We will be having friends over for dinner every Saturday (starting with this past Saturday) through June. Binks said it’s great because 1. it forces us to keep our house clean and 2. we eat well. Obviously – refer to above picture. I also can’t wait to share some menus with you all.
When a good friend of mine came up from Oklahoma City to visit me, with her new boyfriend, I knew what I wanted to make them. She and I frequently discussed and ate Indian food while I lived in OKC. And, while you would think otherwise, one of my favorite Indian restaurants is in OKC proper. Now, I didn’t know about the boyfriend so I decided to take my chances. I’m glad I did. And according to him and his plate, he was glad, as well. I was especially pleased as he considered himself a sole meat and potatoes kinda guy.
If you should find yourself wanting to prepare a full Indian meal, I’m going to impart some wisdom your way to help you complete your menu, specifically the condiments. It’s no secret that Indian food can be spicy. More importantly, with Indian food, you’re going to get a variety of flavor. Below, you will find your usual accompaniments to an Indian meal. If you have been to an Indian buffet, you will have seen these for sure.
First, you have your pickle/achar. What this is a preserved item with spices. Popularly, the preserved item is a lemon, mango, or a mixture of both. There are so many options to pickles/achars that it’s a magnificent condiment.
Second, the chutney. Usually, from my experience, it’s mint. And, traditionally, the mint chutney is served with North Indian (as opposed to South Indian) cuisine. This provides a fresh and crisp side/condiment to a meal. Comprised of only fresh ingredients, the chutney offers you a clean flavor to be used on appetizers such as samosas and/or pakoras. I always enjoy using a bit on my rice, as well.
Last, but definitely not least, my favorite – raita. As I said, Indian food is quite flavorful and in some cases, spicy. Whether you use pickle/achar or chutney, you want to offer raita whenever you serve most Indian food. The raita is the cooling factor in a meal and offers relief from spicy dishes without having to resort to water (which doesn’t actually make it better).
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
- 2 serrano chili peppers (use jalapeno for less heat, and also feel free to reduce the amount of pepper)
- 1 medium tomato
- 1/2 large white onion
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 2 cup mint leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp salt
- Add the garlic, ginger, peppers, tomato, and onion in a food processor and puree until smooth.
- Add the cilantro, mint, and lemon juice and puree until smooth.
- Season with salt. Add more salt if required.
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or whole milk yogurt)
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely diced
- 1 tbsp finely minced cilantro leaves
- salt and pepper to taste (Don’t use too much pepper. I’d limit it to about a big pinch.)
- Mix all ingredients together. Serve cold.