In what we’ve dubbed ‘Table Travel’ luxury lifestyle influencer  Kelli Delaney Kot, founder of KDHamptons, looks to India for inspiration to create a decadent dinner party at her country home in the Hamptons. Here she shares her entertaining and culinary tips to transform your home into a vibrant Bollywood scene complete with a lavish Indian-inspired feast.

KDHamptons Kelli Delaney Kot Indian inspired dinner party
Image Credit: Ben Potter

The Inspiration: Exotic India

indian inspired decor
Image Credit: Ben Potter

“Just because we can’t travel right now, doesn’t mean we can’t take a journey to far-flung destinations through food, decor and culture. I curated this soirée to transport my guests to exotic India for an unforgettable evening without leaving our Hamptons backyard.”

Set The Scene: The Beautiful Colors of Bollywood

Image Credit: Ben Potter

“When it came to curating the palette for my decor, I looked to bold pinks, purple, gold, and emerald tones. My first design stop took me on a day trip to New York City to my favorite boutique in Little India called OM, located at 120 Lexington Avenue.  They sell the most gorgeous saree fabrics, and I selected yards of mixed embroidered fabrics to be sewn into table cloths by my local tailor. I also bought a beautiful kaftan from Jeannie McQueeny to wear on the night.” 

Indian inspired dinner party
Image Credit: Ben Potter

Floral Burst: For the porch, I designed a harvest style vignette with giant colorful mums from Fowler’s Garden Center Southampton and mixed teal, cream and orange pumpkins from Halsey Farm, Water Mill. Tucked in with the mums were white marble buddhas I found at James Maguire Antiques, Hampton Bays. Erin Meaney of Topiaire Flower Shop, Southampton designed my pretty petite bouquets of orange spray roses, bronze football mums, eucalyptus, and brain celosia.

The Tablescape: A highlight of the table was the centerpiece, an eight-foot-tall palm tree sprinkled with fairy lights. As for the tabletop decor, my favorite pink, gold, and garden floral Versace Butterfly Garden dinnerware (by Rosenthal) were the perfect fit. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns, I also added in some vintage Moroccan serving dishes and exotic fruits in between the votives and flowers.

Let there be light: Lighting is such an important element for creating an inviting but intimate ambiance. We lit a big fire and layered dozens of candles and lanterns around the yard. It was a balmy evening and as our guests arrived for cocktails at 6:30pm, they were greeted with the warm wafting scent of incense, burning firewood and sitar music playing in the background.

The Menu: The Flavors of India

Indian inspired dinner party
Image Credit: Ben Potter

For cocktail hour, guests enjoyed delicious Indian-inspired small bites including samosas, mini beef kebabs and Tandori marinated shrimp served on trays garnished with Indian spices and vibrant flowers. We sipped our signature cocktail of the night; ‘Casa Paloma’ (recipe below) made with Casamigos tequila, fresh grapefruit and lime juice. For dinner, guests headed to a lavishly set buffet table to savor the flavors and delicacies of India. Janet O’Brien Caterers + Events, Sag Harbor designed an authentic Indian menu with hero dishes including lemongrass chili chicken with coconut milk, green lentil dal and vegetarian curry. I enlisted my friend and tireless wine sleuth Michael Cinque of Amagansett Wine & Spirits to curate the perfect pairing menu for dinner. The finishing touch was berry parfait with toasted coconut flakes and warm chocolate brownie bites. 

Indian inspired dinner party
Image Credit: Ben Potter

Small Plates 

  • Warm samosas in a whole wheat wrap with curried vegetables served with a cumin yogurt
  • Tandoori marinated sauteed shrimp with a pickled lemon jelly dip served on a bed of translucent lemons
  • Fresh figs with a whipped honeyed fresh goat cheese finished with mint
  • Mini ‘kabob’ of curried marinated beef 
  • Mini coconut rice fritters finished with clove served with a pureed mango chutney

The Feast 

  • Lemongrass chili chicken with coconut milk 
  • Vegetarian curry with diced potato, peas, lima beans, squash and tomato
  • Indian red cabbage salad with carrots, tomatoes, roasted peanuts and julienne guava, finished with lemon and cilantro
  • Saffron rice with sides of mango date chutney spinach palak pure diced cucumber with cilantro and lemon zest
  • Green lentil dal
  • Warm Tandoori naan and whole wheat Rotis 

Signature Cocktail: Casa Paloma

  • 2 oz. Casamigos Reposado Tequila
  • .75 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • .5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • .25 oz. agave nectar
  • Splash of grapefruit soda
  • Grapefruit slice for garnish

Combine all ingredients, except grapefruit soda, into a shaker. Add ice, shake vigorously, and strain in a rocks glass. Add fresh ice, top off with grapefruit soda, and garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

Traveling to India?

“I had intended to visit India before the pandemic hit and am looking forward to my first visit to the Taj Mahal. Until then you will find me nama-staying at home, but check out this extensive Indian travel diary my sister, Kim Hopkins of Kim Hopkins Travel wrote for KDHamptons, which has fabulous tips I intend to follow.”