It was Veteran’s Day here on Friday and a holiday. What other reason do I need to host a warm dinner at home on a cold winter day?? Also,Friday nights are perfect for a feast as it comes with promise of weekend and let us forget about Monday melancholy. I invited two Indian families, one of them is a couple from Mumbai and new to USA and visited us for the first time. They were warm and friendly and mingled with us easily. The other family is like our extended family now. They were the one who are always with us, helping us to settle down after we came to USA. Its like, If you don’t find us home on a weekend we certainly are at their place. Their four year old sweet little girl is my daughter’s first and only best friend. Though good food is always high on our list during our visits, we really have a nice time watching TV shows, chatting and playing board games.
This post of mine is not about any recipe but is just to share how It all went, the little disasters and my efforts to pull it off. I decided to keep the menu simple as I didn’t plan it early enough and I being the slowest of the persons in the world, its really important for me to plan ahead. Though I pulled it off successfully and everyone ate happily, a few disasters did happen (not that I am not used to it). Finally, we enjoyed the evening with board games and nice dinner.
I called them a little early for evening tea and served Basboosa(Semolina cake) with tea. I made Simple Mutton Gravy with Almonds (Gosh Badami), Cottage Cheese in Saffron Gravy (Zafrani Shahi Paneer) and Spicy Eggplant Gravy (Bagare Baigan) to go with Vegetable Pilaf (Vegetable Pulav) for dinner. I thought to give a theme to all the recipes I make and it was Kesar Badam (Saffron and Almonds). I tried to add kesar badam in all the recipes that day and it was fun to do so.
- Basboosa was the first item I started with that day. It is middle-eastern dessert made with semolina(sooji) and dry coconut flakes with yogurt/eggs. It is first baked and sugar syrup is poured on it. I played with the recipe a little by substituting almond meal for a half of coconut flakes the recipe called for. It was fine, but the cake seemed a little dry and didn’t absorb the syrup well. I guess its because of the quality of the yogurt used or amount of baking soda used. It was not as soft as it was before. I had to cut it into pieces and again pour the syrup and bake it for few mins to let it absorb the syrup. Anyways, I will try it soon again and post the recipe.
- Cottage Cheese in Rich Saffron Gravy (Zafrani Shahi Paneer) is made with blended paste of boiled onions, spices and almonds and cashews. The paste is cooked again with addition of saffron, milk and cornstarch instead of cream. Nothing went wrong but I had to pass the gravy through sieve to remove the grainy texture caused by blending the spices along with onions and nuts. But I now know how to avoid it. I will post the recipe soon.
- Mutton Curry was easy and just perfect for that evening. I had to slow cook it in a pan for one hour because I had some issues with the pressure cooker. I guess that slow cooking gave it nice flavor. The mutton pieces were succulent and well done and the gravy was flavorful with brown onions and almonds paste used. Will post the recipe soon.
- Spicy Eggplant Gravy(Bagare Baigan) came well too. It was aptly spicy and eggplant was cooked to perfection. Its something similar to Mirchi Ka Salan which I posted earlier. Click here for the recipe.
- Vegetable Pilaf/Pulao is flavored rice and is easy to make. I had very less time to make it so couldn’t add sufficient amount of veggies to it. But the taste was good and it was perfect with all the side dishes. But I decide against posting the recipe now. I will post it the next time I make it.