What simple Indian dish should I bring to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?
November 23, 2008 1:30 PM   Subscribe

I'm making Thanksgiving dinner with my American friend for her German host family. We want to share a little of our American "Thanksgiving culture" with them. My family in Maine always gets Indian carryout. What to do?

My friend is used to the completely typical American Thanksgiving dinner, so we are making a turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, etc. I am a vegetarian who has eaten Indian food on Thanksgiving for as long as she can remember, and I want to bring something familiar to this meal, too. I cook a fair amount of Indian food at home in the U.S., but everything I can think of making here is either really time-consuming or doesn't go with this meal at all. Does anyone have any ideas/recipes for something to make? It doesn't have to be authentically Indian, maybe just something with spices that'll remind me of my Thanksgivings at home. Maybe a desert? Appetizer?
posted by comfortinsound to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe you can do a succotash (lima beans + corn) which is traditional Thanksgiving, but with Indian spices.
posted by smackfu at 1:40 PM on November 23, 2008

I'd do curried sweet potatoes (or curry sweet potato/carrot soup) or a pumpkin curry soup. (I don't have a specific recipe to link to.)
posted by Airhen at 1:44 PM on November 23, 2008

I'm sorry I don't have the exact recipe for this, but I made it for a potluck at my office once. My goal was to bring something vegetarian that wouldn't need to be refrigerated until lunchtime. Although it was not my aim at all to be authentic, the Indian and Pakistani folks on my team raved about it, saying it was like comfort food they used to eat at home.

- Microwave a spaghetti squash
- Pull the cooked strands out with a fork and separate into a bowl
- Combine butter, olive oil, cumin, coriander, and cardamom
- Mix the above mixture with the separate squash strands
- Top with generous amount of chopped fresh cilantro
- Serve hot or at room temperature
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 1:45 PM on November 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

You didn't say if you had a fresh salad course.

This is my favorite Thai Curry. I like it MORE without the salmon, prepared as a sauce over couscous (instead of the original rice) and the cabbage/cucumber salad mixture. Without the salmon it can be prepared in ~30 minutes. extra sauce is easily freeze-able, leftovers yummy.

The original recipe can be found at epicurious.com :
Here's my version:
Grilled Salmon with Thai Curry Sauce and Basmati Rice 191 reviews/ 93%

me: this is epicurious' recipe with sauce doubled...sauce is great over extra AsianSalad with heavy sprinkle of cashews
made 10/08, 11/08.

For rice [I made with couscous...excellent]
1 c basmati rice
1 1/2 c water
2 T unsalted butter

For sauce [as said above, this is written doubled]
2 1/4 t minced peeled fresh gingerroot
2 1/4 t minced garlic
1 1/2 T peanut oil
3 T curry powder
3 T Thai red curry paste [used indiancurry paste, can use 2 of 5 S+B blocks]
2 1/2 c unsweetened coconut milk [used 1 c lowfat sourcrm, 1c milk and extra 'crushed' tomatoes..groceryoutof low fat cocomilk, will not use full fat!]
1/2 c tomato purée
2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T brown sugar [me: 1 T honey]

For vegetables
3 c finely shredded green cabbage [used AsianSalad mix, had on hand]
3/4 c julienne strips of seeded peeled cucumber [me: sliced and halved...good with extra]
3 T finely chopped fresh coriander [this is cilantro, herb garden]
3 T fine chop fresh mint leaves [used lemon mint, peppermint herb garden mix]
1 T soy sauce [used low sodium kikomon]
3 T rice vinegar (not seasoned) [can't find, in recipe, where this is used...I used over 'salad']
four 6-ounce pieces salmon fillet [I used shrimp, will try w/ tilipia]
olive oil for brushing salmon
1/4 c roasted peanuts [used cashews, had on hand]

Make rice: [me: make rice/couscous/noodles... grill/boil/"cook" shrimp, fish or chicken]
Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a saucepan with an ovenproof lid bring rice, water, and butter to boil. Bake rice, covered, in middle of oven 12 minutes. Keep rice warm.

Make sauce:
In a heavy saucepan sauté gingerroot and garlic in oil over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden. Add curry powder mix and sauté, stirring, 1 minute, or until fragrant. add S+B 2 portions. Whisk in coconut milk, tomato purée, soy sauce, and brown sugar and bring just to a boil. Remove pan from heat and keep warm.

Prepare vegetables:
In a bowl toss together all vegetable ingredients.

Prepare grill.

Brush salmon with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Grill salmon on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals until just cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.

Put each in center of 4 plates and arrange salmon on top. Top salmon with vegetables and spoon sauce around it. Sprinkle vegetables with peanuts.
posted by Twist at 2:02 PM on November 23, 2008

For dessert, you could do a Kheer. Rice pudding wouldn't be too "odd" at an American Thanksgiving table.

How about a Chai to drink before/with/after dinner?
posted by cooker girl at 2:11 PM on November 23, 2008

Cranberry chutney?
posted by billtron at 2:37 PM on November 23, 2008

yeah rice pudding wouldnt be odd at all imo.
i'd probably just go with soe type of Dalor other lentil dish (mmmmmm, dal.....) . things like beans and rice are never out of place on any table.

for several years in and after college my thanksgiving dinner tradition was general tso's chicken and wonton soup. those were good days.
posted by swbarrett at 2:42 PM on November 23, 2008

I think Mulligatawny soup would match turkey nicely.
posted by cotterpin at 2:55 PM on November 23, 2008

Saag paneer would be a welcome substitute for broccoli cheese casserole.
posted by Houstonian at 3:20 PM on November 23, 2008

How about making a cranberry chutney? Tamarind is sour like cranberries and tamarind chutney is traditionally Indian. In fact Googling around I came across this how to make cranberry chutney Youtube video. To answer the question asked in one of the comments jaggery is unrefined cane sugar. I guess the closest equivalent would be unrefined brown sugar.
Carrot halwa is like the Indian equivalent of sweet potato casserole to me -- sweet and comforting.
Or you could an Indian riff on traditional Thanksgiving vegetables -- mashed potatoes Indian style or green beans. That last website has an entire Indian menu for Thanksgiving that you might get ideas from. The curried nuts especially would be a no-fuss way to inject some Indian spices into Thanksgiving.
posted by peacheater at 4:25 PM on November 23, 2008

Aloo gobi?
posted by fidelity at 6:26 PM on November 23, 2008

Curried roasted cauliflower would be good. Here's one option:

Roasted Curried Cauliflower Florets

1 head cauliflower, washed, dried, and cut into florets
A few whole cloves of garlic, peeled
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F. In a small bowl whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, and salt and pepper. On a baking sheet or roasting pan, toss mixture onto cauliflower florets. Tuck cloves of garlic among florets. Roast for about 25 minutes or until golden and slightly caramelized.

This one is less Indian, but when I made it I added a bunch of curry powder, and it was better than the above recipe:

1 head of cauliflower
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
1 lemon
Olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Add garlic. Squeeze a lemon over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If the oven hasn't reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has.

2 Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 15-25 minutes, until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.
posted by ifjuly at 11:57 AM on November 24, 2008

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