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Diwali: Festival of Lights or Festival of Feasts?

October 23, 2013
Indian sweets, mithai

Indian sweets by Devnaa

Diwali, lights, diya

Dispelling Darkness by Asha Susan

The Diwali celebrations which stretch over five days are a real gastronomic treat. Traditionally, women of the household got together and started preparing and cooking several days ahead of Diwali, making both sweets (known as ‘mithai’) and a variety of savoury snacks. It is a custom for friends and family to go to each other’s homes with wishes of happiness and prosperity, where they will be offered the sweets and snacks that the women have devoted so much time in preparing.

Indian sweets, mithai

Indian sweets by Devnaa

For the Diwali meal itself, the dishes prepared traditionally vary from region to region, with many variations and adaptations by the younger, more adventurous generations. We are dipping into the collection of recipes of Anjali Pathak of the renowned and much loved Patak’s to offer you a delectable recipe to try for Diwali.

As George Bernard Shaw said: “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” Enjoy!

Herby paneer with warm green salad

Paneer

Paneer to make Herby Paneer with Green Bean Salad by Anjali Pathak

Serves: 4 people

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • For the paneer:
  • 1 x 227g block of paneer (available in the chiller cabinet of most supermarkets)
  • small handful of fresh mint
  • good handful of fresh coriander
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed if you prefer, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • For the warm green bean salad:
  • 250g peas, thawed of frozen
  • 250 g green beans, thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • good pinch of smoked paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 75g spinach, washed and drained
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste

Methods

1. Whiz together in a food processor the mint, coriander, red chilli, olive oil and pine nuts. Add a good pinch of salt.

2. Cut the paneer in half through the middle lengthways so you have two long flat pieces.

3. Add some of the herby filling onto one half and place another half on top.

4. Cut the paneer into 4 long pieces.

5. Dip into the beaten egg and roll in breadcrumbs.

6. Continue with the rest of the paneer. Place on a plate, cover with cling film and chill for at least an hour (if you have time).

7. Fry the paneer in the vegetable oil until golden brown, draining on absorbent paper.

8. In the meantime make the warm green bean salad.

9. Blanche the peas and green beans for 5 minutes in a pan of salted boiling water.

10. Drain and refresh by plunging them into ice water to keep the vibrant green colour. Drain and set aside.

11. Heat half the olive oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, smoked paprika and garlic slices and a good pinch of black pepper.

12. Once the cumin seeds start to sizzle add the peas and green beans and warm through for a few minutes.

13. Remove from the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice.

14. Add a good pinch of sea salt and toss together with the spinach leaves and the remaining olive oil.

15. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.

16. Serve the Herby paneer with the warm green bean salad.

Thank you to Anjali Pathak for sharing her recipe with us. For more of Anjali’s delicious recipes, please check out her website.

Diwali, greeting card, Ananya Cards

Diwali greeting card by Ananya

In addition to cooking for guests, Diwali is one of the most important times to send gifts and greeting cards to your relatives as well as business associates as a way of building and maintaining relationships. Ananya’s colourful selection of Diwali cards is full of the vibrancy and joyous spirit of the festival of lights – a perfect accompaniment to your gift and the ideal way to stay in touch.

Happy Diwali!

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