Party food is designed to impress and tantalise, whether you’re raiding the supermarket party platters (my personal fail safe party manoeuvre) or if you’re trying your hand at creating fancy little canapés, but the downside of all that fancy food is that it takes away all the best bits of having a party; getting together with your loved ones for good hearty comfortable food!
One of the events in an Indian wedding is the ‘Mehendi’, a day where the bride gets her Henna applied and family and friends join in on the henna action, eat and drink and toast the bride on what is often her last day of singledom. Since it was my baby sister’s Henna, it was even more imperative that the food met the style tag, but also wasn’t purely style over substance and was food that people actually wanted to tuck into with gusto.
Enter Heena’s Kitchen Curry. I found Heena’s website doing a casual internet search but as soon as we spoke, it was clear this was the lady to have in the kitchen! She would make all the food fresh and it wouldn’t be laden in bad stuff and judging by the reviews out there, it would actually taste good!
Together we designed a menu with starters and dessert and when the day came, Heena came to the party armed with large bowlfuls of goodies and proceeded to set up with brisk efficiency.
We started with Sheesh Kebabs and Paneer Samosas for entrees.
I couldn’t stop popping little pieces of Sheesh Kebab into my mouth, they were melt in the mouth tender and fragrantly spiced, but not so spicy that the non-chilli eaters couldn’t eat them. The paneer samosas were a bit milder and crispy chewy, but it has to be said my heart was with the kebabs.
Mains were served family style on the dining table, which is what we were after and we had Chicken Curry, Saag Paneer and Bombay Aloo, all served with a crunchy salad, raita and freshly made Rotis on the stove.
Chicken Curry is one of those things that is on almost every menu and everyone does it slightly differently and while I’m no great shakes on how to actually make any kind of chicken curry, I can tell you that Heena’s version is tip-top.
The husband was especially excited to see Saag Paneer as it’s his favourite dish and this was a big winner for him. I loved that it had a very real taste of Spinach as too often in restaurants it can just taste creamy and devoid of any flavour.
Bombay Aloo rounded the meal off and I couldn’t help but think how good it would taste in a hot toasted sandwich for the next day. It turns out that it’s not just my family who do the potato sandwich thing and I can’t recommend it highly enough!
Dessert was my sister’s favourite, Ras Malai and it too was looovely. Sometimes (ok, often), Indian sweets can have way too much sugar in them and this one was rich but not cloyingly sweet. This was evidenced by the fact that I had two bowls but don’t tell anyone as I almost certainly ate someone’s share!
And the best part of all, once the final slurp of Ras Malai was done, Heena cleaned up and disappeared without a trace, leaving only a very full and very happy party group!
If that’s not the very best part of having someone come and cook you a whiz bang meal, I really don’t know what is. So the next time you want some gourmet home cooked Indian food, you know where to look and you won’t even have any washing up to contend with.