Small Party With No Chef
Meet my son.. He recently turned 8, and he is super excited about it!
Family is important to us, and we always have our Brisbane family get together on any of our kids birthdays. My mother takes charge of the food, it is always Indian, and its always delicious.
But at the ripe age of 37, I figured it was about time I try my hand at adulting, and see what I could create if I took charge of things. Oh, by the way, I don't really cook... at all.
This is what I achieved - amateur style.
Let's be real, there ain't no way I was going to make snacks from scratch. The thought of Fryums did occur to me, but in the end, I just went for Bikanos' range of snacks and finished it off with my guilty pleasure, imli candy.
All I did was open the bags and pour them in a serving tray, and voila! I was pretty surprised at how much 150g actually translates on the plate. I was able to refill a few times.
Top Left: I opted for Marble Cookies which was a lovely tea dipper and looked great too.
Top Middle: I wanted a spicy kick and and went with the Navratan Mix.
Top Right: This was the Aam Candy (Mango), and it was gone quick with the kids.
Middle: Mini Samosas (Spicier then I thought!) stood out in the middle.
Bottom Left: The classic Imli Candy didn't do it for the kids, but the adults loved the nostalgia, and I ate more then I care to admit.
Bottom Middle: The classic salty Moong Daal had the kids tricked into getting some great protein.
Bottom Right: I went with Patisa which is not quite as flaky as Soan Papdi, making it easier to manage, yet still rich and beautiful on the palette.
For the mains, I did the prep the day before. I decided to shoot for two things, one was to make rajma, and the other was to get a bunch of chicken legs and wings and make tandoori, the easy way.
The ingredients couldn't be easier - I just picked up a jar of the Swad Tandoori Paste and that was it!
I went to the butcher picked up Chicken wings and drumsticks. With the drumsticks, I peeled the skin off. Then I sliced a few deep cuts into the meat which I read allows the sauce to really get into the meat. After that, I simply coated the chicken with the paste liberally. There was actually around 1/4 of the bottle left when I was done, so certainly got my moneys worth there!
Once done, I wrapped it up and put it in the fridge overnight to let it marinate. The next day - it was thrown in the oven, 180 degrees, 30-45 minutes, and it was ready to go! My mother actually got some yoghurt to go with it, and that was a great touch. Now the reason it doesn't have that tandoori colour is the paste was made without artificial colours or flavours, so a good thing!
The tandoori chicken was very flavoursome and the sauce delivered that turmeric flavour you want. The best part being a kids party was that it was not spicy at all, which made it perfect for the kids. I would definitely add some Chilli Powder for adults this if you need that kick.
Rajma & Rice
I won't pretend I did this solo, my Mother did get involved here, but only as an advisor, I swear! With the rajma, we soaked the kidney beans overnight in water, and then the next day was ready to cook.
This isn't a recipe blog, so I won't go into detail, but Onion, Ginger Garlic Paste, Canned Tomatoes, Curry Powder, Garam Masala and ofcourse, Rajma were used and put together in a pressure cooker to create the dish.
Now - I must be honest, I am a rice amateur, and always just went for basmati. But my mother gave me a good lecture on the fact that basmati really was for the wealthy back in the day, and most people made do with a wide array of smaller grain rices', and they have their own flavour and joy.
I decided to go with a Masoori Rice instead of Basmati, and we cooked that up in a rice cooker. Mum "suggested" we should add some Cardamom and Clove to the rice by just doing it when I turned away, and I was happy to take credit for the beautiful flavour that resulted.
With that done, dinner was ready!
As my son loves Chess, we set the table with black and white plates, put him at the centre, and we were ready to eat.
The Chicken was definitely the hit of the show, and it was quite an enjoyable evening! Although it lacked the variety and finesse of my mother spreads, I certainly was proud of the result, and thanks to some clever purchases, it was pretty easy to get a decent Indian meal that was good enough to satisfy Indian bellies, both old and young.
After we finished dinner and started to slow down, we ended the meal with the memories of street paan from India. This is a very common digestive post meals in India, and something that is a source of much nostalgia here for us. A great way to end the night!