Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dinner party recipes Pt 2: Indian and Thai

Finally I'm getting around to posting the rest of the recipes I used for my dinner party in April. The first two courses were Japanese and Malaysian, and the recipes are here.

Third Course

Recipes for the Indian course came from two books; The Essential Asian Cookbook and Fresh Indian. I've already posted the recipe for the least successful dish, the spinach dhal, and what I did with the leftovers. The other recipes from Fresh Indian were as follows:

Chickpea Curry

1 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp grated root ginger
2 tbsp medium or hot curry powder
1x400 g can of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp grated jaggery or palm sugar
2x400 g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I cooked my own dry ones and guessed at the amount)
low-fat yoghurt to drizzle
small handful chopped coriander leaves, to garnish.

Cook the chickpeas if you're using dried. Drain them.
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 30 seconds and add the curry powder. Stir and cook for 1 minute before adding chopped tomatoes and palm sugar. Bring the mixture to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 12 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and mix well. Simmer for 3 - 4 minutes.

Up to here I did in advance and froze. I reheated it in a pot on the stove on the night of the party.

Season, remove from heat. Drizzle with the yoghurt and sprinkle with the coriander.

Pea and Potato Bhaji

1 tbsp light olive oil
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into fine strips
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried red chillies
400 g fresh or frozen green peas
400 g potatoes, boiled and cut into 1.5 cm dice
2 - 3 tbsp water
grated coconut, to garnish (I omitted this)

I had all of the ingredients ready to go, and cooked this at the last minute.

Heat the oil in a large pan and when it is hot add the mustard seeds. Stir fry for 2 - 3 minutes, until they start to pop. Add the ginger, cumin, chilli, peas, and potatoes. Stir fry over a high heat for 3 - 4 minutes, add the water, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook gently for 2 - 3 minutes and remove from the heat. Season and sprinkle with coconut.

South Indian Pepper Chicken

1 tbsp oil
1 bay leaf
4 cloves
1/2 tsp crushed cardamom seeds
2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp grated garlic
625 g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
150 ml chicken stock or water
1/2 tsp tumeric
350 ml low-fat natural yoghurt

Heat the oil in a large pan and when hot add the bay leaf, cloves, cardamom and peppercorns. Stir fry for 30 seconds, then add the ginger, garlic, and the chicken. Stir fry over a medium heat for 4 - 5 minutes before adding the water or stock and the tumeric. Simmer gently for 10 - 12 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Up to here I did the night before. I reheated it in a low oven in a covered casserole dish for 2 hours the night of the party.

Remove from the heat (or oven in my case) and drizzle over the yoghurt.

The rest of the recipes for this course, except for the Butter Chicken, were from The Essential Asian Cookbook.

Coriander Chutney

90 g fresh coriander, including the roots, chopped
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 small green chillies

Process everything in the food processor until finely chopped. Serve chilled.

This was truly delicious. People asked for the recipe and took away the leftovers!

Mint Raita

Combine 1 cup yoghurt, 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint, and a pinch of cayenne pepper and mix well. Serve chilled.

Lamb Kofta

1 kg lamb mince
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
3 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp oil

1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 green chilli chopped
3 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp tumeric
3 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup yoghurt
1 1/4 cups coconut milk

Mix all the meatball ingredients, except for the oil, until combined. Roll level tablespoonsful into balls.
Fry the meatballs in the oil in two or three batches until browned all over. Rmove from pan and put in a bowl or something.

Heat the oil in the pan. Add the onion, chilli, ginger, garlic, and tumeric. Cook, stirring, over a low heat until the onion is soft.
Add the coriander, cumin, chilli powder, vinegar, meatballs, and water and stir gently. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir in the combined yoghurt and coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes with the pan partially covered.

I did this all the night before. I reheated it in a low oven in a covered casserole dish for 2 hours the night of the party.

Beef Vindaloo

This is how I did it, in a slow cooker. The recipe calls for browning of the meat, frying of onions and other soft ingredients, and long simmering on the stove.

1 kg gravy beef
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground fenugreek (I omitted, didn't have any)
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp oil
3 medium onions, sliced
3 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup beef stock
1/3 cup malt vinegar
1 tsp sugar

Cut the beef into 3 cm cubes. Put it in the slow cooker.
Add the onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, vinegar, stock, and sugar to the slow cooker
Put the rest of the ingredients into the blender, and process until finely ground. Fry in the oil until fragrant, then add to the slow cooker.
Stir everything around and cook on low all day. Check it an hour or so before you want to serve it and if it is too wet, remove the lid and turn it on to high for the last hour to let it reduce.

This next recipe is a mishmash of every butter chicken recipe I've found, adjusted to suit my pantry and purposes. I don't like to use food colouring, and I don't have leftover tandoori chicken lying around!

Butter Chicken

1 kg skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 fresh red chilli, chopped
2 tsp garam masala
1 x 400g can of tomato purée
100 g butter
100 ml cream
300 ml natural low fat yoghurt

Heat a large pan. Fry the chicken pieces and onion gently in the butter until the onion is soft and the chicken has changed colour.
Add the garlic and spices, stir around some more on the heat.
Add the tomato purée, cream and yoghurt, and simmer gently, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is thick.

I did this all the night before. I reheated it in a low oven in a covered casserole dish for 2 hours the night of the party.

And the only other thing in this course was a heap of basmati rice; three cups of it, cooked in batches in the microwave and reheated in the microwave just before it was served.

Microwave long grain rice

This does not cook any faster in the microwave than on the stove, but it cooks prerfectly every time! You need to use a large bowl, because it tends to bubble up quite a lot.

For one cup of rice:
Put one cup of rice, 1 tsp salt, and 2 cups boiling water into a large microwave proof dish which has a lid. Nuke it, uncovered, for 16 minutes on high, stopping it to give it a stir half way. Remove from the microwave and cover. Let it rest for 3 or 4 minutes, then remove the cover and fluff it up with a fork.

For two cups of rice:
Double everything. Cook for 17 minutes, the rest as above. Because the boiling water is cooking the rice, and you have more water this time, you need an extra minute of cooking time to get the water back to boiling point after it's been cooled down by adding it to rice and bowl.


There were four Thai desserts, two came from Appon's Thai Food (Peridot Crystal Balls and Golden Haired Rice).

The third dessert was merely fresh fruit, chopped into bite sized pieces, and served in plastic bags with bamboo skewers to pick it up with. This is how you buy fruit from the street stalls in Bangkok, and it is delicious. I served rock melon, paw paw, and pineapple.

The fourth dessert was that old favourite, sticky coconut rice with mangoes. Again, I read lots of recipes and came up with a version of my own:

Sticky Coconut Rice with Mangoes

1 cup long grain glutinous rice
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 x 400 ml can coconut cream or milk (approximately - it was just what was left from everything else)
1 x 400 g can mangoes (couldn't find fresh ones)

Soak the rice in water for a couple of hours.
Put the drained rice into a muslin bag, and the muslin bag into a steamer over a pot of boiling water. If you have a Thai steamer you don't need to wory about the bag, but rice will just fall through the holes in a European one. Steam until the rice is translucent, about 20 mins - 1/2 hour. It's a lot quicker in a Thai steamer I think, because the rice sits down inside the pot.
Heat the coconut milk or cream with the sugar, and tip the steamed rice into it. Give it a good stir (the rice will have stuck together in a big solid lump), put the lid on the pot, and let it rest and soak up the liquid for 10 minutes or so.
Serve with slices of mango. Fresh is best, but canned will do.

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