Sorry, I know we’ve been a bit quieter than usual on CheapEats today, but that’s because I’ve been getting together details of this full dinner party. Hope it was worth the wait… Have a great weekend, Peter
Bring a few heads together, get everybody to make a dish (starter, main, side or dessert), and you can have the makings of a top quality restaurant meal in your own home.
Last week, I had a few friends over for an Indian supper. I made the chicken, a friend cooked rice in my kitchen, another brought home-made chutneys and relishes and a packet of M&S Garlic and Coriander Naan bread, and another took along dessert. We skipped the starter and had the main dish with a load of sides instead.
Serve the chicken on the table and let people carve it themselves. You’ll have a really delicious gravy, spoon it over your meat and rice. Have the chutneys as sides.
With a few beers and a bottle of wine, this worked out really cheap for everybody involved. I’ve excluded the cost of any herbs, spices, and raisins (for the raita) as we had most of them in our storecupboards, while the coriander came from my garden! My dessert maker didn’t keep his receipts, but he thinks the ingredients – excluding the cardamom and cinnamon – cost around €8.
Two delicious chickens on special offer in Superquinn cost me €4 each, while the rest of the ingredients (including two delicious naans at €2.69 each from M&S) added up to €21.24. Add the desserts and that’s under €30 to feed six people – not bad!
If you had to buy all of the spices fresh, it might add maybe €10-€15 to the cost, depending on where you get them. But these spices are a very worthwhile investment – you’ll have them for many future meals. That’d make it a total of €40-45, split six ways.
Tomato and Coriander Chutney
- 5-6 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- A bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
- 2 large green chillies or 3-5 birdseye chillies, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- To skin the tomatoes, plunge them into boiling hot water for a minute. You’ll see the skin begin to break. Remove from the water and peel them.
- Now chop everything up, mix together the tomatoes, coriander, and chillies. Add the salt just before serving, mix again.
Carrot and Sultana Raita
This sweet and sour relish really compliments the other flavours in this meal. Be sure to soak the sultanas first: cover them with boiling water and leave for three hours. It can be made in advance and brought to the party.
- About 350ml natural yogurt
- 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
- 4 tablespoons (soaked) sultanas
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds (ideally ground up after roasting, but not essential)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Fresh black pepper
- Beat or whisk the yogurt with a fork until creamy
- To roast the cumin seeds, simply dry fry in a pan over a medium heat. Roast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the seeds have turned darker and you can smell their roasted aroma. Grind in a spice grinder if possible.
- Add the (ground or whole) roasted cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and sugar. Mix well.
- Add the carrots and the sultanas, and mix again.
Curried Whole Chicken
- 2 whole skinned chickens
- 8 tablespoons lemon juice
- 10cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 fresh hot green chillies
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon pure chilli powder
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Ideally, ask your butcher to skin the chicken for you. Otherwise, start at the breast and work your work to the legs. Don’t worry if some parts – such as the joint of the legs, and the wings – are hard to skin. It’s fine to leave some on.
- Mix together the lemon juice, ginger, garlic, fresh chillies, salt, olive oil, cumin, and coriander in a blender.
- Make two deep slashes in each of the breasts, legs, and thighs. Rub the paste all over the chicken, inside and out, and make sure to get some into the slits. Keep a little bit of the marinade aside and serve it with your rice.
- Leave to marinade for at least half an hour – I marinated it for 3.
- Sprinkle the chicken with the chilli powder and black pepper.
- Cover completely in foil and cook in a preheated hot oven for an hour. Then remove the foil, baste with the juices, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Baste the chicken two or three times during this period.
Basmati Rice with Cardamom and Cinnamon
Another friend made this rice in my kitchen while the chicken was cooking in the oven. It’s left relatively simple, because it’s nice and juicy if you pour over some of the leftover chicken marinade and some of the gravy.
- 3 cups of basmati rice
- Olive oil
- 4 1/2 cups of hot chicken stock
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 8 cardamom pods
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 onion, chopped
- Heat the oil in a pot, then add the cinnamon sticks, bruised cardamom pods, and bay leaves. Stir for a few seconds then add the onion, stirring for 5 minutes or until they have turned brown.
- Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes, until the grains become translucent.
- Add the hot chicken stock and cover tightly, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Dessert: Coconut balls
- 1 cup mixed dried fruits (raisins, apricots, figs etc)
- 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
- 1/2 cup mixed nuts (almonds, pistachio, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.)
- 1 tablespoons warm water
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
- Grind the nuts in a food processor
- Add the fruit and slowly grind to a paste. This should be quite stiff, but you may need to add a little warm water to soften it slightly.
- Roll the paste into balls and roll these in the dessicated coconut.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.