7 Indian Menu Ideas for Vegetarians
Cooking individual Indian dishes is all fine, but which dishes should you serve together? Read on for 7 appetizing meal ideas.
What you will need
Observe the color of your dishes and seek variety. Have something yellow (like toor dal or a turmeric-spiked curry), green (like Kashmiri saag or bhindi do pyaza), red (like tomato chutney or a tomato-based curry) and white (like rice, yogurt) on the plate. If a single color dominates the menu, that’s a red flag.
Go for a range of flavors and texture. Not everything Indian needs to be doused in garam masala. If your menu has spicy baby potato in onion fenugreek masala on it, keep a simple spinach and moong dal sauté on the side. If your menu has mushy potatoes in mustard sauce on it, keep a crunchy masaledar okra strips on the side.
Do not serve more than two ultra-spicy gravies in the same meal, at least not without balancing them with something cooling like a raita or buttermilk.
If in doubt about what sort of raita to serve, stick with this safe version: plain yogurt whisked with roasted cumin powder and salt.
Avoid the overuse of an ingredient. No moong dal with moong salad, spinach raita with spinach parathas, or rice kheer when your main course is fried rice.
If your menu has hard-to-digest dishes like rajma masala or chana dal, make sure you have other dishes with ingredients that aid digestion, like carom seeds, asafoetida, yogurt, mint.
A fresh salad of sliced cucumber, tomatoes, onions and lemon wedges sprinkled with chaat masala makes a fine addition to any Indian meal.
Do not serve heavy gravies with stuffed parathas. A simple stir fry, raita/plain yogurt, chutney and pickle will do.
Be aware of your guests’ spice tolerance – what is moderately hot for you may be fiery for another.
Remember this thumb rule for the type of dishes to put into a basic Indian vegetarian full meal: include 1 vegetable dish with gravy, 1 dry vegetable dish, 1 dal, 1 raita, 1 chutney, salad, chapatis/paratha/rice.