Flavors of India Home Cooking Party

Namaste! Vannakkam! Welcome to an Indian cooking party with friends. Gather adventurous eaters, open your kitchen and invite everyone to cook! Immerse yourself in this rich cuisine and enjoy Indian favorites you thought could be experienced only by visiting a restaurant!


One Cookbook, So Many Ideas

  • Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking cookbook inspired this menu. Shop for your very own copy for more Indian recipes, ingredient help, menus and culinary adventures!

  • Search 'Indian' and you'll find more recipes and many of the specialty ingredients defined in Glossary listings under the Videos/How-To tab.

Worldly Invitations

  • Use a map of India for the background of your invitations; print over the map in bold type.

  • Dinner in India is served late, usually 8 p.m. or later. Invite guests to arrive at 5 p.m. so everyone has time to cook.

Indian Style

  • Greet guests clothed Indian style by draping and wrapping a few simple cloths from a fabric store over your clothing.

  • Bazaars, or open-air markets, are the norm in India. With some brightly colored cloths and baskets, create your own bazaar for atmosphere.

  • Indian people eat at a low table or sit cross-legged on a thin bamboo mat, called a chattai, placed on the floor. Turn your coffee table into the dinner table, or create a low table with a piece of plywood on 12-inch plastic crates or bricks.

  • Gather travel posters and brochures to use for tabletop or wall decoration.

  • Play Indian music. It's available at music stores, libraries and specialty markets.

  • Kitchen aromas will create a savory atmosphere.

Food Traditions

  • Indian custom is to serve all food courses, including dessert, at the same time. A large, rimmed stainless-steel platter, called a thali, holds the foods and is placed in the center of the table for people to serve themselves. Dessert is served in small bowls that are placed next to the main dishes.

  • Although all food is served at the same time, it is eaten in courses: appetizer, then the main course and sides, followed by dessert if there is one.

  • Most Indians eat with their fingers, believing that food doesn't taste as good when eaten with utensils. Breads are used as eating utensils to scoop up or wrap around food. Saucy dishes soak into mounds of basmati rice, making it easier to eat. Only the right hand is used for eating. The left hand, considered 'unclean,' is reserved for handling a glass or spooning foods onto the plate.

  • Make name tags for the food dishes, including both the English and Indian recipe titles. Encourage guests to introduce the foods they prepared and share knowledge of special ingredients. Pass a spice, such as Garam Masaala, before and after it is cooked and ground.

Beyond Cooking

The preparation of the food is the fun activity of this party. If you want to party on, try these ideas:

  • View an Indian travel DVD.
  • Propose an Indian restaurant adventure.
  • Invite a guest to talk about Indian travels and traditions.
  • Plan a trip to India.
  • Watch a movie filmed in India, such as the award-winning Slumdog Millionaire, the Bollywood musical Bride & Prejudice, or classics like A Passage to India or Ghandi.


Mint and cilantro marry to create a classic Indian chutney. Relish it!
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Coconut chutney in southeastern India is as common as ketchup on fries in the United States.
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Tantalize your taste buds with this Indian version of grilled shrimp!
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What apple pie is to an American, this stew (dhansaak) is to a Parsee from the city of Mumbai, India, formerly called Bombay.
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Basmati, the royal rice, finds an ideal partner in saffron, the world’s most expensive spice.
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A simple stir-fry turns sweetly golden when you marry spinach greens with raisins!
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Enjoy this exotic fall dish alongside steamed rice, an Indian classic.
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Nothing is more basic, simple and pervasive in kitchens across India than griddle breads. Interchangeably known as rotis or chappatis, these breads are torn into bite-size pieces, wrapped around morsels of food and devoured—making them an excellent substitute for flatware, too!
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No need to pay coffeehouse prices when it’s this easy to make the classic Indian sweet and spicy tea.
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