An Indian dinner party is a great choice for frugal entertaining. Lots of vegetables, pulses and rice keep the costs down.
I mentioned previously that I was having the girls round at the weekend. I don’t do dinner parties much as it always seems to cost so much even when I try really hard to be thrifty. When you have guests you feel you need to give them a treat with three courses, plus there is wine to buy of course.
Well, this time I think I have cracked it. I made three Indian inspired dishes, one of my own recipes, smoky chicken and chickpeas (not exactly Indian since the main spice is smoked paprika, but it went well with the other dishes); a tarka dhal recipe that I found on the Internet (on Jamie Oliver’s site but not one of his recipes) and one from the book I found in the charity shop the other day, Save with Jamie, for sag aloo. I can’t find that anywhere on the web so here it is.
2 ripe tomatoes
half a bunch fresh coriander
2 heaped tbsp rogan josh curry paste
1.2kg potatoes, cut into 3cm chunks
4 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chilli
2 tsp cumin seeds
300g frozen spinach
Peel the onion and blitz with the tomatoes, coriander stalks and curry paste in a food processor until combined, then spoon into a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat with a lug of oil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, then add the potatoes with some salt and pepper. Pour in enough water to come half way up the potatoes, bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and turn the heat up a bit for another 15-20 minutes until the potatoes start to get crispy and golden.
Meanwhile make a flavoured oil called a temper. Peel the garlic and finely slice with the chilli, place in a small pan and fry with the cumin seeds and a good lug of oil and until golden, then take off the heat. When the potatoes are reading stir the spinach into the pan and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Serve the sag aloo drizzled with the temper with the coriander leaves scattered on top.
Because I made this the evening before, I stirred the temper in rather than serving it on top. It was really nice!
The starter was poppadums from Aldi with mango chutney and a simple raita made from yogurt mixed with chopped mint and grated cucumber.
Because I was at work all day I didn’t have time to make a pudding, so the non frugal part of the meal was a lemon tart from Sainsbury’s with some ice cream. I also bought two bottles of wine but I didn’t really need to since everybody brought a bottle as well.
My frugal Indian dinner party was a success and a very good way to feed a crowd cheaply. I think the quantity I made would have fed 10 easily.