Shef's Kitchen

Food and Cooking Stories from an Indian-American girl nicknamed Shef

Bollywood Bash October 6, 2011

How do you throw a Bollywood-inspired and masala-infused bash for a group of 40 adults?

How about donating the dinner for a school silent auction? You can spread cultural awareness, get to know your children’s friends’ parents, and raise money for your school.

That’s what my friend Kavita thought of when she planned an elaborate dinner with live entertainment as part of a multi-course meal for all the guests.  And of course she persuaded me to join, and I’m glad to be part of it!

We’ve had a few “meetings” to come up with a dinner menu, beverage selection, and entertainment, and we have a fun-filled ngiht planned.

In our beautiful month of October, we’ll have a gorgeous atmosphere to house a live band, The Sacred Cowgirls, led by singer and co-host Pauravi Rana. We’ll also have henna artist Nikki Pham decorating our guests’ hands or feet, perhaps miniature versions of traditional Indian “mango” or “peacock” designs like this one:

or designs similar to this Western-inspired one:

And of course, we’ll be teaching a few Indian dance moves, though not Bollywood-style. To go along with the Indian Gujarati-predominant holiday of Navratri, we’ll be teaching our guests a little garba-raas dance!  Raas, the simply choreographed “stick” dance as (non-Guju Indians like to mock 😉 ), looks a little like this:

This surely ought to help further increase their appetites for a long and luxurious family-style dinner.

About 10 people are hosting this together, so not only will it be easy to cook for (I’m in charge of only 2 dishes!), but also the menu will reflect either the hosts’ regional culinary background or a national culinary jewel.

For example, we’ll be serving up Chhole, of course, a very typical and often requested chick pea curry. Delicious with naan–the two go together like mashed potatos and gravy. This dish hails from the state of Punjab, but no Indian equates it to only that area. It’s served at restaurants all over India and served steaming hot from colorful streetside stands.  It’s also served in most Indian restaurants in the U.S.  It’s a great healthy vegetarian weeknight meal as well.

Multiple family recipes exist for chhole; mine (learned from my mom) can be found on my Shef’s Kitchen website at this link.

Another dish we’ll be preparing is Pulihora, or Tamarind Rice. This is a South-Indian style rice dish. I’ve been wanting to draft a recipe for pulihora for a couple of years but I’m always behind on recipe-testing. It’s one of those pleasing, uniquely delicious, and SIMPLE rice dishes with which any curry can properly accompany.  We will have pictures and hopefully a recipe by one of our co-hosts after the bash, so keep checking back!

And finally, I’ll give you an inkling of another type of dish, an appetizer. Hints:

  • made with cauliflower
  • taught in one of my classes before
  • has origins from China’s influence on East India
  • is spicy hot hot hot!!

It’s Gobi Manchurian, and it is the perfect bite to whet the appetite!

There are almost a dozen different dishes we’re preparing, and I can’t give away the menu details to the guests who are reading this blog post. Stay tuned for a fully detailed list of the menu items. And pictures of the FOOD!