A Delhi Dinner for Friends
Having seen Mister Tikku be equally rapturous over a simple, but perfectly prepared clay pot of chole chawal as over molecular cilantro chutney foam, I asked what he would prepare if he were serving dinner to friends at home.
The menu was simple, yet richly decadent. Dal makhani, a Punjabi dish of black lentils cooked in ghee and swirled with thick cream. Butter chicken, or shahi paneer, if the guests are veg. Whether chicken or the Indian pressed cottage cheese, paneer, either would be cooked in spicy tomato sauce with cream. Perhaps a rice dish, such as mutton biryani.
He’d round out the meal with butter naan or paratha to scoop up the sauces, fresh cucumber, tomato, onion and radishes, which could be served in whole pieces or chopped together in a salad with lemon juice, and boondi raita, a cool yogurt sprinkled with pieces of fried graham flour.
The traditional serving utensil for dal is the kalchi. Halfway between a spoon and a ladle, the kalchi was originally made from copper. Today stainless steel is more common.