Spice Season

Turning to India for an easy feast

Spring is about to get a little spicy.

For May's Dinner Party, we turned to India. After all, the cast of such familiar springtime players as spinach, rhubarb, lamb and yogurt are plenty delicious on their own. But a little spice transforms.

To begin, spike your guests' cocktails with Assam tea and ginger. Then, for snacking, try a spinach salad enlivened with butter-fried cashews and mango-chutney vinaigrette.

Dinner's centerpiece is a refreshingly simple coriander- and cumin-dressed leg of lamb, which takes only 20 minutes to cook. To accompany the lamb, yogurt is topped with pan-fried okra and a spunky spice blend, and cauliflower is roasted with a quintet of intoxicating spices. (Bonus: Make a spiced rhubarb chutney for a sweet-tart contrast.)

Finally, dessert: a quivering panna cotta gilded with cardamom-sugared rose petals.

Your spice cabinet—and your guests—will feel duly appreciated.

Bright floral accents and vividly-hued dishes set the tone for our Indian-inspired feast.

Bright yellow spice-roasted cauliflower stands out both in flavor and color.

Jewel-toned dishes, such as this pink rhubarb chutney, add a splash of color.

Mango vinaigrette and a sprinkling of cashews elevate a simple spinach salad.

Nigella adds an onion flavor to deliciously soft, chewy naan bread. 

Creamy okra raita made from cooling yogurt is a key contrasting side dish.

This spread of Indian-inspired dishes plays beautifully together on the plate.