Thursday, September 16
08:35 PM

Diwali dinner

10 Nov 2020

It is customary to have pure vegetarian meals for Diwali, whether for lunch or supper. And elaborate planning often goes into creating a spread that’s varied as well as novel, though sweet dishes form an important part of the meal. So if you haven’t yet planned your Diwali dinner, don’t just decide to go with the flow with regular fare, and get away with it This year, the focus is more on strengthening relationships within the family. And food can go that extra mile in fostering stronger bonds. 

When planning your menu, make sure that the main course alone is not the highlight of the meal. Give good thought to starters and desserts, too. It’s good to begin with shots of flavoured almond milk, followed by starters like Paneer skewers/Chatpata Aloo or get more creative by making Rajma Kebabs or Cauliflower Manchurian. Your main course can include the must-have steamed rice/rotis plus gravies like Dal Tadka or Kadi-pakode, but you must also include some stunning new vegetable dishes like stuffed capsicum/brinjals, and pulaos garnished with dryfruits. A good way to finish it, before your own choice of sweets, is to  let the food sink in with a Hot Fruit Punch. Experiment, enchant, enjoy!

 

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Paneer skewers

Ingredients

500gm paneer (block)

1/2cup curd

1tsp red chilli powder

½tsp turmeric powder

1tsp garam masala

1tsp ginger-garlic paste

2tsp lemon juice

Salt, to taste

Oil for grilling

2 cups chopped capsicum, onions (large pieces)

8-10 bamboo skewers

Method

Cut the paneer into 2cm thick, large chunks. Whip the curd and add the spice powders, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, and salt. Marinate the paneer chunks in this paste and set aside in refrigerator for at least an hour. Thread the paneer pieces on the skewers – 3-4 pieces interspersed with capsicum and onion chunks. Brush the extra marinade on the vegetables and drizzle the loaded skewers with oil. Place them on a stove-top grill or on an oven rack and grill for 10-12 minutes, until the capsicum change colour but remains crunchy. Serve hot with green chutney or ketchup.

Stuffed brinjals

Ingredients

10-12 small brinjals (6-8cm length)

2tsp mince garlic

2tsp minced ginger-garlic

1tsp mince green chillies

2tsbp crushed groundnuts

1tsp red chilli powder

½tsp turmeric

1tsp garam masala

2tsp tamarind paste or tomato paste

1tsp sugar or grated jaggery

Salt, to taste

2tbsp oil

2tbsp chopped coriander – for garnish

Method

Wash the brinjals and leave the stalks on. From the bottom end, slice them two-thirds in length, aross each side to mark four quarters joined together. Set aside. Now, in a shallow pan, head 1tbsp oil and add the garlic, ginger, green chillies, and curshed groundnut and fry on medium flame for a minute. Then add all the spice powders, followed by the tamarind paste, sugar and salt. Saute this paste for 2-3 minutes – add 1tsp water if it gets too dry. Cool this mixture. Then, stuff all the cut brinjals with this mixture evenly. In the same pan, heat 1tbsp oil and add all the stuffed brinjals. Toss them in the oil, then cover with lid and cook on low flame for 6-8 minutes, turning them once. The brinjals will not remain firm when cooked well. Switch off flame and garnish with chopped coriander.

Hot Fruit Punch

Ingredients

500ml orange juice

250ml apple juice

500ml light flavoured teamwork

1tbsp sliced ginger

12 sticks cinnamon

½tsp grated nutmeg

6-8 cloves

3tbsp grated jaggery

2tbsp lemon juice

1 orange – peeled

1 apple sliced

3 oranges – segmented

Method

Combine all the ingredients, except the lemon juice and the fruits, and bring to a simmer. Then, add lemon juice and diced fruit, and serve warm in small, fancy glasses.

 

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