Feedback

Deepavali Goodies: 3 Chefs Share Their Favourite Savoury Treats

As we celebrate Deepavali on 6 November this year, three Indian chefs share their food memories and favourite dishes from the Festival of Lights.
Share
Deepavali goodies are irrevocably linked to traditional Indian sweets called mithai. Typically made with fresh milk, nuts and spices, these saccharine parcels come in a kaleidoscopic range of colours that can rival a sari of an Indian matriarch. Besides mithai, there is a wealth of savoury dishes and snacks that also bring about much Deepavali cheer. We get three chefs from three popular Indian restaurants to dish out their favourite festive savouries.
1. Manjunath Mural, Director Of Cuisine, The Song Of India
https://d3h1lg3ksw6i6b.cloudfront.net/media/image/2018/11/05/9505e0c1f7b64a97869e0c2c3949fc03_Deepavali+Food_Spinach+with+Pressed+Cottage+Cheese.jpg

What are two of your favourite savoury dishes to celebrate Deepavali? 

Grilled wheat bread stuffed with coconut and peanuts, and paneer kasundi (left). The latter has cottage cheese cooked in kasundi (mustard) and spinach leaves puree. For my rendition, I have added some wet spices into the cheese before it is tempered in mustard oil, spices and finished off with butter and cream.

My neighbour used to prepare paneer kasundi, which we ate with fried poori. It is a unique dish that cannot be found in many Indian restaurants.

What’s your favourite Deepavali food memory?
The stuffed peanut and coconut wheat bread has always been my favourite festive dish. My siblings and I always requested that our mum or grandmother make this for us. We would wait anxiously as the bread was rolled out. I love crisp texture of the savoury bread, while the coconut and peanut filling is slightly sweet.

How do you celebrate Deepavali these days?
I usually celebrate the festival in the restaurant as it is a busy period for us. However, I always have a post-Deepavali party with my family and colleagues. It is something that I always look forward to.

New savoury dishes on The Song Of India’s four-course Deepavali menu ($79++ per person, till 10 November) include Nagaland Bamboo Shoot Soup, Spinach Kasundi and Coorg Mangalorean Fish Curry

Chakli is a delicious spiral-shaped snack made with Bhajani flour (made with lentils, rice and spices). (Credit: Renju's Curry World)
Chakli is a delicious spiral-shaped snack made with Bhajani flour (made with lentils, rice and spices). (Credit: Renju's Curry World)

2. Milind Sovani, Corporate Chef, Rang Mahal

What are two of your favourite savoury dishes to celebrate Deepavali?

I am from Mumbai and Maharashtrians have a huge range of Deepavali savouries and sweets. My two favourite savouries are chakli (above) and poha chivda.

Chakli is a delicious spiral-shaped snack made with Bhajani flour (made with lentils, rice and spices). Poha chivda is a crispy snack mix, comprising dry-roasted, thinly flaked rice that is tempered with mustard seeds, asafoetida, coriander seeds, turmeric curry leaves and fried peanuts.


What’s your favourite Deepavali food memory?

My mother, Shalini Sovani, was an expert at making chakli. She always made the bhajani flour from scratch. She soaks the grains and pulses, sun-dries them for a few days and bring them to a nearby flour mill to grind them to the right coarseness. I used to accompany her to the flour mill, and enjoyed the aromas there as many ladies also visited the flour mill to make all kinds of flours.

My mum used to make fresh chakli a few days before Deepavali and we were not allowed to consume them before the festival. We always tried to steal them from her but those efforts were in vain.

How do you celebrate Deepavali these days?

My family and I attend festive events organised by the Maharashtrian association here. My wife and I also host a home party for our friends.

New dishes in Rang Mahal’s festive menu (till 7 November) include Lotus Root and Avocado Kebab, Soya Paneer and Edamame Stir Fried In Ginger And Kerala Pepper, and Wheat Germ And Barley Kheer Pudding.

Masala chivda is a savoury snack made with fried flattened rice flakes, raisins, peanuts and spices. (Credit: Punjab Grill)
Masala chivda is a savoury snack made with fried flattened rice flakes, raisins, peanuts and spices. (Credit: Punjab Grill)
3. Javed Ahamad, Corporate Chef, Punjab Grill

What are two of your favourite savoury dishes to celebrate Deepavali?
Masala chivda (fried flattened rice flakes, raisins, peanuts and spices) and kasuri methi mathri (crispy flour cracker). The latter is popular in northern regions of India such as Punjab and Delhi. It can be either baked or deep-fried. Both snacks are my childhood favourites.

What’s your favourite Deepavali food memory?
Whenever my mum made the dough for methi mathri, she would give me some dough to play with. Nowadays, I do the same with my child. I remember my mum cooking lots of sweet and savory dishes during the festive period, though I prefer the snacks that have the sightly pungent fenugreek flavour.

How do you celebrate Deepavali these days?
I usually celebrate Deepavali with my staff and friends, as it is a busy period for Indian restaurants. We usually cook and enjoy simple dishes such as potato curry with puri (puffed bread).

Punjab Grill’s Deepavali menu ($120++ per pax, till 8 November) includes chicken tikka masala roulade, pandan leaf-flavoured pulao and rajma, and aloo masaledar.

RELATED: Recipe: Easy Homemade Mithai For Diwali

Share on:
Subscribe to the Michelin Guide Newsletter
Stay on top of best Restaurants, Lifestyle, Events recommended in your city.