/ A Fine Feast

A Fine Feast

Apr 25, 2013

In a cooking rut? Don’t fret! We have fantastic spring recipes from fine dining restaurant The Host to kick off your entertaining season just right!

With spring and summer approaching quickly, I got the chance to sit down with the dynamic brother duo Jay and Sanjeev Sethi, creators of restaurants The Host and 259|Host, to come up with a tasty menu for your warmer weather hosting needs. These Indian dishes can easily be prepared for a formal dinner party inside or a casual dinner with friends outside during the warmer months.

For a starter, try the Bharvan Palak Kebab.

Bharvan Palak Kebab

(Stuffed spinach and cheese patties.)

• ½ bunch fresh spinach, boiled and finely chopped
• ½ cup paneer or homemadecottage cheese
• 2 large boiled potatoes, mashed
• ¼ cup chickpea flour (besan)
• ½ teaspoon garam masala
• 4 tablespoons cornstarch
• ½ cup bread crumbs
• ¼ teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
• 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
• ¼ cup cashew nuts
• 1 tablespoon raisins
• ½ cup dry milk (khoya) or ricotta
• Chili paste to taste
• Salt to taste

1. In a bowl, mix spinach, paneer, mashed potatoes, garam masala, cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, chili paste and salt.

2. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for binding.

3. Knead the mixture so that all ingredients mix uniformly.

4. Divide into 10 portions and shape them into balls.

5. Mix nuts, raisins and dry milk and divide into 10 small portions for stuffing.

6. Stuff each spinach and cheese ball with dry milk stuffing and reshape into a ball. Press between your palms to flatten.

7. Add water to remaining cornstarch to make a thin paste. Dip flattened patty in it and coat the kebab with a mix of chickpea flour and bread crumbs for a crispy crust.

8. Deep-fry in vegetable oil and place on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil.

Serve with spicy mint chutney or ketchup.

Butter Chicken

(Rich velvety chicken curry dish.)

• 2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into cubes
• 1 pound fresh tomatoes, chopped
• ½ cup thick hung yogurt
• ½ cup 35% cream
• ½ cup hot water
• 50 grams butter
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• ½ tablespoon lemon juice
• 2 whole green chilies
• 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
• 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
• 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 tablespoon cumin
• 1 tablespoon garam masala
• 2 teaspoons paprika
• 4 cloves
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 cardamom pods
• 1 cinnamon stick
• ½ teaspoon dry coriander
• Salt to taste

1. In a bowl, mix cubes of chicken, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of ginger, 1 tablespoon of garlic and paprika, and leave aside for one hour. Add the yogurt and leave standing for 2 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

3. In a skillet, heat remaining oil and add cumin, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon until spices crackle.

4. Add remaining ginger and garlic and sauté lightly.

5. Add tomatoes and green chilies. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

6. Let it rest until the sauce is warm.

7. Grind it, and sieve to separate the seeds, until you have a fine purée.

8. To the purée, add tomato paste, dry coriander, honey and ½ cup of hot water, and boil.

9. Meanwhile spread out the marinated chicken cubes onto a baking sheet and bake until they’re 80% cooked.

10. Transfer chicken into the sauce, add cream, and continue cooking until the chicken is fully cooked. Add salt to taste.

11. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle dried fenugreek and garam masala, cover and serve after 10 minutes.

Tandoori Lamb Chops

• 1 8-bone rack of lamb
• 1 onion, thinly sliced
• ½ cup thick hung yogurt
• 3 black cardamoms
• 12 black peppercorns
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
• 3 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
• 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
• 2 tablespoons mustard oil
• Vegetable oil for frying
• Salt to taste
• Red chili flakes to taste

1. Cut rack of lamb into 8 chops and remove extra fat.
2. Heat oil in a pan; add sliced onions and cook until light brown. Spread onions on paper towel and leave to cool until extra oil is absorbed.
3. In a blender, add all spices and ginger garlic. Add just a little bit of water and blend to a paste. Add the brown fried onions and mustard oil and continue blending to a fi ne paste.
4. In a bowl, mix this paste with the yogurt, vinegar, salt and red chili flakes.
5. Rub this marinade onto the meat portion of the chops. Leave aside for 3 hours.
6. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
7. Grill lamb chops until each side is evenly browned.
Serve with a wedge of lemon, mint chutney and nan bread.

Dill Rice Pulao

• 1 ½ cups basmati rice
• ½ bunch fresh dill leaves
• 1 onion, sliced
• 10 cashews
• 3 tablespoons oil
• 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
• 1 cinnamon stick
• ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
• 3 pods green cardamom
• 3 cloves
• 2 bay leaves
• Salt to taste

1. Wash the rice and soak in water for 30 minutes.
2. Wash dill leaves and separate thin stems from thicker stems.
3. In the pan, heat oil and add sliced onion. Fry until light brown.
4. Add cashews and cook until onions are golden brown.
5. Add ginger garlic paste, cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns,
cloves and bay leaves. Add more oil if required. Cook for a couple minutes.
6. Add dill leaves to this mixture and cook for less than a minute stirring well.
7. Transfer this mixture into a pot and add 3 cups of water and salt to taste.
8. Drain excess water from soaked rice and transfer into the pot.
9. Cook for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
10. If the rice is cooked and there’s moisture left, cook in the open pan until all the moisture is absorbed.

Serve with raita.

To accompany the dishes try a Pineapple Raita, a tropical twist on a classic.

Pineapple Raita

• 1 cup pineapple, finely diced
• 2 cups thick yogurt
• ½ teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• 1 teaspoon mint, finely chopped
• ½ teaspoon sugar
• Salt to taste

Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Serve garnished with mint.
And to top it all off, a Mango Lassi.

Mango Lassi

• 1 cup plain yogurt
• ½ cup milk
• 1 cup mango, peeled and chopped or ½ cup mango purée
• 4 teaspoons sugar
• A dash of ground cardamom (optional)
• A dash of saffron (optional)

Put mango, yogurt, milk and sugar into a blender and blend for 2 minutes. Pour into glasses and serve.



Geeta Wahab

Geeta Wahab


Cultivating a life she loves, Geeta (@geets.suites) is chasing all her passions, including her love for home décor. As a brand new home owner, her current journey has launched her further into that world - check out her Instagram @geets.suites for tidbits of her story and other decorating pieces. A...


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