Indian food has long been a favourite of mine. Winter in particular has me craving the rich, spicy and in your face flavourful curries and soft and chewy naan bread. I carefully chose the recipes in this week's Sunday Supper because of how easy to prepare they are, how carefully the recipe directions are written and, of course, because of how insanely delicious they are.
We're going to start this week's dinner with some crispy fried onion pakoras and a spicy (and pretty!) rosewater margarita. When we sit at the table we'll serve our favourite butter chicken, a pot of lightly spiced rice and fresh naan bread to mop up all the curry with.
Dessert is one of my favourites: galub juman. Aka: little balls of sweet deliciousness. I absolutely love Indian desserts because of how sweet they are. You only need a little bit to satisfy your sweet tooth. They're perfect if you have a belly full of curry but still want a nibble of something sweet.
There many be a few ingredients you might not recognize. Most of the ingredients you will find in your regular grocery store but there may be a few you will need to source at an Indian market or gourmet food store.
Onion Pakoras with Tamarind Chutney :: The Sugar Hit :: Onion pakoras are like onion rings with an Indian twist: they're crispy, deep-fried, oniony amazingness with a hint of spice. If you have everything ready to go before your peeps arrive they will be easy to quickly fry before you serve them.
See the tips below to find out how to prep these in advance.
Spicy and Fresh Rosewater Margarita :: by JJ Begonia :: I have a confusion to make … this whole post was built around this cocktail. I'm a sucker for spicy margaritas and then adding a hint of rosewater just did me in. The cool freshness of this cocktail will cut through the delicious oiliness of the pakoras while still having enough flavour to hold its own.
Note: I think this would go equally well with a Mexican themed dinner party. Just saying'.
Butter Chicken Suraj Style :: by Box of Spice :: We all know that butter chicken is just about the best thing in this world, but did you know how easy it is to make? Suraj is Rakhee's sister's cook (if you haven't been to India before it is very common for people to have help around the house) and he makes the best butter chicken on the planet. This is his recipe. Thank you, Suraj!
Btw the idea of having hired help around the house has made me think I should move to India. Wouldn't it be amazing to have someone wash your dishes, make your bed, fold your clothes? Now I'm dreaming …
Butter Naan :: by Cook with Manali :: No Indian meal would be complete without naan. I'll assume you're familiar with the soft chewy flatbread that is absolutely out of this world.
I was always really intimidated by making naan but Manali gives such great instructions with pictures to go along with each step that it has taken the fear factor out of it for me.
Jeera Rice (aka Cumin Rice) :: by Veg Recipes of India :: Another must for an Indian inspired dinner menu: rice. This recipe lightly flavours the rice with cumin so it will go well with the butter chicken and not overpower it. Simple and delicious.
Gulab Jamun :: by Cooking with Manali :: This is my all-time favourite Indian dessert. When I showed my handsome man this picture his eyes went wide and he nearly screamed, “we have to make those!” and then sheepishly, “and by me I mean you, please.”
Like with naan I've always been intimidated by gulab jamun. Manali does a great job of explaining step by step the process and points out exactly what to look for along the way. I really don't know why I was so intimidated by these for so long; with Manali's help these are really easy to make.
Tips for making this week's Sunday Supper:
More than anything else I believe a successful dinner party relies on one thing: you. DON'T PANIC, you're awesome already so all you have to do is make sure that you're relaxed, having fun and there to interact with your guests. After all, they've came to see you.
So how do you do you have time to visit and chat when you're a big dinner? Two words: Be Organized.
- Finalize your guest list.
- Make your shopping list. Make sure to double or triple the recipe amounts based on how many guests you are expecting.
- Go shopping.
- Follow the timetable I've made for you.
- Have fun! That is why you're doing this after all, right?
Get it done on time:
The timetable is based on your guests arriving at 7pm and you sitting down to start dinner at 8pm. If you like to eat earlier or later just adjust the time to fit your schedule.
Many of the steps will not take you the entire time I’ve set out for you here. Remember that you will need to do dishes as you go and find a few minutes to feed yourself. Maybe a little butter chicken for lunch, too?
Click here for a printable version of this week's timeline.
- add a slice or two of jalapeño pepper to your bottle of tequila.
- make the chutney for the pakoras and keep it, covered, in your fridge.
- make the gulab jamun. Store them in the soaking syrup in a covered bowl on your counter. Make sure they are in a single layer and not piled on top of each other.
- take the jalapeño out of your bottle of tequila.
- make the butter chicken then cool it and store it, covered, in your fridge. I've found that curries are like chilli in that they get better with time. this way all you'll have to do is reheat it on low. simple and easy.
- tidy and organize your house, set the table, pull out the platters and serving ware you plan on using.
- slice the onions for the pakoras and put them in a bowl with all the other pakora ingredients EXCEPT the water. set the bowl aside.
- rinse the rice, let it soak, then drain it and set it aside. Place the water and spices into the pot you will cook the rice in and also set it aside.
- brown the spices for the rice, add the chili and then set it to the side.
- start the butter naan and set it aside to rise.
- add the all the margarita ingredients EXCEPT the ice to a large mason jar. I find a 1-litre (4-cup) mason jar will make 2 cocktails – remember you need room for ice and to shake. fill a couple mason jars so that it is super easy for you to add ice and shake once your guests come in. *there are 4 ounces of booze in this cocktail so there is no shame in splitting one between two people and serving it in a small glass.
- finish making and frying the naan.
- chillax. pour yourself a glass of wine. or try out one of your spicy rosewater tequila cocktails.
- add the water to the pakora ingredients. add the oil to the pan you will fry them in, but leave it off the heat.
- your guests arrive. pour them a cocktail.
- ask one of your guests to make the second round of cocktails.
- take the butter chicken out of the oven and put it on very low on the stove.
- fry the pakoras and serve them with the tamarind chutney.
- put the rice on to cook for 15 minutes.
- wrap the naan in a tea towel and warm it in the oven at your oven's lowest setting.
- toss the rice with the browned spices and chili.
- Bring the butter chicken, rice and naan to the table and feast!
- this is an easy one … just bring it to the table.
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