A couple of months ago I got a call asking if I wanted to be part of the reader taste panel for an upcoming issue. Er …. yes, yes, yes I replied! It was only when they said I had just a few days to test several recipes as part of an Indian feast for 10 people that made me have second thoughts.
Never one to turn down a challenge though I accepted and was sent a pack with all my recipes and ingredients. Heres what was involved and my initial thoughts:
- Tamarind chicken curry – sounded lovely and recipe looked straightforward.
- Pumpkin biryani – would take time but sounded great.
- Spicy paneer skewers – where can I buy paneer in Staffordshire?
- Stir-fried broccoli with coconut – getting hubby to eat broccoli would be a challenge.
- Roasted chilli-garlic sauce – might help hubby eat the broccoli?
- Cardamom meringue nests – never done meringue so looking forward to it.
So after heading out to get all the ingredients (Waitrose is the only place in my area where I can get paneer by the way!) we made a start on the recipes. We cooked the dishes over 2 weekday nights, but I could definitely see how easy it would be to prepare all dishes for a dinner party at the weekend.
I thoroughly enjoyed cooking these recipes and the majority of the dishes will be cooked again. I loved the flavour of the curry, but then I am a fan of Indian sweet and sour dishes like pathias, and was amazed at the depth of flavour from just a few spices. The verdict from the other tasters was good too – using chicken thighs and cooking them in this way, leaves the meat full of flavour and moisture. The Pumpkin Biryani, would definitely wow guests with it’s presentation, but for me it was a little too sweet in flavour. I was also a little put off by the texture of the pumpkin once it had been cooked. If I cooked it again I would add a touch of cumin and chilli to give some earthy undertones.
The paneer skewers were a bit of a revelation in the CYV household as we had never eaten it before, but it was a surefire hit. We loved the texture of the cheese against the crunchy vegetables and how the paneer absorbs the flavours. What was especially appreciated is that is light and not greasy due to being grilled, which makes a difference from many Indian starters we cook.
The broccoli was a great side dish, even hubby enjoyed it and we liked how the addition of the chilli sauce meant for those who like their spice, could increase the chilli kick of any of the dishes by adding this sauce. It’s definitely not one for the faint hearted though ….hot, hot, hot!
To finish off the Indian feast with these meringues is a genius idea. Light and sweet, chewy with a lovely hint of cardamom. We made the chestnut and chocolate filling which was lovely.
If you fancy having a go at any of these recipes or seeing me in my published glory, then pop along to the newsagents for your copy of the January issue of BBC Good Food.
Thanks to BBC Good Food magazine for selecting me as a recipe tester.