Festive food

Batter-fried cauliflower - Photo courtesy Jamie Oliver
Batter-fried cauliflower - Photo courtesy Jamie Oliver

TODAY Divali will be celebrated around the world and as with every other religious festival, part of the celebration is marked by the preparation of delicious foods which are shared to family and friends.

Here in TT Hindus and non-Hindus celebrate this beautiful festival either by partaking in a Divali feast or preparing it ourselves to enjoy with loved ones. The important thing is that we all take time out to revel in the magnificence of the lights of Divali and enjoy the delicious foods. Here are some exciting dishes that you can add to your festive menu.

Batter-fried Cauliflower with curry and cumin

This delicious starter can easily replace any traditional Indian delicacy

For the batter:

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg

½ cup water

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp salt

⅓ cup chopped chadon beni

1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

1 cauliflower, cut into segments

coconut oil for frying

Combine all the ingredients for the batter and stir well to a smooth consistency.

Heat oil in a deep fry pot.

Dip cauliflower pieces into batter and fry in hot oil unitl golden and tender.

Drain and serve with spicy yogurt dip

Serves 4 to 6

Spicy Yogurt Dip

1½ cups thick yogurt

½ cup mayonnaise

1 cup chopped fresh coriander or shadow beni

½ cup chopped chives

1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped

salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients and chill until ready to use.

Makes about 2 cups.

Spicy Indian Rice

¼ cup ghee

1 large onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ hot pepper, seeded and diced

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cumin

1 tsp saffron powder

2 cups basmati rice, washed and drained

4 cups vegetable broth

1½ teaspoons salt

⅓ cup toasted chopped almonds

In a medium-sized saucepan heat ghee and add onion and garlic cook until fragrant, add pepper and stir.

Add rice and spices, stir and fry for a couple of minutes more.

Add broth, and salt and bring to a boil.

Cover and continue to cook for 15 minutes.

Turn off heat, add almonds. Fluff with a fork before serving

Serves 6 to 8

Shakkar- Paara

Deep-fried Sugary Cookies with Cardamon

½ cup sugar

2 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed

1½ cups flour

4 tbs shortening

coconut oil for frying

In a small pot combine sugar and water. Cook until sugar melts.

Turn off heat, add cardamom seeds.

Mix flour with shortening. Rub fat into flour until the texture is of small peas.

Pour in the hot syrup and knead until dough forms a ball.

Heat oil in a wok or frying pan.

Divide dough into 4 balls, roll each ball into ½-inch thick circles, cut the cookies into diagonal shapes.

Fry in hot oil until golden. Shower with powdered sugar.

Drain and store in an airtight container.

Makes about 32 cookies

Indian Sweet Rice or Kheer

I love this sweet rice, the rice becomes very creamy and wonderful, and it’s great served warm or chilled.

½ cup rice

2/3 cup water

7½ cups milk

3/4 cup sugar

2 cardamom pods

1 tbs toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup raisins

Soak the rice in ½ cup water for 30 minutes. Then boil the rice in the water until all the water dries up. Remove pot from the heat.

Add the milk and cardamom pods to the rice and stir well. Simmer on low heat for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally to ensure rice does not stick to the bottom and sides of the pan. At this point the rice will be of a creamy consistency.

Now add the sugar stirring constantly over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the rice is creamy.

Remove from the heat, remove the cardamom pods. Serve in individual bowls garnished with toasted almonds and raisins.

Serves 8.


"Festive food"

More in this section