Throwing a Diwali party can be quite intimidating. With hoards of people coming over, sometimes the best things are those which can be made ahead and are quick to put together.
We suggests two different menus - an Indian and Western menu that will barely take 20 minutes each to make.
Starter: Barley Salad
Cook time - 10 minutes , Serves- 4
200 grams barley
1 onion, finely chopped
8-10 red cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
A dash of black pepper
8-10 basil leaves to garnish
Handful of crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Salt to taste
1. Take a pan, pour in 3 cups of water along with the barley and salt. Let this simmer and cook for 40-45 mins till the barley is tender. You can precook this and keep aside before preparing this dish.
2. Once the desired result is achieved, drain the barley and keep aside to cool.
3. In the meantime, take a bowl and put in the tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, onion, and feta cheese. Mix well together then add in the barley and mix again.
4. In a separate bowl, pour in the olive oil and vinegar along with pepper and salt according to taste. Give this dressing a good stir.
5. Pour the dressing on top of the barley salad and toss well. Now cover the salad with a plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator.
6. Tastes best when served cold.
Main: Chicken Stroganoff
Cook time - 25 minutes , Serves- 4
4 chicken breasts
1 cup mushrooms (optional)
1 tblsp butter
1 onion, sliced
1 tblsp flour
100 ml white wine (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 water or chicken stock
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp chopped dill
1 tsp chopped parsley
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Lemon juice to finish
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1. Slice the chicken into strips and keep it aside. Slice the leek and mushrooms (if using).
2. In a saucepan heat the butter and add the onions and leek to it. Cook until soft. Turn the heat on high and add the mushrooms if using.
3. Add the chicken immediately. Cook for three to four minutes or until the meat starts changing colour. Turn down the heat.
4. Add the flour to this and stir fry for two minutes and then add the white wine. Add all the seasonings - mustard, paprika, salt and pepper and stir well.
5. Add the sour cream to this mix along with the chicken stock or water. Stir till everything mixes as well. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
6. Once the chicken is cooked through add all the dill. Mix well and turn off the gas. Add the nutmeg and parsley to it.
7. Adjust for seasoning. Squeeze in some lemon and serve with mashed potatoes or buttered rice.
Dessert: Eggless Chocolate and Orange Mousse
Cook time- 15 minutes, Chill time: 2 hours , Serves- 6
200 gms chocolate
200 gms low fat cream
100 gms whipping cream
Zest of one orange
2 tblsp Cointreau (optional) or Orange Juice
1. Chop the chocolate and set it aside.
2. In a saucepan heat the low fat cream and bring it to a boil.
3. Whisk into the chocolate until smooth and shiny. Set aside to cool for half an hour.
4. Once cool. Whip the cream into soft peaks and fold into the chocolate mixture along with the orange zest and Cointreau or Orange Juice
5. Pour into glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving
Starter: Shammi Kebab
Prep time - 20 minutes, Cook time- 10 minutes, Serves- 6
500 grams minced mutton
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
8-10 cloves of Garlic
1 inch piece Ginger
5 green chillies
4 red Chillies
100 grams Chickpea, soaked overnight
5-6 Pepper corns
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 inch piece Cinnamon stick
Ghee as required to deep fry
Salt to taste
1. Wash the meat thoroughly. Then boil it with 3 cups of water and a teaspoonful of salt.
2. Let cook till the water is fully absorbed and meat is tender. Then grind the meat into a smooth paste.
3. Next, combine cumin seeds, cardamoms, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, peppercorns, red chillies and chickpeas. Grind all these together to form a fine paste.
4. Put the meat paste and the spice paste together into a large bowl. Mix both these pastes well together.
5. Next, put in the eggs and stir well again. Now make a smooth dough of this kebab mixture.
6. Finally, put in the chopped green chillies and onion. Once again, knead the dough so that these ingredients blend well together.
7. Using the palm of your hands, shape the dough into round and flattened balls. Keep aside.
8. Heat ghee as required in a kadhai/pan and deep fry these kababs till they turn golden brown in colour.
9. Serve hot along with your favourite chutney.
Main: Chilli Paneer
Cook Time- 10 minutes, Prep Time- 10 minutes, Serves- 6
250 gms paneer, cubed
1 large Onion, cubed
1 large red Bell Pepper, cubed
6-8 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch piece Ginger, chopped
2-3 Green Chilli, cut in diagonal strips
Salt to taste
2 tbsp Tomato ketchup
1 tbsp Chilli Sauce
1 tbsp Green Chilli Sauce
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Vinegar
1. Heat oil in a pan, fry paneer till golden.
2. Take 2 tbsp oil in another pan. Add garlic, ginger and chillies .
3. Saute for a minute or two then add onions.
4. Add bellpeppers, salt and all the sauces together.
5. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add fried paneer and toss.
6. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot. Serve with rice or noodles
Dessert: Short cut Kalakand
Cook time- 20 minutes, Serves- 6
500 grams fresh paneer, crumbled
1 tin (400 ml) condensed milk
4 tblsp milk powder
3-4 cardamom pods crushed
Handful of Pistachio flakes
2 tsp rosewater
Couple of stands of saffron
1. Drain out the water from the paneer completely. In a saucepan add the paneer, condensed milk and milk powder.
2. Cook on medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring continuously. Make sure that the mix does not stick to the bottom. You know it’s ready when the mixture looks grainy and thick.
3. Turn off the gas and add the rosewater, saffron strands and cardamom pods to it.
4. Pour into a greased and lined square dish and set aside to cool. Transfer to a refrigerator and let it set for at least 3 to 4 hours if not overnight.
5. When you’re ready to serve, slice the Kalakand into equal squares and sprinkle pistachio flakes over it.