Last year I tried to get as close as possible to the traditional Thanksgiving: yams, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and so on. Of course no turkey, because 4 of the 6 people there were vegetarian. (To my continued annoyance, Dave was insistent that I was somehow inventing the concept of a "traditional Thanksgiving", or that it was a thing from the distant past - I know what Thanksgiving is, you bloody Scot!)
This year Nathalie suggested that since I've already gone the traditional route, I can move on and do something nice instead. "Goed idee!", I thought to myself. The problem is that I was still kind of fixated mentally on the "meal with a thing in the center" model - where the turkey would naturally sit. Judy has been trying to get me to cook Indian for her for ages, and suggested I do Indian for Thanksgiving. It turned out to be a fantastic idea, and everything just sort of fell together after that. I still tried to get some of the usual ingredients in the dinner, hence the pumpkin, cranberry, corn, peas, and potatoes.
The menu I ended up going for was:
So, no turkey, there were no family arguments, nobody fell asleep on the sofa watching (American) football, and we didn't go around the table saying what we were grateful for, but otherwise I think it was a pretty authentic Thanksgiving!
- Mango Lassi (Sweet or Salty available on request)
Nobody wanted any, so these had to wait until breakfast on Saturday morning.;)
I wanted Indian beer, but it turns out to be really hard to get in Amsterdam. Eventually I found some at a beer store. I asked the guy if they had any Indian beer, and he said, "Kind of - we have Cobra but it comes from Poland now." Good enough for me!
- Cola Light
Judy is addicted to Cola Light.
- Curry Pumpkin Soup
Easy to make, and very, very good.
I bought some papadum, and I thought they were "ready to eat", but they needed to be fried in oil. No problem, but a bit of a panic when I expected to serve right away!
- Cranberry Chutney
- Cucumber Raita
Basic, but good.
- Makai Kari (Corn Curry)
A bit tricky to make (at least for a mediocre cook like me), but extremely tasty.
- Aloo Mutter (Potatoes & Peas)
The recipe sucks - for instance it doesn't say how much turmeric or green chilies to include. The result is not horrible, but way too oily - I'd recommend cutting the oil in half from the recipe.
- Chana (Chickpeas)
I thought these were only okay, but some people claimed it was delicious.
- Dal (Lentils)
Another easy to make and delicious dish. Erina's comment: "Restaurant quality."
- Saag Paneer (Spinach & Cheese)
I couldn't find paneer anywhere in Amsterdam. The guy at the Indian shop said it's very difficult in Amsterdam, and recommended tofu, which is what I did. The recipe has a disclaimer that you kind of have to guess at amounts - and in the end I was disappointed with the results. Not recommended
- Basmati Rice
I ended up just serving plain white basmati rice, because I had enough cooking by this point in the day!
I ordered from an Indian restaurant right next door because I don't have a tandoor, but I should have just skipped the naan (a sin, I know).
- Pistachio Ice Cream
Nobody saved enough room for ice cream! Oh well, it will keep.
- Gulab Jamuns (or something like it...)
I didn't really feel like frying these up, so my plan was to use olie ballen with the sweet sauce. The problem was that an olie bal is about 10x as big as the balls in gulab jamuns! I ended up cutting the olie ballen up and forcing everyone to try them - to good effect, but Wietse was the only one who had seconds.
I can hardly wait until next year...