It has been a little while since we hosted our last wine dinner. The last dinner was back in April, America in Miniature, when we took a culinary tour around the State of Maryland. As we prepare for our next wine dinner, the big question was (as it always is), what should be the theme? The first thing that came to my mind was a celebration. I checked the calendar (and, of course, the Internet), and I came across a website that listed all of the international festivals in the month of October. After some more research, I decided upon a theme that should be perfect for the Wine Club ... a Diwali inspired dinner.
Initially, this theme offers an opportunity to learn a little more about Diwali, an important festival for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. Diwali unfolds over five days, with the third day being celebrated as the main festival or "Festival of Lights." The lights were originally clay lamps, lit for reasons that vary with the celebrants. For example, lighting lamps represents the victory of knowledge of ignorance. Darkness represents ignorance, as well as wickedness, violence, anger, bigotry, injustice and suffering. The lighting of lamps allows light to overcome darkness, which is not only a metaphor for knowledge overcoming ignorance, but also illustrates how light reveals the beauty that surrounds us.
Of course, the Diwali celebration involves far more than lighting of clay or electric lamps. Families decorate their houses, set off firecrackers and, of course, partake in a feast of food. For this wine club, the feast will be a three course meal, with appetizers, two main courses (served together) and a dessert.
Onion and Sweet Potato Bhajji
The first course will feature a duo of Onion Bhajji and Sweet Potato Bhajji. A bhaji is a type of pakora or fritter that is a common street food in Maharashtra. And, from what I have read, bhajji are also commonly served as part of Hindu festivals, such as Dwali. I hope to have a couple of chutneys to serve with the bhajji; however, due to a lack of time, those may not be homemade.
Rogan Josh, Daal Saag, and Vegetable Pulao
The main course features two dishes - Rogan Josh and Daal Saag -- served with a vegetable pulao or rice dish. The dishes accommodate meat eaters, as the Rogan Josh is a traditional lamb dish that, although of Persian origin, is a staple of Kashmiri cuisine. They also accommodate vegetarians, as Daal Saag, which is a lentil dish that includes spinach. And, for omnivores, you can have booth.
Goan Coconut Pancakes
The last course will be Goan Coconut Pancakes, which will have a stuffing of coconuts, raisin, cardamom and nutmeg. The pancakes will be served with a little vanilla ice cream.
See you soon!