Party Menus

It is the party season and more often than not we do get caught up in the rut of things to actually consider all the elements of a successful , nourishing party menu where people feel happy, light and energetic afterwards rather than run down, lethargic and almost sick.

The menu would depend on the occasion -that is the time of day, event, number of people, cuisine selected, location(indoor/outdoor) and the set of people attending ( old/ young /special diet etc). For more specifics one must ensure the various colours that is green, red , white , yellow and dark brown to be on the buffet. Snacks need to be finger based for most part but some sit downs may need heavy snacks with side plates for each individual. The buffet needs to be decorative with side dishes/accompaniments, salads (and yoghurt for Indian buffets), and breads. The main dishes should have texture in the form of rice, curries/sauces and dry dishes as well. A green dish needs to be almost mandatory apart from a green in the salad for eg. a spinach cannelloni/green okra etc and a great emphasis on green garnishes like parsley or coriander. This totally completes a buffet correctly. A blend of spices and the right balance of flavors contribute to a successful buffet. For eg. in an indian buffet if there are two curry dishes like a dal and a paneer gravy , then a dry crispy texture like kurmuri bhindi complements it well. In continental fare, a dry roast lamb is well complemented with a tangy wet side of beetroot and vegetables or even a jus. All gravies and sauces should be reduced and not flowy unless provided for with bowls. Salads need not be incapacitated with heavy dressings. Ideally dressings should be on the side. Too much sugar or salt in dishes is avoidable for the sake of health. An excellent chef is not dependant on butter, oil, salt or sugar to produce ‘A’ class dishes.

Eye appeal

Ideally, it also makes sense to tag the dishes displayed on a buffet or served around. Playing around with some fun tag ideas and decorations ( I personally prefer which are edible) adds to the party aesthetics.

Finger foods for standing buffets

Below are a couple of samples of an ideal party menu which include a balance of nutrition, texture, flavors and colours:
Occasion : Birthday-16 yr old, no. of pax : 40, location : residence, time : 7.00 pm, cuisine : continental.

Snacks :
Fruit puffs ( savory)
savory canapés -ham/cheese(parsley garnish) and cottage cheese/spinach canapés( cherry tomato slice garnish )
Buttered popcorn
Grilled Button mushrooms ( garnish with celery)

Dinner :
Spinach Cannelloni
Roast leg of lamb
Carrot Vichy with peas
Baked potatoes with tomato and cheese
Pineapple salad with smoked chicken

Dessert :
Birthday cake- fruit gateau
Chocolate chip sundae with strawberries

An Indian sampler:
Occasion : Get- together with friends, no. of pax : 40, location : residence, time : 7.00 pm, cuisine : Indian.

Snacks:
Tandoori Mushrooms( these days we get excellent gas/electric tandoors as well )
Tandoori Achari aloo ( with tandoori capsicum and tomatoes)
Murg tikka( garnished with lemon and coriander)
Mutton Seekh kebab

Dinner:
Kadhai Paneer( with red and green bell pepper)
Gosht roganjosh
Dal tarka ( yellow)
Kurmuri bhindi
Pudina raita
Green salad ( with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots…garnished with beetroot and green chilli)

Dessert:
Shahi Tukda
Pista Kulfi

Hope this Diwali season brings out the most creative and epicurean side of you all….! Happy Diwali!

About Shaloo Dogra

Shaloo Dogra is a wellness coach and director at Epicurean Hospitality Services Pvt. Ltd. in Gurgaon, India. She has been part of the hospitality industry for almost 20 years providing food solutions to industries, institutions and for events. She is dedicated to structured consultation for individuals for fitness, nutrition, intermediate level yoga and meditation. For more on this, please see her website: www.shaloodogra.com She is married to Rajat Dogra and has two wonderful boys aged 16 and 13.
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