A Hindi Wedding Feast
If you are ever lucky enough to be invited to an Indian wedding, be prepared for the party to end all parties. Indian weddings have gained a well-deserved reputation for their sumptuous colours, beautiful costumes, lively dance-floor action and – above all – the glorious food that can make or break a day.
There are many different cultures and religions that call India home, but Hinduism is considered to be the key religion of many that inhabit the shores of the sub-continent. Marriage in Hindu culture is one of the most important events that a person can experience. It is believed to be the milestone demonstrating the transition of a Hindu from the primary stage of life, where education and learning take precedence, to the second stage: that of raising a family. This pivotal time in a Hindu’s life is therefore bound to be marked with ritual and celebration, surrounded by loved ones.
But what of the wedding breakfast? This is the time when friends and family come together, share dishes and enjoy their favourite meals with one another; a symbolic time of togetherness. Anyone who has paid a visit to one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants will understand just how rich and varied Indian cuisine is; and when, if not at a wedding, is the best occasion to showcase this delicious fare? Let’s take a closer look at the sort of delights you can expect at a Hindi wedding feast.
Hindi wedding dishes
Although there is not set menu for a Hindi wedding, you can guarantee certain ingredients will make an appearance. Celebratory foods tend to the indulgent side of the culinary spectrum with deep-fried snacks, butter and plenty of sugary treats on offer. It might be a good idea to avoid wearing tight clothing at a Hindi wedding feast!
In the Northern states, recipes that might make an appearance at an Indian wedding are likely to demonstrate the influence of the Mughals and their predilection for rich, creamy sauces and decadent desserts. Contrary to popular belief, not all Hindus are vegetarians – as well as dishes based around textured paneer, you can also expect luxurious meat curries and breads thick with butter. North Indian weddings will serve up a menu that would content even the most discerning Maharaja.
In comparison, a South Indian wedding feast is likely to veer towards the vegetarian with a feast of many courses, served on a banana leaf. Rice, dal, curds, an assortment of sabzi and a selection of chutneys will be offered to guests as well as the ubiquitous payasam, the traditional rice pudding of the south.
Of course, there will always be plenty of sweet options at an Indian wedding. Halwa is a popular choice at any important event whilst the smooth tones of barfi are also likely to tempt your tastebuds. Classic desserts such as jalebi, gulabjamun and round, little ladoos are also favourites at the Hindi wedding banquet. Plus, if there is any possibility a guest is still hungry, there will usually be a large, tiered wedding cake to tuck into, or maybe pack up to take home for later.
Guest blog written by Michelin starred Amaya restaurant in Knightsbridge, London.
For more recipe ideas, visit our Recipes page, or subscribe to our FREE monthly newsletter Bitesize for recipes, reviews and cooking tips to help you get smarter in the kitchen. Just enter your email address below.