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22nd Dinner Club: Indian Summary

As mentioned in the recipes post this was our first repeat theme dinner but it did not even resemble our first Indian dinner.  Well, that’s not 100% true; we had naan at both dinners and the dessert was Kheer but the type of kheer was much different. 
I had responsibility for the cocktails and appetizer.  Finding authentic Indian Cocktails is a bit of a challenge as alcohol has not been a huge element in Indian lifestyle and, in fact, is not consumed by many Indians due to a variety of societal reasons.  Beer is rather common and during British rule cocktails definitely had their place but still these were Western cocktails served in an Eastern setting, not concoctions native to India.  So after a bit of research I settled on an Indian-influenced cocktail, the Diwan-e-Khas.  It turned out I couldn’t find one ingredient, Khus, but the recipe only called for a trace amount so I don’t think it affected the final cocktail too much.   This cocktail was really refreshing, a bit fruity and it packs a big old punch!  It’s deceptive with all the fruit tastes – try it but be careful!
I was not as happy with the mini-naan I made.  First, the recipe was off and I had to bake them way longer than indicated.  And by the time they were golden they were also too dry.  I think where the recipe was off was with the oven temperature.  I liked the idea of these and would try them again but would bake them at 425ºF or maybe even 450ºF.  With the chutney, even though they were on the dry side, they were good. The chutney was a locally produced Indian-style Mango Chutney.  It was very good. 
After enjoying our cocktails M2 put the lamp "popsicles" in the oven to broil.  It seems everyone (but me!) has been to Vij’s and all who have been there rave about the lamb popsicles.  And now I know why!  Lamb is already one of my favorites but top it with the Curry Cream and it is raised to a whole new level.  The best part was that M2 had made so many we each got to take some home.  I ate mine for breakfast the next day!
Along with the lamb we had a fresh cucumber salad made by R.  The cooling yogurt, cilantro and cucumbers were the perfect foil to all of the spices in the other dishes. K’s contribution was Aloo Gobi a yummy cauliflower and potato dish.  At first blush the combination of those two items doesn’t jump out at me but after trying this dish I’m sold!  The ginger, cumin, mustard, cilantro and other spices elevated this dish to a wonderful taste sensation. 
We ended the meal with Kheer.  At our last Indian dinner we also had Kheer but it was made with vermicelli noodles.  Let’s just say no one has chosen to make it again….  This version was made with rice and was fragrant with raisins and almonds. M did make several adjustments to the recipe, however, and they are noted in the recipe.  It was a very yummy ending to another great meal!  

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