10 Minute Meal – Indian Spread

This week we are going Zero to Party: Planning, Shopping and Prep in 30 Minutes. To handle all of your planning, shopping and cooking in such a short amount of time, you need to cook pretty damn fast. Look for 10 minute menus all week to help you take the stress out of hosting.

I spend a fair bit of time and verbiage on this blog talking about how Indian food shouldn’t be intimidating.

If you haven’t dove in yet, now you have zero excuse. I have even simplified the recipes further to include fewer hard-to-find spices and less steps!

What to Serve for a 10 Minute Indian Meal

  • Palak (spiced spinach)
  • Chavli (spiced black eyed peas)
  • Raita (yogurt salad)
  • Rotis (flatbreads)


You need to make big portions of the two curries. Spinach boils down quite a bit, so you need a somewhat obscene amount to start with.

For eight people, your shopping list would be:

  • 1 tub of tamarind pulp
  • 1 large tub of yogurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 cans of black eyed peans
  • 2 16 oz. containers of spinach leaves
  • 2 packages of rotis or whole wheat tortillas
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 4 green chilies
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • turmeric powder
  • black mustard seeds

I’m assuming you have the following in your pantry. If not, you should also pick these things up:

  • garlic
  • flour
  • cumin
  • garam masala
  • red chili powder
  • canola oil
  • sugar
  • salt


(mins 1-2) Fill a large pot with water, cover, and set on the stove over high heat. Heat four tablespoons of oil in a large pan over medium-low heat with half a teaspoon each of turmeric and black mustard seeds.

(mins 3-4) Chop the garlic and ginger and set aside. Add the spinach leaves to the hot water, pushing them down so they all fit. Heat another frying pan over medium-low heat with two tablespoons of oil and the garlic and ginger.

(mins 5-6) Drain the black eyed peas and put them in the hot oil. Add the spices – a half teaspoon each salt and chili powder, a teaspoon of garam masala, and two teaspoons each sugar and tamarind. Mix and remove from heat.

(mins 7-8) Drain and puree the spinach and add it to the pan with the ginger and garlic. Mix in one teaspoon each flour and garam masala. Salt to taste, and remove from heat.

(mins 9-10) Pour the yogurt in a serving bowl and mix it with two teaspoons each cumin and sugar and one teaspoon each salt and red chili powder. Roughly chop the tomatoes and cucumber and mix them into the yogurt.

Serving Dinner

Let your guests start with wine and hold off on the food until everyone has arrived. A sweet riesling or a crisp rose is the perfect accompaniment for the complex spices in Indian food.

Bring out all the dishes and the bread along with large round plates for your guests. Everyone should spoon a little bit of each dish in one section of their plate. Then, you rip off a piece of bread and use it to scoop up some curry.

If someone eats something too spicy, like a stray piece of green chili, the yogurt salad will cool their mouth down right away.

Enjoy! (and then try out more Indian food ;))