We have a wonderful custom of wining and dining the family of the bride/groom before the wedding. Not only is this a time to show the family how special they are to us, it is also a time to time we present the gift. But this custom is fast losing favour with several people just springing the news of their wedding a week before the event, or quietly getting married and then telling everyone about it, or yet again, keeping it so small and intimate that apart from the couple there are just a handful of people attending the ceremony.
However, I love this tradition and love inviting those who are near and dear. Last year when Anna Shetty got married we had five such pre-wedding intimate little dinners that made us feel so very special.
Today I am inviting the family of a dear friend whose daughter is getting married next month. When I told her that I wanted to take her out she insisted we call her home. I was so flattered by this request that I’ve gone all out to make it special. The menu is going to be eclectic because the main request was to keep things light – So I’m going to start off with grilled jumbo tiger prawns ( jumbo as in size and tiger as in striped) which I’ve marinated in a spicy mint sauce. I went specially to the market to buy them fresh as I love choosing the fattest and best prawn of the catch. This will be followed by Chicken satay. On the table I’ll be serving my special Raan and chicken biryani and a steamed ginger pomfret, a flat fish that is loved by all Bombaywallahs. With the market full of winter delights, I’ve combined fresh green pigeon peas, brinjal and gentlemen’s toes popularly known as Ivy Gourd in a spicy tomato and onion gravy to make a spicy vegetable accompaniment to the meal. To round off , there’ll be a smoked daal fry and a dahi cachumber or relish with tomato, onion and green coriander.
A meal like this warrants 5 desserts or what we like to call sweetmeats so I’m serving two of our traditional sweets – puranpoli which is a stuffed pancake served with molten ghee or milk and Shrikhand which is a creamy hung curd seasoned with saffron, and cardamom. I couldn’t resist the red juicy carrots that are only available at this time of the year so I made them into a grated halwa garnished with almonds which I will serve warm with vanilla icecream. Since the bride is a chocoholic I’ll be serving hot chocolate brownies with vanilla icecream and chocolate sauce. And for the calorie counters I’ve cut up kiwi, Anjou pear, apple, strawberries, orange and sweet lime which I will serve with a generous sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and powdered cinnamon.