We do a lot of entertaining in our house – everyone knows in Indian culture hospitality is a huge thing! (click here to see my earlier crash course on Indian hospitality) So recently we had an Indian family stay with us for a few days, and it was up to me do plan the menu. This family has just recently immigrated to North America, and they are eager to try typical “American” foods, however, from my previous experience, I’ve found that it is best not to just rush out to McDonald’s for the very first meal, instead, I like to try and ease my company into American foods a little at a time by providing home cooked meals that blend the flavors of East and West.
I like to make sure these fusion meals have some familiar aspects of Indian food, but still remain true to their Western heritage. So here are a few ideas I’ve come up with to help bridge the gap between East and West…
- Make sure you serve rice if possible (especially if you are hosting South Indians). From my husband’s own mouth: “Sometimes I just don’t feel full unless I’ve had my rice!”
- Try and make something with a sauce or gravy – even if it has no flavors of curry – gravy is a huge theme in many Indian dishes
- Remember to spice it up a little! Most Indian palettes are used to flavorful cooking – so broiled chicken and steamed veggies probably won’t get you rave reviews among Indian circles!
- Meat doesn’t have to be the star – experiment and see what you can do with veggies and starches – in most Indian households, meat is not eaten in huge quantities like it is in the West. My husband’s uncle and aunt moved to America years ago, and invited their new colleagues over for a meal. They served the meal family style, and they were horrified to find that all the meat was finished by the time it reached the third person!
- Always have a dessert – from my experience Indians are like everyone else in the world – they love their sweets and they will be more than willing to try some of your sweets too – chocolate cake, here we come!
Here are a few “Western” meals I’ve had success serving to Indian guests:
- Biscuits and Gravy (with hot sauce on the side)
- Pot Roast with lots of Gravy and Rice, served with hot sauce on the side (if you are entertaining non-vegetarians, that is!)
- Indian Style Pizzas
- Baked Beans & Potato Salad
- Green Bean Casserole & Corn Casserole
- Sweadish Meatballs with extra gravy and Rice (you could make these veg as well)
- Try going south of the border – Enchiladas and other Mexican foods are very similar to Indian – tortillas make great chapattis!
- Did I mention chocolate cake already?
What about you? Do you stick to Indian only cooking with Indian guests or do you try and introduce them to other cuisines? I’d love to get some new ideas on fusion meals, so speak up if you have had success in this area before!