Monday, February 2, 2009

She can't even make a good Aloo Ghobi!

It's that time of year again. The time when Hilary breaks out the cookbooks, trolls the Internet, checks her back copies of Gourmet magazine and decides on the theme for the our upcoming Oscar party!

This will be our 11Th year hosting an Oscar party in Halifax. Lately our food has been theme based. Last year was the "International Year of the Potato". We've had "Things you can poke with a stick", "It's a Wrap" and "International year "(which had foods from countries that were featured in the movies that year). Most years have feature some sort of Meat on a Stick (Satays, kebabs, meatcycles) and twiced baked potatoes.

This years theme, as you can see, is Indian food. Our friends are not very adventurous when it comes to spicy food, so Hilary will be toning things down accordingly.

As part of the preparation we of course have to sample! Always my favorite part (except the time we made the monster wedding cake.... I did not want to sample icing or Irish Chocolate Potato cake ever again!). So yesterday we called in a babysitter and headed out to a local market/gourmet shop to peruse their Indian fare. Halifax is not exactly the mecca of international cuisine. We have 2 Indian food stores, otherwise we are left with whatever can be found in our local supermarkets.

We recently stumbled upon some pre-made curries. The fact that they are pre-made, in a box, on a shelf and then billed as "microwavable" or boil-in-the-bag was not a big selling point to either of us, but with limited choices we decided to give them a go. Turns out that they are fabulous! The all have Paneer in them, an Indian cheese. Tonight we sampled three:

We both like Paneer Darbari the best, "Soft cubes of cottage cheese simmered in a rich tomato sauce" (the middle one). The other 2 were nice, but we didn't like the texture of the peas. The third one is very similar to butter chicken, which is already on the menu for Oscar night. So Hilary is now researching Paneer Darbari recipes and even plans to make her own Paneer!

So far the full menu is looking like this:

Appetizers

  • Samosas
  • Onion Bhaji
  • Poppadoms

Sides

  • Rice
  • Raita (cucumber and mandarin)
  • Naan

Curries

  • Butter Chicken
  • Chana Masala
  • Cauliflower and Pea
  • Paneer Makhani
  • Tikka Kebobs
  • Saag Aloo
  • Paneer Darbari

Dessert

  • Rice pudding
  • Fruit

I'll try to post recipes and pictures as we go. And who can tell me where the title for this post comes from?
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