Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Gourmet Party

The entire NRI side of the clan is expected to land in Delhi early June – Kitty the award winner chef is arriving from the East Coast; Gittoo the IIT-Kellog combination will come from the West Coast; Mini is heading in from Singapore and Prahlad from Shanghai. This is the annual vacation, carefully synchronised so that the parents can savour that rare joy of going back in time and having all the family together – the joy further to be compounded because the children are flying in with their better halves and their children.

Apart from shopping, the top most agenda on their hit list in India is to pounce on Indian street food. But poor guys – with their sanitised throats and branded stomachs, no restaurant is safe for them. So it’s been decided that the Indian side of the family will host them during their brief stint in India. And I being the eldest have been given the privilege of preparing the maiden dinner. Though beaming on the outside, I am quivering inside. For my forte is Continental or Chinese – but these NRIs want pure desi khana, preferably with all the flourishes of the North West Frontier.

My better half though, doesn’t appreciate my apprehension – after all how difficult is it to cook the simple moong daal with my signature jeera and kasturi methi tadka? Throw in one karhai paneer and any seasonal vegetable and it’s all over. But being the perfectionist I am, I’m planning for a totally Indian experience – menu, ambience, music, lights...

Initially I didn’t know who to turn to and where to start. I ransacked the net for the best options – that’s how I hit on the Kitchens of India. The neighbouring shopkeeper swears by the magic of their products.
From Kitchens of India I have picked up the Rich Black Daal Bukhara – just heat and serve – and that will take a great load off my head on that day; and I’ll make the lovely, soft Paneer Labradar – in which I will throw in their Paneer Makhani masala. These are the two hot favourites in any Indian meal.

Then will come the Veg Jalfrazie and the Methi Malai Matar. A wave of the wand and all my dishes are bound to be transformed by these Kitchens of India masalas... I’m confident. It’ll take me back to my grandmother’s time - how she would grind all these masalas in the dauri danda (the mortar and the pestle). Where do we have the patience to do that now? Yes the Midas touch will come from the Kitchens of India. The crowning glory – the dessert – will be the Jodhpuri Moong Daal Halwa – again from their arsenal, and my very special ‘saffron-almond-walnut-and-fig Kheer’. Ah how the mouth waters even as I pen this down!

Whatever I cook will be ‘Super A Grade’. So let the party begin:

The music - Hindustani classical - will be from our favourite jugalbandi CD of Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma and. Ustad Zakir Hussain. To the playlist we plan to add the haunting strains of a sarod performance by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. The dress code will be kurta pyjama for men and sarees for the ladies. At the entrance of our flat I plan to place diyas out among marigolds. I’ll hand out gajras of white, heavily fragranced motia to the women. Aromatic floating candles will adorn the dining room. In the drawing room all the wall hangings will be replaced with Radha Krishna and Ganesha panels and my stunning red phulkari chunni will be the perfect backdrop for the Thalis and katoris and brass tumblers. China, as one would guess, will be hidden away.

So the perfect confluence of music, bright flowers blended with the Indian theme of the food has been decided. The dinner has to be a great success. And when they ask me for the recipes, I’ll point them to the Kitchens of India homepage!!


sahi said...

a crisp neat post!:)

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