Mamta's Kitchen - A Family Cookbook





Menu Planning

These guides are intended 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 the party menus.

Daily Menus

These menus illustrate the spread of dishes at a typical family meal (Northern India).

An Everyday Vegetarian Meal

  • Starters are not eaten every day but popadoms or a Salad can be served. Also see Salad Dressings.
  • One main dish with gravy (not dry). This could be either a dal or a vegetable curry of choice.
  • One or two bhajies/sabji, dry vegetable dishes (without gravy). Choose from a large variety of seasonal vegetables.
  • One yoghurt dish, either plain natural yoghurt or a Raita.
  • Chapatties or other Indian breads such as Tandoori Roti, Naan or Plain Paratha. Paratha is usually eaten at dinner, not lunch.
  • Boiled Rice at lunch and a Plain Pilaf Rice/ or Peas Pilaf Rice or any other type of Pilaf rice in the evenings.
  • A Pickle or two.
  • Desserts 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.

An Everyday Non-Vegetarian 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.

  • Starters are not eaten every day but popadoms or a Salad can be served. Also see Salad Dressings.
  • One main dish with gravy (not dry). This could be a Lamb, Chicken or Fish curry.
  • One 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, a meat dish could be Meat Kabab or Tandoori Chicken or Fish Kebabs or similar.
  • One yoghurt dish, either plain natural yoghurt or a Raita.
  • A Salad, if not served as a starter.
  • Chapatties, Tandoori Roti, Naan or Plain Paratha.
  • Boiled Rice (mainly eaten at lunch time).
  • A selection of Pickles. Indians are great pickle eaters.
  • Desserts 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 or 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.

Party Menu 1

For starters
For main course
For dessert

Party Menu 2

For starters
For main course
For dessert

Party Menu 3

Cocktail Snacks

Listed here are a few ideas for Indian cocktail snacks; vergetarian options are marked with (V).