January 07, 2013

New Years Eve Indian Feast

Last year on New Years' Eve, my family and I enjoyed a huge spread of Asian inspired food, including peanut noodles, mango salad, fresh rolls, lettuce wraps, dumplings, and more.  We liked it so much that my sister suggested doing a similar thing this year, but changing the theme.

The theme we decided on this year was Indian food and since I love Indian cuisine so much, I claimed the right to plan out our menu, which I wanted to share on my blog with you!

After last year's experience of spending all day on New Year's Eve in the kitchen, I wanted to use purchased ingredients as much as possible this time to limit the amount of work I'd have to do!  A couple of trips to ethnic shops got me all of the ingredients I'd need, and we ended up with a delicious spread with a nice variety of dishes.


First, we had a round of drinks and cold snacks as appetizers.  My sister made the Indian-inspired drinks to start off the evening, which were these fruity mango bellinis made with fresh mango puree and champagne - delish!

For the food, I knew I wanted to include bhel puri, a savory and spicy snack of puffed rice, crushed papdis, peanuts and crispy sev noodles (shown below). All you have to do to prepare this is buy a packaged mix of bhel puri (although you can make your own if you feel like it!), and stir in two kinds of chutneys (the mix comes with little packets of sweet and spicy chutneys) to add even more flavour. I also added some chopped tomatoes and cilantro after this pic was taken.

This is a good snack mix for sharing with a group of people - although it should be eaten immediately before it starts getting soggy from the sauces.

Another easy snack to put together was this masala papad - crispy pappadum that I cooked on the stovetop, topped with a mixture of tomato, red onion, cucumber, green chili, cilantro and spices. Just break it into pieces and enjoy as a refreshing appetizer!

And now for the highlight of the appetizers round - these dahi batata sev puri (I'm not exactly sure of the proper name for them, as I've seen them called many different names!). I bought a package of premade puri shells and broke holes into each one so that I could add the filling. The filling was a simple mixture of boiled potato and chickpeas with finely chopped red onion and chaat masala spice.  Here's a picture of the filled puri shells:

Next, I poured in a spoonful of cool plain yogurt into each one, followed by a spicy cilantro chutney and sweet date-tamarind chutney. The final topping was a bit of chopped fresh cilantro, some sev, and another sprinkling of chaat masala.  It took longer than I planned for filling each one, but luckily my sister came along to help out with the last few steps!

These were definitely everyone's favourite appetizer - they've got the perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavours that explode once you pop the whole thing into your mouth! If you want to try making them yourself, here's one of the guides that I followed.

Finally, I also made a raita to serve along with the appetizers. I followed this recipe for rainbow raita from Vegetarian Times, except I replaced the mint with cilantro. This cool and soothing dip was much appreciated  once all of our mouths were set on fire from the spicy food!

Hot Food

After the appetizers, it was time for some cooked Indian food!

I considered making my own samosas, but figured I should save the time and effort by buying some fresh samosas from the local Indian food store instead (they were still homemade, but by someone else!)

I bought two kinds of vegetarian samosas - the smaller ones were filled with spinach and paneer cheese, and the bigger ones were the more traditional potato and pea filling. I thought both kinds were delicious, especially served with tamarind and cilantro chutneys!

For the homemade food, I put together two vegetarian main dishes. First were these skewers of paneer cheese and peppers, marinated in a creamy tikka masala sauce and cooked on the stovetop. They were pretty easy to make, especially since I cheated a bit by using a premade sauce, and they tasted great too - I loved the soft, crumbly paneer!

I also made a tofu dish using a recipe from one of my new cookbooks, Vegan Eats World.  Slices of pressed tofu were marinated in a yogurt sauce with lots of spices (this time I did make the sauce from scratch!)  and baked in the oven along with lots of sliced red onion on top.

I'm not sure if this dish is authentic tandoori, or if you could even find something similar in India, but all that mattered to me was that it tasted good! If I had to choose a favourite out of the hot dishes, this would be it. I thought the texture of the tofu was perfect, and I loved the flavours. Too bad I was already full by this point so I only ate a couple pieces of it (but I did get to enjoy the leftovers afterwards)!

Since this post is already getting long, I'll try to summarize the rest of our meal without pictures!  Along with the tofu, we had tandoori chicken kebabs for the non-vegetarians that were marinated in the same sauce as the tofu.

I also heated up some storebought naan bread (another time saver, although I would have preferred homemade!), and made some basmati rice that I ate with more raita mixed in.

Overall, it was a great meal and a delicious way to end 2012!  And if you have any questions about any of the dishes, feel free to leave a comment - I just didn't want to make this post too long by giving detailed instructions for each dish!


  1. I didn't realize you guys had so much food on New Year's! I wish I could have been there to enjoy it all - everything looks great!

    1. I wish you could have tried it all too, plus we needed an extra person to help eat it!

  2. Love love love this. what an impressive spread!! I might not have left any mango bellinis for anyone else if I were there ;-)

    1. Thanks! Yes, that drink would have been right up your alley! We had actually considered a rosewater cocktail first but the mango bellini was less complicated to make

  3. Wow! Everything looks incredible! :) Next year will you ladies invite me to dinner on NYE? *hehe* Love the awesome selection of food. The mango belinis, paneer skewers and bhel puri look fantastic. Super impressive.

    1. Thanks Courtney - we would have loved your company too :) I was aiming not to have too much food so that we wouldn't be too full all night, but as it turned out we ended up being too full for dessert anyway!

  4. That is a LOT of food--I can't believe you made all that! Even if some of it was pre-made, it's still really impressive. What a great way to celebrate New Year's Eve!

  5. Love the Indian Themed New Years Party! The Dahi Sev Puri (we call the Gol Guppay) are a favorite of ours. We usually have them in Ramadan after breaking our fast...next time you should try adding some tamarind chutney on them as well!



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