Menu Planning

Daily Menus

These guides are intended to illustrate the spread of dishes at a typical family meal (Northern India). You can use them to help you select a choice of dishes which will work together well as a meal. More elaborate feasts can be served on special occasions, see party menu.


A Vegetarian, everyday meal

1Starters are not eaten every day but popadoms or Salad can be served. Also see Salad Dressings.
2One main dish with gravy (not dry). This could be either a dal or a vegetable curry of choice.
3One or two bhajies/sabji, dry vegetable dish (without gravy). Choose from a large variety of seasonal vegetables.
4One yoghurt dish, either natural yoghurt or a Raita.
6Chapatties or other Indian breads such as Tandoori Roti, Nan or Plain Paratha. Paratha is usually eaten at dinner, not lunch.
7Boiled rice at lunch and a Plain Pulao/Pilaf Rice/ or Peas Pulao/Pilaf Rice or any other type of Pulao/Pilaf rice in the evenings.
8 A Pickle or two.
9Desserts are not usually eaten every day. Fresh fruit is a good option for lunch. You could serve Srikhand or Vermicilli Kheer or any other milk pudding.


A Non-Vegetarian, everyday meal

Non-vegetarians in India do not generally eat meat every day, as is they do in many Western countries. On average, they will perhaps eat meat or fish two or three times a week.

1Starters are not eaten every day but popadoms or a Salad can be served.
2One main dish with gravy (not dry). This could be a Lamb, Chicken or a Fish curry.
3One dry vegetable dish (without gravy). Select any seasonable vegetable and look for recipes in Search section. If you do not want to make a meat curry and serve a dal or bean curry as the main gravy dish, meat dish could be Meat Kabab or Tandoori chicken or Fish kebabs or similar.
4One yoghurt dish, either natural yoghurt or a Raita.
5Salad, if not served as a starter.
6Chapatties or Tandoori Roti or Nan or Plain Paratha.
7Boiled Rice (mainly eaten at lunch time).
8A selection of Pickles. (Indians are great pickle eaters).
9Desserts are not usually eaten every day. Fresh fruit is a good option.


Party Menus

When planning a meal for a party, first of all you have to decide whether it is a buffet or a sit down meal. For a buffet meal, it is a good idea to have foods that do not require use of a knife. Although things like chicken drumsticks or lamb chops can be eaten with fingers, generally speaking, there should be no bones in buffet food. When making curries, make the gravy rather thick, so that it can be eaten with a fork and there is less chance of an accident on your carpet! Always cater for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian people as most Indian gatherings will have both. Remember that if you have multi-faith guests, you have to cater for all of them. Hindus will generally not eat beef. Muslim will not eat pork, so it is always safer to serve lamb/ mutton, chicken or fish. Whether you cook Halal meat or not, is up to you. Generally, there are enough vegetarian dishes for those who are strict about this.


Suggested Party Menu 1


For starters:
Meat Kebabs with Green Mango Chutney or Garlic and Mint Chutney
Dhokla moong dal squares with green mango chutney
or
Vegetable Pakoraswith green mango chutney
For main Course:
Chicken Curry or Lamb Curry
Rajma Kidney Bean Curry
Cauliflower and Potatoesor other seasonal vegetables
Cucumber and Onion Raita
Boiled Rice
Nan
For dessert:
Fresh fruit salad with cream or Kulfi or Phirni Ground Rice Pudding


Suggested Party Menu 2


Starters:
Tandoori Chicken or Tandoori Fish served with shredded lettuce, onion slices and green chutney
Tandoori Paneer (Indian cheese) with shredded lettuce, onion slices and Green Chutney
For main Course:
Lamb Roghan Josh
Kadhi (gram flour dumplings in yoghurt sauce)
Stuffed Aubergines
Raita or Natural yoghurt
Boiled Rice
Chapatties
Papadoms, grilled, not fried.
For Dessert:
Vermicelli Senvian Kheer
or fresh fruits like Mangoes or Lychees


Suggested Party Menu 3

Prawns in Hot BBQ Sauce
Lamb Pasanda
Nargisi vegetable Koftas
Spicy Aubergines
Whole Red Lentil (Dal)
Cabbage and Red Pepper Bhaji
Plain Pulao Rice
Chapatties
Carrot Halwa
and seasonal fresh fruits.


A few Ideas for Indian cocktail snacks. (V) is for Vegetarian starters

Bonda(V)
Potato Chops(V)
Chicken Drumsticks Tandoori, choose small ones
Chicken Tikka
Vegetable Samosa (V)
Meat Samosa
Colocasia (Arvi) Chips (V)
Papri Wheat Crackers in Yoghurt and Tamarind Sauce(V)
Mirchi Vada (Stuffed Chilli Peppers(V)
Dhokla (V)
Mackerel Kebabs
Spicy Fried Fish
Tandoori Prawns
Green Banana Kebabs (V)
Khasta Kachauries (Spicy Dal Pasties) (V)
Onion Pakoras (V)
Paneer Pakoras (V)
Paneer & Potato Cutlets (V)
Paneer Tikka Masala (V)
Pizza Slices or Small Pizzas (V)
Quesadilla (Chapatti Pizza) Slices
Sausage Rolls with Indian Filling
Shami Kebabs
Parsee Meat Kebabs
Small Popodoms (V)
Tandoori Fish Tikka
Tandoori Paneer Squares on Cocktail Sticks (V)
Tiny (1"diameter) Nans, with Spicy Dips