Okay, let’s be frank! The title should be ‘What to serve white people when you are an Indian’!
Because, really, whites are the annoying wimps who sweat and cry if their food has an ounce of spice!
I hope you know that that last statement was totally tongue-in-cheek?! I swear, I love all my friends; whether they can handle spice or not!
The neighborhood we used to stay in earlier was very cosmopolitan, so we were quite comfortable serving Indian cuisine to anyone we invited to our place; even if the person was non-Indian, they loved ‘Indian food’ and were always delighted to have the home-cooked version. We also toned down the spice level, and provided a large bowl of raita (thinned down savoury yoghurt) to take care of any capsaicin troubles!
In the new neighborhood, white-dominated, I realized through discreet inquiries that many of my new friends had never been to an Indian restaurant, and distinctly panted while eating nachos with cheese! I also noted in the numerous get-togethers that we went to, that the menu was more salads, bread, and pasta, and not much of any other international cuisine!
This made me realize that in order for me to make my guests comfortable, I would need to serve at least some familiar fare that would not make their stomachs turn! But, I am also plagued with fear-of-not-making-enough-food-for-one’s-guests-itis. I tend to cook too much food because otherwise I believe that my guests will die of starvation, as a result of which my family ends up having to eat leftovers for a week!
Which makes it difficult for me to cook something like macaroni and cheese or potato salad, because even though that’s food that I can definitely eat at a party, I would have difficulty eating it for days on end. I sincerely apologize to all those who love those food items; it’s my own taste buds that are at fault here! Of course, over the years of staying here, our palates have definitely changed, but still, certain flavors excite more than others!
Because of this, I took to Pinterest to figure out a solution. Wow! I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that there are so many delicious food items that I can serve to my guests without compromising either of our palates!
Now, I have a go-to menu I use when I have a party with people from different cultures. I tried it out for my annual summer party for the neighbors this year, and also for a get-together for The Husband’s office colleagues. In both cases, the guests enjoyed the food, they took home some of the salads, and even requested that I make it again for them, and I did not have any problems polishing off the little that was left!
- This guacamole and this salsa for appetizers. You can tone down one and up the spice level on the other!
- These tandoori paneer samosas (just reduce or omit the chilli powder)
- This Indian-inspired salad made by Show me the Curry. The recipe says couscous, but I used quinoa. Put quinoa in a rice cooker with a little less than double the water, some salt, and a little oil. Let it cook. Unplug as soon as it’s done, take off the lid and fluff with a fork.
- This Mexican pasta salad. Just add more salsa and less mayo!
- Tandoori chicken. Who doesn’t like tandoori chicken?! If you want to branch out, try this yummy sweet-spicy Thai chicken! Keep some honey sauce at the side for those who prefer it sweeter!
- Potato and peas patties for vegetarian/vegan friends. You could use these as is or as patties for burgers! You can keep it spicy and have some Ranch dressing at the side as a tone-downer.
- This Tropical fruit bowl. Delicious fruit with poppy seasoning.
- Pita bread, Naan, and bread rolls
- Dessert from Costco (sue me! I don’t see any reason to bake!)
I now have a whole set of Pinterest boards for food and drink recipes, ready to use anytime we invite people of other cultures! And, we love entertaining! And, I love Pinterest!
I’m so glad I did the research because it broadened our own culinary skills and it made my guests comfortable about what they would get at ‘that nice Indian family’s house’! I still can’t believe it took me so long to realize the power of fusion cuisine!
This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by Kristi, who blogs at Finding Ninee and co-hosted by Ivy Walker and me! The prompt is “I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that…” , and this week’s sentence thinker-upper, Ivy, who blogs at Uncharted.