Last night, the Husband and I were invited to our first-ever Diwali party. We both had to consult Wikipedia and a few friends to study up on this “festival of lights” and make sure we brought our house-guest “A” game. A friend told us that in some Indian states, Diwali is celebrated as New Year’s, though others at the party disagreed. (I wore some sparkles, just in case.) Either way, we were happy to be invited – especially as it held special significance for the hostess: her first Diwali as a newly married woman.
The food was unbelievably, ridiculously, incredibly delicious – and 100% vegetarian. She told us she had been up since 7AM that morning cooking and Skyping with her mom back in India, and it showed through in each dish. Nothing we had tasted like anything either of us had ever sampled in any Indian-style restaurant. We learned, actually, that most of the restaurants and style of food with which we’re familiar come from North India, and even more specifically, from the Punjab region. This is where dishes like tandoor, naan, and paneer come from (though a little research on aforementioned Wikipedia implies that chicken tikka comes from Southern India, while my favorite, chicken tikka masala, might actually have its roots in the Indian community in the United Kingdom!).
I won’t even attempt to recreate the dishes here. If you’re interested, though, I found the following recipe for the all-star appetizer, Papdi Chaat, with relatively simple, step-by-step instructions here.