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India

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Entertaining Indian Style

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On my last trip to India I was invited to an Indian Banquet in Delhi.......and the true magnificence of Indian entertaining was brought home to me......

The party began at twilight in the garden, and as the guests arrived we were given bracelets made of fresh jasmine we were sprinkled with refreshing rose water. The entrance floor was covered with rose petals and the gate covered with exquisite white, orange and red flowers. The garden was illuminated with diyas or oil lamps. Scattered about were a number of ‘takhats’ (or low wooden platforms for the guests to sit on), that were covered with dhurries or rugs.

There were ‘qawali singers’ clapping out the rhythms and singing artful lyrics that could be addressed to God or one’s love. There were the traditional fruit drinks or ‘sherbets’ - chilled lytchee, mango, pomegranate, apple juices with a dash of key lime juice added to take the edge off the sweetness- garnished with rose petals. There were also fruit juices that were flavored with tamarind, ginger, sugar and salt and garnished with fresh mint leaves. The mouth watering appetizers - bujiyas, pakodas, samosas, tandoori paneer, spiced nuts and chivda - were artfully arranged in silver trays.

The dinner was served indoors. This particular family was vegetarian and the menu consisted of vegetarian biryani, palak paneer, malai kofta, dum alloo, dal and boondi ka raita with pooris, parantha and tandoori roti.. There was an array of fresh chutneys and the meal ended with (deserts) kulfi and khir.

Throughout the meal members of the host family stood in attendance, urging guests to second and third helpings. The scrumptious meal ended with silver covered paans.

After dinner came time for relaxation, informal discussions and then everyone began to play antakshri (a game where one team sings a song and challenges the other team to begin singing a song beginning with the last sound in their song).

Before leaving we complimented the host by saying that the evening was magical and the food was lajawaab (made us speechless).


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The basic Indian meal consists of a Thali (large round platter and may consist of a banana leaf, pure silver or gold, clay, steel or porcelain) used as a dinner plate. The thali or platter contains vegetable dishes, lentil dishes, yogurt or raita (yogurt salsa), salad, rice, bread, chutneys, pickles and papad. The essence of the thali is to incorporate a treasure house of tastes and textures to delight the taste buds.


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Chinese Cuisine
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Thai Cuisine
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About Eastern Beauty