Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

Designing the Menu

For my Monsoon Wedding Dinner & a Movie, I have a general idea of the types of dishes I want to serve. A couple of years ago, I came up with my own appetizer: steamed shrimp with a little curry powder added to the cooking water. Once they were done, they were subtly infused with the essence of curry, and I served them with a tiny dollop of mango chutney placed right in the center of the curl. It's so quick and easy that I definitely want to make up a batch of those.

For soup, it has to be Mulligatawny. Ever since I had that delicious bowl of it at Gaylord's in San Francisco's Ghiradelli Square, I've been wanting to try my hand at it. For the salad, something cool and refreshing made with yogurt. And for the main course, at least two entrees, one with lamb, and the other, Chicken Vindaloo, mostly because the I like the name of it and have always wondered what it was.

I also want to bake my own naan bread, and where I really want to get adventurous is with the chutneys. Jamie Oliver, aka The Naked Chef, made a really tasty looking Lemon Pickle on his show one evening to go with a curry dish. I've already looked that one up on the Internet. And there's a tamarind chutney in the Joy of Cooking that looks really good too. We have a large Mexican population in Napa, so the Mexican groceries here in town are sure to have plenty of tamarind pods or paste. I'm going to find one or two more chutney recipes at a website called SweetBabyMedia.com, and I have a huge jar of classic mango chutney that I found at an online grocer called IShopIndian.com. And if we manage to get through dinner without popping at the seams, I will serve a store-bought mango sorbet along with some simple slices of fresh fruit.