An Indian Summer Canteen

An Indian Summer Canteen

Hello there! We had a chance to finally host our fourth dinner after a pause that stretched over several months, so I am pretty excited to write about it! As summer threatened to draw to a close, I knew we had to hurry up and fulfill any leftover summery desires! So, therefore it was- the Indian Summer Canteen, inspired by street eats of Indian summer days past!

We came back to home base with the Indian Summer Canteen. We hosted the dinner at our home, like the very first dinner we hosted. A small group of 10 it was and it felt intimate and personal.

 Cashew "chikki" or brittle for the Kulfi in progress

Cashew "chikki" or brittle for the Kulfi in progress

A lot was different this time around- the biggest difference being Thomas' absence all along. He's away in India for work, and while he's most probably relishing the real stuff in balmy Mumbai, we were feeling his void over here, missing his lovely drinks and that hint of a German twist on the supper club.

This is our second street-food inspired dinner. Street food is something I miss about home quite a bit, something that is never fully replaceable once out of its context. However, that doesn't stop me from making it! We created a Mumbai-inspired menu this time, with a good measure of Andhra spices thrown in here and there. One of the fun discoveries was the popcorn that we laid out on the table before the guests came. The idea was a result of my parent's visit here- my mom was making kettle popcorn almost everyday while she was here, and I would inhale bowls of it in no time. Popped with the Curry leaf masala she brought from India, it packed quite the punch! Right from the get-go, I wanted to slide it into the menu like a "mixture" (a type of Indian snack), but still had a nagging feeling that it felt a bit too light. We went ahead and served it anyway, and they were a huge hit! We had to send over seconds- and even they were gone in no time!

Among friends and family, Karthik has a fairly good reputation of being a bad eater. So when he proposed that he'd make egg puffs for one course of the menu, I almost took it for a joke. But, no. They were probably the most relished items that night! He turned into a superstar overnight, along with homemade tomato ketchup that we made together.

Another step with the dinner this time was the oils. Yes, oils. It's hardly a surprise that street food from any culture is loaded with a bunch of fat, which is what makes it so darn delicious and instantly gratifying. But I'm going to admit the idea of plunging every other thing into oil made me feel really guilty. I am happy to say we spent some time this time around to create a menu with as little fried indulgences, excepting the Vada Paav, which I needn't even add- can't be had any other way! And what made the whole experience sweeter for us was getting to use the greens and herbs from our own little kitchen garden (yes, it seems my thumb is turning green finally!)

Handful | An Indian Summer Canteen

So without much (more) ado! Here's what we had:

// Curry Leaf Masala popcorn //

I
Channa Katori Bite with Fruit Chaat

II
Dhoklas with spicy chutneys and root salad

III
Egg Puff with Homemade Tomato Ketchup

IV
Vada Paav with Spicy Mango

V
Chocolate Saffron Kulfi with Cashew Chikki

// Grapefruit Lemon Panna //

 Grapefruit panna! A lemonade infused with cumin and a salty tinge.

Grapefruit panna! A lemonade infused with cumin and a salty tinge.

Handful | An Indian Summer Canteen
 A katori bite

A katori bite

 Fruit chaat!

Fruit chaat!

Handful | An Indian Summer Canteen
 Savory chickpea cakes and fresh salad

Savory chickpea cakes and fresh salad

 The ever graceful Liss, dear Wiebke and June!

The ever graceful Liss, dear Wiebke and June!

 Karthik's egg puffs with homemade tomato sauce and homegrown carrot greens.

Karthik's egg puffs with homemade tomato sauce and homegrown carrot greens.

Handful | An Indian Summer Canteen
 Our special guest!

Our special guest!

 Like a boss!

Like a boss!

 The Chocolate saffron Kulfi with chikki

The Chocolate saffron Kulfi with chikki

What a wonderful night! We were a lot better organised than ever before, even with just the 2 of us and had a lot less to clean than what we'd imagined. This picture of the day after doesn't look too bad to me!

Handful | An Indian Summer Canteen

Thanks to our friends, old and new, for coming out and spending the night with us! Looking forward to coming back with warm curries and spicy sauces for Fall!

PS. If you're interested in trying out one of these dishes, I'd love to share the recipe(s). Just tell me which one in the comments!