into pieces
Pour some oil (just enough for the ginger and garlic to cook) into a big non-stick cooking pan.  First put a handful of cumin seeds and then put the grated ginger.  Once the ginger cooks put the garlic pieces and let that fry….keep mixing this and dont walk away…will take about 5 mins…once garlic and ginger are cooked, put the tomatoes in and mix it and sprinkle very little salt (for the tomatoes to cook) and close the pan….
Open the pan in about 4-5 mins and mix and see if the tomatoes are cooked….the tomatoes should become completely soft.  Once they become soft, pour the cooked lentils along with the water (be careful with the water, u will have to figure out what kind of consistency u want).  U can add additional tap water to increase the consistency. 
Once u settle on the consistency, put the adequate amount of salt to taste.  Along with salt put the following, half a tea spoon of turmeric powder, 3 spoons (heaps) of corriander/cumin powder and half a spoon of red chilli powder (would go easy on the red chilli powder as that can be added after u taste).  Mix everything and let the whole thing boil…keep mixing it every few minutes this way it doesnt stick to the bottom of the dish.  Once boilt, put half a table spoon each of  Amchur powder and Garam Masala and mix it.  Let it boil for 4-5 minutes and put some corriander leaves on top for seasoning.

Vermicelli Kheer Recipe 

·         ½ gallon of Milk
·         Vermicelli
Boil whole milk and then add vermicelli and then just add sugar to taste
You can add plain cashews and raisins and sprinkle some saffron for taste at the end; serve hot or cold


About georgiegirlconfections

I've always dreamed of starting my own business one day. My struggle wasn't about how to do it, but instead, what I wanted to do. I realized how much I love baking - it is what I turn to when I am bored or stressed. There are so many things to create and so many ways in which to create them. I look forward to sharing my favorite treats with you.
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