10 tips for a great home curry night
Whether you’re planning a date night for two, a family feast, or a get-together with your mates, good food is the quickest way to anyone’s heart - and everyone loves a curry. So here are our top 10 tips for hosting a home curry night that’s sure to spice up everyone’s evening.
1. Keep it simple
Cooking curries doesn’t mean you have to spend all night in the kitchen, but the trick is to keep it as simple as possible when picking the type of curries to make. We recommend going for 2 different curries with a similar base, such as tomato or cream, rather than trying to make a korma and a madras (two very different bases). Fewer pans required and fewer ingredients to shop for means a (mostly) stress-free evening. Chefs Nisha Katona and Chetna Makan have some super speedy stress-free recipes that are sure to impress.
2. Prepare your dishes
As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm. The more you prepare before your guests arrive, the more time you’ll get to give them when they’re there, because let’s face it, they’re here for your wonderful company and not the promise of delicious, comforting, mouthwatering curry…The trick is to get pretty much everything out before they arrive, clear the sink area, have your serving bowls out and ready, and cook the curries before they get there. Curry, once cooked, doesn't require careful monitoring, so you can simply keep it warm while you spend time with your guests. To reheat, just place the bowls in the oven on a low temperature and let the curry slowly heat up while your guests enjoy their drinks.
3. The spice factor
Not everyone will have the same spice preference as you, so whoever you’re cooking for, make sure to ask them if they’re a “give me as hot as you got” or a “I’ll have lemon and herb” type. On the milder side of the scale, you’ve got choices like creamy Butter Chicken, veggie paneer curry or the Korma. For medium options, there’s the Jalfrezi or the Masala, and at the hottest side there are eye watering curries like a Vindaloo, the Madras or the Bhuna.
If you’re entertaining several guests, don’t just pick one curry as you might leave someone unhappy. Those who like their spice will find a korma too mild, while the less adventurous will definitely shy away from spicier dishes. Try to make at least 2 different curries for your guests to choose from; one on the milder end and one on the hotter end.
4. Customisable heat
Let your guests customise their own heat levels rather than making the curry too hot to handle. If they want to cool their curry down, you can provide some greek yoghurt to mix in. Dairy milk contains a compound called Casein, which helps reduce the heat level in foods. If they want to turn up the heat, prepare some fresh chopped chillies or chilli flakes as accompaniments.
5. Check for allergies
Make sure to check for any allergies before you dish up to your guests. Curry does contain nuts (especially the korma) which can trigger strong allergic reactions for certain people, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
6. Sides and dips
Indian cuisine is vibrant, flavoursome and varied, so it would be rude not to consider whipping up a few side dishes. No need to make samosas from scratch (unless you’re a budding Madhur Jaffrey) or culture your own yoghurt for raita, just fill your feast with plenty of perfectly cooked rice, piping hot naan, crunchy samosas or quickly whip up some saag paneer - all of which are great compliments to the spicier curries. Don’t forget some fresh, flaky paratha and cooling raita for when the naga chilli hits.
7. Don’t just ‘wash it down’, elevate it
Let's face it, a 'dry' dinner party might get boring pretty quickly. Offering your guest(s) a special cocktail (or several) will not only keep them refreshed but will give you extra brownie points for thinking about the details. Forgo the standard G&T or Kobra, impress them with unique cocktails using Sollasa - the drink specifically designed to enhance Indian cuisine. Check out some of our delicious cocktail recipes for inspiration. With half the alcohol of gin and wine, Sollasa is also an excellent choice for guests looking to avoid tomorrow’s heavy head.
8. Cook and entertain
Don’t be the person that disappears to cook for 90% of the night only to return to neglected guests with empty glasses. Try to split your time equally between cooking and looking after your guests. This means making sure that everyone's glass is full and being on hand if anyone needs anything. Can’t multitask? A bit of music or a film always goes down a treat, just make sure it’s not too cliched.
If you really want to keep things extra simple and don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen, there’s no harm in ordering some dishes from your favourite local curry house. Just make sure to get everyone’s orders in advance, otherwise you’ll be frantically staring at the deliveroo bike icon that’s still showing 5 miles away while your guests sit waiting.
9. Turn off the distractions
Switch off your phone. In fact, leave it in your bedroom, along with any other tech that might take your attention away from your guests - unless you’re keeping them entertained while you cook with an episode of Come Dine With Me that is.
10. Finish on a sweet note
Looking to freshen the palate? Calm the heat and satiate your taste buds after dinner with a well matched dessert that complements your curry dishes - because apple pie just won’t cut the chilli and mustard seeds. Try whipping up this delicious mango and cardamon syllabub, ideal for a light and fruity post-curry treat.
So there you have it, our foolproof tips for hosting a successful curry night (and raising the bar for your guests). Want to really deliver the wow factor at your next curry night? Elevate the evening with some show stopping cocktails.
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