Starters as Dinner with Friends

Here I have put together a series of starters that are all oriental fusion. Mainly they are Indian/Persian fusion.

We had a couple of friends around for dinner and had decided to make papadum with a few dips and starters. Actually, we never got pass the starters.

We had mango chutney,  yogurt and cucumber dip, tomato-cucumber salad (Salad Shirazi), Persian herb salad, and plenty of papadum.

I do apologize for the quality of the pictures. We had already started eating before I got to take the pics.

Cyrus

chutney

Mango Chutney

Ingredients:

  • Curry
    • Turmeric x 1 tea spoon
    • Coriander seeds x 1 tea spoon
    • Mustard seeds x 1 tea spoon
    • Mild to hot red chili x 1 piece
    • Sea salt x 1 pinch
    • 1 clove of garlic
    • Dried onion x 1 tea spoon
    • Some fresh ginger based on your taste
    • Chili flakes based on your taste
  • Chutney
    • Frozen mango x 200 gm
    • White wine vinegar x 200 mm
    • Sugar x 2-4 table spoon
    • Fresh mint x 4-5 leaves

How to Make it 

  • Curry
    • Put the ingredients together and crush in a stone mortar until a soft and fine paste is created.
  • Chutney
    • Bring the vinegar to simmer in a thick based sauce pan and dissolve the sugar in it.
    • Dice the mango to 1×1 cm cubes.
    • Add the curry and sugar and continue simmering for 10 minutes (keep a little bit of curry to taste the yogurt dip).
    • Run the liquid through a fine sieve and press with a spoon so whatever that is not finely crushed will be taken out.
    • Add the mango and fresh mint to the liquid and continue to simmer.
    • Simmer on low-medium heat for 40 minutes or until the chutney is properly reduced. Taste and if it is still sour, you can add mango or just simple syrup. Beware that while the liquid is reducing it can still be very sour. Process of reduction and mango will make the mix sweeter, so do not panic and do not add lots of sugar while reducing; do it at the end.
    • Enjoy your meal.

 

Yogurt Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 of a large organic cucumber (non-organic cucumber is too watery and has too many squishy seeds in the core)
  • 200 ml fresh yogurt (3.5% fat)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Curry (a tea spoon of what was made for chutney)
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh mint (4-5 lives), finely chopped

How to Make it:

  • Grate the cucumber. Drain the best you can.
  • Place a cotton cloth in a bowl and put the grated cucumber on it.
  • Add the yogurt to the cucumber.
  • Press the cotton cloth to drain as much liquid as you can to thicken the dip (the Indian version of this dip is a little too runny for my taste, so I adopted the process of making the Persian version by draining the yogurt as well as the cucumber).
  • Add salt and pepper and the curry paste.
  • Mix well and season to taste.
  • Optionally you can add dried rose petals, sultana or raisin, and walnuts.
  • Let the dip to settle in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
  • Enjoy your meal.

 

Tomato-Cucumber salad (Salad Shirazi)

The Indian version has far too much onion for my liking, so I adopted the Persian version that is associated with the city of Shiraz, which BTW has nothing to do with Australian Shiraz no matter what people say 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Freshly squeezed lime juice from 3 medium sized limes
  • 1/2 of a cucumber
  • One large fleshy tomato.
  • 6-7 leaves of Fresh mint, finely chopped
  • Dried crushed mint, 1-2 tea spoon
  • 1 medium size Shallot, finely chopped
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt and black pepper

How to Make it 

  • Mix the ingredients and let the salad to settle in the fridge for a minimum of one hour.
  • Serve cold.
  • Enjoy your meal.

 

Persian Herb Salad

This is perhaps my absolute favorite starter. It consists of freshly baked bread, fresh herbs, feta cheese, walnut, and radishes. Persians do take ice-cold sultana brandy or vodka with this starter.

sabzi.JPG

Ingredients:

  • Fresh tarragon
  • Fresh mint
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh sweet basil
  • Fresh dill
  • Fresh rucola or rocket
  • Feta Cheese
  • Walnuts
  • Radishes
  • Cherry tomatoes

How to Make it: 

  • Mix and eat with fresh bread (e.g. naan) or papadum.

A couple of points:

  • Sanni has made the bread here and I am sure she will post how she made it.
  • I cheated and bought ready-to-make papadum and just fried them in an iron skillet.
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