An Indian grandma passing on her infinite wisdom to her granddaughters most possibly coined the phrase ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’. There is no doubt that Indians love their food but just like the Italians and Greeks it’s because food ties families together. Indian wives, mothers, grandmothers and even some husbands and fathers in nearly every home in India still lovingly cook delicious food that doesn’t just satiate hunger but also exudes warmth and affection.
Indian food’s soul nourishing properties aside, it is a veritable feast for all the senses with its eye-catching colours, unique aromas, interesting textures and distinctive flavours. Even though Indian food prepared anywhere from small household kitchens to fancy Michelin star restaurants is utterly lip smacking, Indian wedding food is just spectacular!
The decadence of Indian wedding food begins with the mind-boggling spread of delicacies laid out for the guests to enjoy at every function. The menus are curated to correspond to the caste, community and religion of the families of the couple and include traditional dishes as well as modern cuisines to suit everyone’s palate. It is extremely common to have all vegetarian food throughout the wedding festivities and while that may seem completely ridiculous to those who love their meat, the delectable vegetarian fare served up at Indian weddings is sure to have them licking their fingers in no time.
North Indian wedding spreads usually feature heavily Mughlai influenced dishes that include a lot preparations of paneer, creamy curries, tandoori meats and buttery naans. Coastal Hindu weddings like Goan and Konkan have mainly crab and fish based curries while South Indian wedding food menus are big on rice dishes like lemon rice and curd rice with a variety of vegetables, lentils and even dosas. Traditional South Indian weddings are often served on long banana leaves without plates and cutlery as guests are expected to eat with their hands.
Irrespective of the kind of Indian wedding or even the scale and grandeur of the celebrations, the wedding food is the highlight of every Indian wedding and there is every chance that wedding guests will leave the affair with their taste buds completely satisfied and their bellies significantly larger after gorging on everything on offer. If you happen to be invited to your first Indian wedding, are in the midst of planning one or are an incorrigible food fiend then read on for a list of some totally scrumptious Indian wedding food that cannot be missed.
1. Chaat Counters
Chaats are the ideal mid-day hunger pang solutions and starters for those long Indian wedding ceremonies that go on for hours. After the initial excitement of the baraat dancing and the first glimpse of the bride in her finery, chances are you will be ravenous from all the excitement. These deep fried concoctions in different shapes and sizes are served with a combination of sweet and savoury sauces and mixed up in live counters to suit each person’s taste preference of sweet, spicy or tangy. From light and airy Bhel Puris, Sev Puris and Paani Puris to the slightly more filling Dahi Bhalla Chaats and Papdi Chaats there is something for every kind of hunger. These yummy Indian specialties are often the busiest of all the live counters and with very good reason.
2. Butter Chicken / Paneer Butter Masala
Indian curry fanatics who are not Indian maybe shocked to find out that their beloved Chicken Tikka Masala isn’t really an Indian curry but an anglicized version of the mouth-watering Butter Chicken that is a North Indian wedding food staple. Soft chicken pieces that melt in the mouth are marinated with yogurt and spices then added to a fiery red curry chock full of flavour and Indian herbs.
This rich and creamy gravy based dish accompanied with naan or rice has put Indian food on the world food map. Vegetarians can devour Paneer Butter Masala that is an equally tasty and not at all inferior substitute for the famous Butter Chicken.
Another world renowned Indian dish and Indian wedding food menu favourite is the Biryani. The rice dish is prepared in a variety of ways in different parts of India. Biryanis can be made with a combination of meats, vegetables, dried fruits, nuts and spices. Some also include raisins for some sweetness that cuts through the rich and spicy taste.
4. Jalebi and Rabdi
Although these can be had at any time of the year from any sweet shop, the lovely thing about serving Jalebi and Rabdi at an Indian wedding is the ability to have them made freshly and watch the process.
A sweet-maker pours the sweet jalebi mixture in boiling hot oil in circular shapes through a piping bag and as the batter takes on a lovely golden yellow colour it is then injected or mixed with sugar syrup. Perfectly cooked warm jalebis that are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside served with cold rabdi top the list of every Indian wedding food menu wish list. Plus the sweet maker churning out those gorgeous jalebis doubles up as entertainment for the guests while they wait patiently for their sweet treats.
The Indian ice-lolly or snow cone dunked in numerous flavoured syrups and served in cups or on stickswould make a charming addition to any Indian wedding food menu for destination weddings by the beach or in hot weather. Not to mention the oh-so-colourful display of all the different coloured and flavoured syrups that will add a whimsical touch to the décor.
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