Tuesday, January 1, 2013

IHCC: Appetizers!

Neither Ed nor I are party people, and on New Year's Eve we're big stay-at-homes. I usually make and buy a selection of little goodies we can eat throughout the evening while we watch a film or play a game. This year, with appetizers as the IHCC theme, I decided to do a selection of Jaffrey's finger foods for our evening fare.

Here's most of the spread. Clockwise from the upper left, there's Baba Ghanoush (Creamed Eggplant with Tahini) (World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking, p334), pita quarters, Easy Kebabs (Tala Gosht) (Spice Kitchen, p34), Shrimp with Garlic and Chilies (Lehsun Vali Jhinga) (Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, p17), Ajwain-Flavored Chicken (Murgh Ke Mazedar Tukray) (Spice Kitchen, p32), and Sour Potatoes (Khatte Aloo) (100 Essential Curries, p11). 

The chicken, shrimp, and lamb are dishes I've made before, served as a main course, rather than as nibbly bits. I've not used this particular recipe for baba ghanoush before (or at least I didn't make a note of it), but what was most interesting about it is that I used frozen eggplant! A couple of months ago, I had an eggplant that wasn't going to get used. I roasted it, peeled away the charred skin, mashed it up, and froze it. And it worked great! If you like baba ghanoush (or other dishes with mashed roasted eggplant), this is something to do with your bounty. (I read somewhere that you can do this with or without the flavorings, but that it works best to freeze just the eggplant.)

The lamb was a bit that didn't get used for lamb biryani. I had about one quarter of the meat called for in the recipe and used about half the spices. The meat can be marinating for several hours, and the finishing is quite easy, taking very little attention, so it's a good party food. 

The chicken is one kip filet (skinless, boneless chicken breast half); this was about one third of the meat called for in the recipe. Again I used about half the spices. I left this marinating quite a while also. The finishing takes a little more attention than the lamb, but nothing is complicated, so it's also a good party food.

I made the shrimp dish with frozen cooked shrimp, rather than raw. To keep the amount parallel with the lamb and chicken, I should have cooked only half the shrimp I had, but opted to finish off the package. The rest will appear in another dish in the next days. This dish takes a little more last-minute attention, but could still work as proper party food.

The Sour Potatoes were delicious and a snap to make. You start with cold boiled potatoes, peel and cube them, then toss with salt, lemon juice, ground roasted cumin, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne, and chopped coriander. If you're in the habit of keeping boiled potatoes in the fridge (aren't we all?!), this could be a quick and healthy snack at any time.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs. It's hard to believe we're already half-way through six months of cooking with Madhur Jaffrey. It's been fun trying new recipes, revisiting old favorites, and finally making some of the treats that have been on my make-me-soon list for a very long time.


  1. I love this recipe for Sour Potatoes. Plan to try them this evening.

  2. Hi Kaye,
    Having small amounts of party food for a dinner meal is a great idea! I for one, would not mind having appetizers for dinner! Everything looks good, and I especially am eyeing the prawns!
    I've made sour potatoes too, wanted to make chicken bits, but keep going back to the potatoes! Should have made both! It was good, I enjoyed it.
    Happy New Year and best wishes for 2013!

  3. Happy New Year, Kaye. What a wonderful spread of dishes you made for your evening. I never would have thought of freezing eggplant - that's a great idea.