Exotic Flavours of Wholesome Celebrations
To Indians, a wedding is more than just the holy union of two people. First and foremost, it is an opportunity to celebrate. And for Indians, no celebration is worth a dime if it does not include sumptuous food. An Indian marriage banquet is a sight to behold and an experience to dig into. From starters to mains to desserts, the number of dishes is large and each and every dish is a sample statement of lavish hospitality extended by the bride’s parents to all the guests.
To a westerner, a traditional Indian wedding can appear like a fascinating, crazy and dazzling carnival. An Indian marriage is indeed very different from its western counterpart. Sobriety and understatement are total no-no’s. Opulence and display are the buzzwords. The bride usually wears bright red and decks up in heavy ornate jewellery (white is so not the bridal colour in most parts of India). The hands of the bride, all her female friends and relatives are decorated with delicate henna patterns. Actually, the henna ceremony or mahendi as it is called is a separate elaborate ceremony in itself that’s held a day prior to the wedding.
The groom comes to the wedding venue riding decked up like a maharaja, wearing a turban, riding atop a horse and often carrying a sword as well. In Hindu weddings, the couple exchange garlands and take seven rounds of the sacred fire accompanied by wedding chants by priests. In Sikh weddings, the rounds are performed around the holy scripture called ‘the Guru Granth Sahib’. In Muslim weddings, the bride and the groom do not get to see each other; a cleric called Qazi performs the ‘niqah’ with ‘qabool hai’ spoken as the Urdu equivalent of ‘I do’.
Loads of guests, plenty of dance and music, lights and fireworks, ornate clothes, expensive jewellery and most important of all, loads and loads of sumptuous food – this is a short summary of an Indian wedding.
At Tandoori Flames, our aim is to bring the real taste of India to the wonderful and food-loving people of Australia. Our ‘fit-for-kings’ menu includes quite a few dishes that regularly grace wedding banquets in India. Here’s a look at some of these:
- Tandoori chicken – India’s culinary gift to the world, this richly marinated and slow-roasted spicy-sublime dish is a must-serve.
- Lachcha parantha– A flaky, layered whole wheat flatbread made freshly in tandoor, a gourmand’s delight
- Kashmiri naan– A festive Indian flatbread from the beautiful state of Kashmir, stuffed with dry fruits and nuts and cooked to fragrant melt-in-the mouth crispiness in tandoor
- Rogan Josh – Another signature delicacy from Kashmir that has lamb cooked in clarified butter with aromatic spices
- Dal makhani– A delectable dish from north India, it is a perfect medley of slow cooked black lentils with onions, ginger, green chilies and fresh cream, awesome with naan / jeera rice
- Malai kofta – Mildly spicy cottage cheese and vegetable dumplings floated in a rich gravy
- Prawn Malabar – A famous seafood dish from southern state of Kerala, succulent prawns in a spicy coconut based gravy
- Onion Jeera Rice– The long white grains of aromatic basmati rice, subtly flavoured by cumin seeds and onion slices
- Lamb biryani – The ultimate in royal ‘rice and meat’ dishes, this biryani is cooked using a zealously guarded old recipe with a secret blend of spices made by the head chef personally, a dish for the nabobs. A must-serve at Muslim weddings.
- Amritsari Fish – A unique spicy batter-fried fish dish from northern India’s Punjab region, this is melt-in-your-mouth flavor all the way.
- Gulab Jamun– A dessert that’s totally soaked-in-syrup sweet rhapsody
- Mango Kulfi – India’s answer to ice creams, the mango kulfi is much loved for its sweet and cool delights.