Every couples of months or so, we get together with friends to have what we informally call one of our "World Food Nights". This entails cooking the cuisine from the nominated country, dressing up in national clothing and listening to music from that country. So far the countries we have subjected to this treatment are: England, Germany, Sweden, and Southern USA (where we've made good use of Nigella's "Trashy"
chapter in Nigella Bites). Kazakhstan was ruled out as we couldn't acquire any of the ingredients.
We decided that an Indian night was in order and just the ticket for some warming curries. We provided the booja mix (2 kinds), Dahl, home made Roti Paratha and a "Bollywood Glamour" Chai cocktail. Another couple brought Butter chicken, Raita, an Indian version of Twisties, Onion Paratha and Pappadums while another couple brought rice, a large box of sweets and some samosas from Maya Indian Sweets. The sweets were rich and interesting and I don't think I've come across an Indian dessert or sweet
that I haven't liked. The sweet selection deserves a separate post of its own detailing each and every flavour.
Armed with some borrowed saris from kind friends and sister in laws and a lot of safety pins, we wrapped and wrapped and wrapped ourselves up in our saris in what we hoped was an accurate approximation of a sari (we did follow instructions but its hard!). Although this time we didn't have any Indian music, the combination of food, incense scented candles, Indian themed flatware, Indian cushions, bowls and bindis adorning our foreheads was, what we hoped, an authentic salute to India.
And I'll spare you the pics of us in costume!
Dahl - North Indian lentils
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Step 1 - Put lentils and 750ml of water in saucepan, bring to boil. Skim, then add garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 20 mins or until lentils are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking .
Step 2 - Season with salt and lemon juice.
3.Heat oil in small fry pan. Add cumin and mustard seeds and onion and cook over medium heat for five minutes (or until onion is golden). Add ground coriander and chilli and cook for 2 minutes.
4.Add onion mix to lentils and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of water if necessary, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.
5.Stir in lemon juice. Scatter with chopped coriander leaves and serve with mango chutney and raita
NQN's Bollywood Glamour Chai cocktail with Kahlua
This is an original cocktail recipe that I mixed up for the night.
1 cup water
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons chai loose leaf tea (found in Indian grocery stores or you could use tea bags if they are easier to find)