Diwali, or Deepavali, as it is more commonly known in the south of India (and Singapore), is the Festival of Lights, and a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends.
This festive time of year, the New Year for all Hindus, is a great time to dress up and entertain. That said, it’s a festivals for all to celebrate – Hindus and non-Hindus, locals and expats alike.
If you’re nervous about cooking Indian food at home, don’t be! We’ve got you covered with three simple and crowd-pleasing recipes that will make your guests swoon with delight. Combine your homemade dishes with some store-bought bits and bobs from Little India and you’ll be all set!
Start your guests off with some nice wine, bubbles or whisky (Indians love their whisky—especially single malts) accompanied by some nibbles such as chips and dips, dried fruit and nuts, Samosas with tamarind and/or coriander chutney, and ready to assemble ‘Chaat’ boxes like Sev Puri and Pani Puri (Indian street food) – best of all, all of this are available at Mustafa!
A favorite homemade appetizer we love to serve is Aloo Tikki, a simply spiced potato patty that is warm and comforting.
2. Main course
Moving on to the main course, Tandoori chicken is a massive crowd-pleaser.
This recipe can be used to ‘Tandoori’ anything—meaning that the marinade is versatile enough for fish, paneer, prawns and even veggie skewers. You can head out to your condo BBQ or crank up the oven to its highest setting to mimic a traditional Indian Tandoor.
Tandoori items go well with Daal (lentil curry) or Chana Masala and Basmati rice. Or if you have more health conscious friends, you could serve with a nice salad and some Naans or other Indian breads (buy from the grocery store and pop in the toaster or oven).
No Diwali celebration is complete without the sweet stuff! In fact, making and gifting traditional sweets is core to the festival and celebrations.
Traditionally, sweets are offered to the Gods and especially to Goddess Lakshmi (the revered Goddess of wealth who is at the center of attention for this festival) during the prayer ceremonies and then consumed after by mere mortals as blessings. Traditional sweets are also given as gifts to family and friends.
Traditional Indian sweets are known as ‘Mithai’ and you can buy colorful mithai at various places in Little India at this time of year. (I highly recommend having a wander around to check out the festivities and beautiful decorations and lights after dark!)
If you’re feeling brave, show off your culinary skills by making this traditional Indian dessert, known as Halwa, at home.
So light up those candles, spruce up your home with fairy lights and colorful flowers, pop on some Bollywood tunes and get ready for some festive fun.
By Namita Moolani Mehra, October 2016
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