Top 5 Recipes for a Winter Cocktail Party

After having shared with our readers Top 5 Christmas Party Snacks, Home Chef and Content Writer, Kasturi De shares some brilliant lip-smacking recipes for an ideal Christmas or a Winter Christmas feastCocktail Party. Take a look –

1. CHICKEN VOL-AU-VENT

(Serves 10)

  • For the vol-au-vent casing:
  • 250 grams flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 60 grams + 115 grams butter
  • 100 ml cold water

For the vol-au-vent filling:

1 cup boiled and shredded chicken

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup shredded cabbage

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Sift the flour and salt together. Rub in 60 grams of cold butter with your fingertips till it resembles breadcrumbs. Add cold water little at a time to form a soft elastic dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a large rectangular shape about 1/8 inch thick, about 50 cm x 20 cm. Dot 115 grams of diced soft butter over the dough. Fold the top one third down to the centre, then bottom one third up and over that. Roll over the edges of the dough with the rolling pin to seal. Wrap in cling film and chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Lightly reflour the surface and repeat the rolling and folding process, but without adding butter. Seal, wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Repeat the same process three more times.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut into bite sized squares. Score a smaller square inside each one, leaving a 7.5mm border, taking care not to cut the pastry all the way through. Put the squares on the tray and bake for 15 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When cool, carefully either remove and discard the central piece of each pastry or push it in with your little finger.

For the filling, simply mix all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. Whiz in mixer to make a semi-smooth paste. Fill this in a piping bag and pipe onto the vol-au-vent casings just before serving.

Note: – You can make vegetarian version of the same by omitting the chicken and including carrots and spring onions instead.

Vol-au-vent casing recipe – Adapted from “The Pie Book” by Caroline Bretherton

2. COCKTAIL MEATBALLS WITH BARBECUE SAUCE

(Serves 5) meat balls

  • 250 grams boneless chicken
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 6-7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed, roasted and coarsely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Oil, for frying
  • ½ teaspoon soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoon barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes

Method: Pat dry the boneless chicken. Mince with a meat grinder and keep aside. Heat a pan and add olive oil. Add the chopped onions and saute well till translucent. Add the chopped garlic and fry till raw smell of garlic goes. Add salt, pepper powder, oregano, thyme and aniseed. Mix well. Take off from heat and let it cool down.

Add the caremelised onion mixture and egg to the minced chicken. Crumble bread with your hands and add to the mince. Mix. Wet your palms and form bite sized balls. Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the chicken balls on full flame till golden brown. Add soya sauce, tomato sauce and barbecue sauce to the pan and twirl around to coat the balls well. Sprinkle chili flakes and serve hot.

3. PAN FRIED QUAIL LEGS WITH PINEAPPLE GINGER GLAZE

(Serves 5) Christmas feast

  • 10 quail leg-thigh pieces
  • 2 large knobs of butter

Marinade:

  • ¼ teaspoon rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste

For the glaze:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, shopped
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, pureed
  • ½ teaspoon soya sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3-4 tablespoon honey
  • A pinch of rosemary
  • Salt, to taste

Method: Wash and clean the quail. Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel. Marinate with all the ingredients listed under ‘marinade’ overnight or for 6-8 hours.

Prepare the glaze by heating olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and saute till translucent. Add the ginger and fry for few seconds. Add the pineapple puree and saute on high flame for a minute or two. Add the chicken stock, soya sauce and salt and bring to a rolling boil. Put a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the rosemary and honey. Keep tasting and checking for seasoning. Take off heat when it reaches a sauce like consistency.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Heat a pan till it is smoking hot. Add butter to it. Once butter melts, add the marinated quail. Quickly sear off both sides of each piece till it is golden brown. Transfer to an oven proof dish, brush with the glaze and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes or till juices run clear.

Drizzle glaze generously over the quail before serving.

4. SUPER CRUNCHY PRAWN FRITTERS

(Serves 5) prawn fritters

  • 20-25 large prawns
  • Oil for deep frying

Marinade:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce

For the batter:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • A pinch of red chili powder
  • A pinch of dry yeast
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cold soda, as required
  • Devein, wash and clean prawns. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Marinate with the items listed under ‘marinade’ and keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Method: Prepare batter by whisking all the dry ingredients. Add chilled soda to the dry ingredients and whisk till it forms a smooth, thick batter.

Heat oil in a kadai. Dip prawns in the batter and fry till golden brown. Serve with your favourite sauce.

Note:- Instead of prawns, you can use strips of chicken, fish or baby corn.

5. SCHEZWAN SESAME CHICKEN

(Serves 5) SESAME CHICKEN

  • 250 grams boneless chicken
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 5 dry red chilies, deseeded and chopped diagonally
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 spring onion greens, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • Salt, to taste

Marinade:

  • ½ tablespoon garlic paste
  • 3 tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 2 teaspoon vinegar

Method: Pat dry boneless chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Marinate with the ingredients listed under ‘marinade’ for 2-3 hours. Heat oil in a pan. Add the chopped red chilies and garlic. Once garlic turns light brown, add the marinated chicken and fry on high heat. Add the sugar and salt to taste. Mix cornflour with little water and add to the chicken. Toss and keep frying till sauce coats the chicken pieces well. Garnish with chopped spring onion greens and sesame seeds.

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