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)
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……
Dal Lentils Recipe