Breaking Bread

Over the last week, we have had the pleasure of hosting a dinner party and attending a few.  We had a ball breaking bread with friends new and old and loved ones.  The laughter and chatter just makes the meal taste better.  Dinner parties have been apart of my life since childhood.  Growing up, my parents and I would go to a dinner party almost every weekend and host at least a half dozen every year.  The parties gave parents a chance to connect with the Indian community in the Bay Area and the kids a chance to see friends and get into some mischief or the other.  These parties taught me the fundamentals of entertaining.  Over the years, under the auspices of Martha Stewart and Ina Garten, I have had the opportunity to experiment in decor and cuisine.  Each party becomes a theatrical event – the lighting, flowers, music, and most importantly the food.

On Saturday, I hosted a Bon Voyage party for my parents who are leaving for India tomorrow.  The menu consisted of two different food combinations: shredded daikon (mooli) parathas with a plain raita, and brown rice with egg curry.  As a light appetizer, I offered fresh spring rolls and for dessert, apple muffins and cranberry bread with lemon curd.  The best compliment I received was from my father, who said he had conserved his caloric intake all day to indulge in the evening’s dinner.  Now any hostess would love to hear that!

I’m including recipes for the egg curry, mooli paratha, and the spring rolls below.  Enjoy!

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Egg Curry

(Source:  http://indianfood.about.com/od/chickendishes/r/eggcurry.htm)

Ingredients:

  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 5 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • 2 medium sized onion cut into quarters
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 tsps garlic paste
  • 2 tsps ginger paste
  • 2 tsps coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh coriander leaves to garnish
  • 2 potatoes cut into 1″ cubes (optional)

Preparation:

  • Heat 2 tbsps of the cooking oil in a deep pan and when hot, add the onions. Fry till slightly golden. Turn off the fire. Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions from the pan and put them in a food processor. Grind the onions, tomatoes, green chillies into a smooth paste. Try not to add water while grinding, if possible.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and add the paste you just made to it when it is hot. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the ginger and garlic pastes, all the dry spices, mix and fry till the oil begins to separate from the masala (onion-tomato-spice mix).
  • Now add 2 cups of warm water to this masala and bring to a boil on a medium flame.
  • If adding potatoes to the curry, add them now and cook till half done.
  • Half slit the boiled eggs vertically and add them gently to the gravy. Simmer the flame and cook for 10 minutes or till the gravy is thickened/ reduced to about 3/4 of the original quantity (when you added the water). If you have added potatoes they should ideally be cooked by now.
  • Turn off the fire and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice and a vegetable side dish.

Mooli Parathas

(Source:  http://www.indianfoodforever.com/punjabi/mooli-parantha.html)

For stuffing:
3 Mooli (Radish)
Salt To Taste
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Corainder powder
2 Green chillies, chopped finely
2 tbsp Corainder leaves
For dough:
2 cups Wheat flour
Salt To taste
Water As needed
Oil for frying muli paranthas
Preparation:
  • Sieve the wheat flour and salt. Add water and knead to stiff dough. Cover and keep aside.
  • Peel and grate the radish. Squeeze and drain all the water.
  • Heat the pan and fry the radish to light brown. Add salt, red chilli powder, green chillies, corainder leaves and mix well. Allow it to cool.
  • Take some dough and roll into small puri, put 2tsp of stuffing and cover all the sides. Roll again into a thick, round parantha.
  • Heat a tava and fry the mooli ka paratha both sides to crispy and brown. Put some oil over the paratha.
  • Serve the mooli paratha hot with raita or curry.

Fresh Spring Rolls

(Source:  http://vegetarian.about.com/od/maindishentreerecipes/r/ThaiSpringRolls.htm)

  • Spring roll wrappers
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/3 head of green cabbage, chopped
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup thin noodles, pre-cooked (use rice, Chinese or bean thread noodles)
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs (use cilantro, basil or mint, your choice)
  • 1/4 cup carrots, grated or julienned
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated (optional)

Preparation:

Toss together all ingredients together except wrappers in large bowl. Submerge spring roll wrappers in hot water until pliable, about 15 seconds. Place about 2 tablespoons of mix on wrapper andwrap your spring rolls. Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!
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