Fizz & Simple Food for Diwali
4th November 2021
It’s that time of year again! It may be getting colder outdoors and a tendency to lean towards winter comforts, yet with that comes a calendar full of celebrations. Homes are open to friends and relatives once more and each to their own. Here, we’ve gone for simplicity to cater for numbers small and large, focusing on the ‘anchor’ of the festival over too many dishes.
This savoury snack should actually be hidden from me. When no one is looking, I can eat a whole pack. The name loosely translates as sour/sweet and a blend in itself. Picking this easy drinking South African favourite to kick things off, naturally was a hit! Pictured here is the Haldiram’s version, a well known brand.
Pairing: Graham Beck Brut
Dal Makhani – Black lentils
You would have definitely have seen this on a typical Indian restaurant menu, as a guaranteed staple that can be as lean as you like, yet packed full of flavour with ginger, garlic and chillies. This may well be full of ghee and cream depending on where you go. The key here is that it is incredibly healthy and more filling than one may realise!
Bhindi Fry – Stir Fried Okra
This one is a bit like marmite – some people may make a face just by reading the name, others absolutely love it. It has grown in popularity over recent years. It wouldn’t be my first choice dish, however featured here to demonstrate the variety of foods that can be cooked with ease. I do like them well done and picking them is an experience in itself!
Wine Pairing: Bolney Estate Cuvee Rose 2018 – Trophy Winner of the Light & Fruity Trophy at the Glass of Bubbly Awards 2021
Verdict: Of the two dishes, I felt this wine complemented the Dal better with its creamy texture and suggest it may have worked well with Bhindi that was heavier on tomatoes. Dal Makhni can be quite deep and heavy so in some instances, a still red may be the way to go.
The above was served with yellow fragrant pilau rice.
Boondi Raita – Yogurt with crispy baby balls
Yogurt is a funny one, where in some parts of India and some families, it is a given and in others, it may not even feature. My mum’s side of the family will typically have yogurt with a meal (depending on what it is) whereas I tend to see my father have a couple of spoons almost to wrap things up.
No pairing here, but a condiment or side dish that takes minutes to prepare and can serve as that additional dish if things feel a little sparse, a rare treat for those not used to it, or to cool things down if a little spicy.
Alsi Burfi – Flaxseed bites
I’m probably not a typical sweet-toothed Indian, though I may be getting this way. Let’s be frank something like this may not appeal at first glance, but they are sooo good! Homemade by my mum, with a little help from me, it is a healthier option with just the right amount of sugar to pass as an Indian sweet. I’ll be honest, I put away quite a few!
I didn’t pair this with any wine, but I’d hazard a guess that it might be worth a go!
A pre-Covid Diwali affair at my parents place, may well have followed a similar theme though with maybe double the amount of dishes. Whether you opt for simple or go all out this year, from my family to yours, a very Happy Diwali and prosperous new year!
Author: Rupa Datta – [email protected]
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