A Regal Indian Dinner

WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh

PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson


The thing I love most about India is the textiles.


I could spend hours touching piles of Indian materials, whilst talking to shop owners about the origins and age of their fabrics. The textiles are all hand sewn by local artisans and take hours upon hours to make. Each one different, and each one more amazing than the last. I know this may sound crazy, but if you come across a piece of fabric you love BUY IT! You may not know what to do with it or how to use it, it doesn’t matter! You will eventually find a use for it, whether that be for a tablecloth, napkin, or a throw for the couch. 

You just can’t go wrong mixing up colours and patterns with this theme. Mixing glass, flower and cushion colours gives this setting movement, layers and texture. The Indian table cloth I have used is actually a bedspread, the flowers had to be dahlias because of their beautiful tones, and I've matched my pom poms back in with the dahlia colours. The orange in the dahlias is reminiscent of the colour of marigolds that is used en masse in India for gorgeous garlands. 

I have used rustic wooden plates as the charger plates, sitting a silver metal plate atop and then finished off with a brightly printed plate. This eclectic collection works well together; it’s a little bit rustic with a touch of glamour which is totally reflective of my memories of India. Using coloured glassware that matches back with the flowers and the table cloth, and candles in metal votives, we can sit regally on piles of fabric cushions.

Tables like this are perfect for friends coming over for dinner; sit down and relax. But what will you serve? Well, I can help you out there…

Butter Chicken, ingredients...

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1kg chicken breast fillets, chopped
  • 125g cashews, roasted
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Indian bay leaf* or normal bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 425g can tomato puree*
  • 150ml Massel chicken style liquid stock
  • 250ml (1 cup) thickened cream
  • Steamed Basmati rice, to serve
  • Coriander, to serve
  • Mint, to serve

Method ::

  1. Combine yoghurt, lime juice, turmeric, garam masala, chilli, cumin, garlic and ginger in a bowl. Add chicken and stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Reserve half the cashews and place remaining cashews in a food processor. Process until finely ground.
  3. Heat the butter and oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Reduce heat to low, then add paprika, ground cashews, tomato puree, stock and chicken and marinate. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in cream and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Garnish with remaining cashews, chopped coriander, fresh mint and serve with rice.


Credits: Cushions are The Design Depot and Chyka's own, Candles and silver trays are plant trays from IKEA, Wooden plates and napkins from Pottery Barn, Pom pom key rings from Canvas + Sasson, linen from Country Road. Recipe credit : Taste.com