Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Food for the crowd - Appetizers

Have you ever wondered the role of appetizer in a course of meal?
Appetizer - 
noun: appetizer; plural noun: appetizers; noun: appetiser; plural noun: appetisers

a small dish of food or a drink taken before a meal or the main course of a meal to stimulate one's appetite.


Do we actually stick to this definition? Definitely not. If you ask me, the heaviest part of the meal calorie wise are desserts and appetizers. Not even the main course. I am talking about a regular Indian party food. I haven't been to other cuisines' elaborate meals, so can't talk about that.


The moment people talk about food in an Indian's party, discussion goes to different courses of the meal. What was for dessert? How many starters did they have? Roti or Naan? North Indian or South Indian? it goes on and on. Also, most of the people think a party isn't complete without having samosas or pakodas. Being a foody, I hate to see those two items in any party. And having cooked for big crowds so many times, I tell you the hardest course of the meal to prepare for a crowd is appetizer. If you stick to these deep fried staples that is.


So, how would you tackle the appetizer issue when cooking for a crowd?

1. Choose something very simple. It need not be an elaborate, deep fried food. Think of what you can make a day in advance and serve without losing the taste, flavor.

2. If you do want to serve some deep fried dish, make it few days in advance, cool and freeze. Day of the party, re fry them after thawing for few seconds. (Have you ever wondered how you can order different deep fried food in a restaurant and it comes to your table within 20 minutes? this is how)

3. Pick a chaat as appetizer. Buy most of the things made and mix with fresh cut veggies or make it yourself a week before. Bhel puri, Pani puri, Sev puri are all doable this way.

4. Try serving a light salad. 

5. Make two or three kinds of dip, salsa with corn chips or pita chips.

6. Make a light soup. Serve with bread croutons.

7. Make the samosa filling and use phyllo sheets to cover them. Freeze and the day of the party, bake.

8. Buy already made frozen appetizers and heat in the oven.

9. Even though sandwiches are kind of main course, make a nice chutney as the base, top the bread with the chutney, then with thinly sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and top it with either cheese and bread or just plain bread. Cut these into tiny triangles and add a toothpick to hold them together. These make great appetizers too.

10. Make steamed appetizers like dhokla or idlis. If making idlis, make them in a big pan and cut them into tiny pieces. Sprinkle some kind of spice powder like chutney powder or idli molagai powder mixed with some oil. Serve. 


Tips like these can go on and on. If any of you have any tips or ideas, please chime in.

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  1. Good tips Champa..interesting ideas...

  2. Nice tips Champa..... it really sucks to deep fry esp for a large crowd...
    And nice to see you back blogging :)


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