Growing up in India I spent a lot of time watching my mother play host to some amazing dinner parties. For me she is, and always will be, the hostess with the mostess. It’s probably a family thing seeing as my grandmother was equally renowned for her glamorous dinner parties with a guest list to die for. Growing up I was always making mental notes on how it was all orchestrated and what were the highlights as the evening unfolded.
So what makes a really good Indian dinner party?
The food is something that everyone always looks forward to though each aspect of the evening including drinks, decor and the menu itself has its own charm and lends a statement to the party. Here are my top tips that will charm your guests and win plaudits all round:
- Confirm your guest list so you know how many people you’re catering for, including dietary requirements as well. Also I always make a little more than required; there nothing worse than falling short on the food or an extra mouth to feed.
- Have a good selection of snack and party food with drinks; my recipe using the Patak’s Korma paste for Paneer and spinach patties are the perfect quick snack with drinks. They’re little moreish bites served with some fresh chutney that will entice your guests for the main meal.
- Indian meals are always a balance, so a couple of starters, a few one pot curries, some fresh Indian bread, raita (yoghurt) and a pulao would make for a good selection. My recipe for kofta pulao is ideal for a dinner party, lending that wow factor and complimenting Indian curries.
- Make sure there is a good selection of vegetarian and non vegetarian options to offer a mix of dishes. Some spicy pickles, papad’s and sweet chutneys all add texture and dimension to the overall meal.
- Lighting candles and incense sticks are a big part of our culture and lends to the atmosphere. I add some decoration or drapes for the table setting, which I often buy at Asian stores to save on cost.
- Nothing completes a good Indian meal like a pudding or barfi/sweets. I tend to have one main pudding that guests can tuck into and maybe some Indian spiced barfi or fudge along with coffees later. I make barfi in large quantities; it’s also something that I can give at the end of the evening for them to take home.
Have you any dinner party tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments box below.