Food During The Festive Days In India
Image Credit: Narkel Nadu

Festive greetings to all my dear readers. The past week has gone by in a blur of religious festivities, which were in full flow this year with pronounced fervour, with everyone (well, almost everyone) having got over the Covid-19 pandemic and its hangover. 

In Hyderabad, just like other metros, Durga Puja pandals were back in all their former glory and the bhog counters were choc a bloc with families. So were the food stalls, if not exactly brimming over with customers as it happened in the pre-Covid years, doing pretty good business. 

In short, the singaras, the veg/fish/mutton/chicken chops/cutlets fried crisp and hot, the greasy cholesterol-inducing Mughlai parathas, the chicken tikka egg rolls, the bhetki fish fry, the clanging woks of Chindian (Chinese-Indian) noodles, fried rice and chicken, shawarma, ice creams, golas, tandoor/Irani/Darjeeling chai had their own bands of loyal patrons, and all was good with the culinary world, going by the world of puja pandals.  

And how could I forget my favourite, the ‘mishti’ stalls? Personally speaking, it is always stocking up time for me on all rare (and not so rare) Bong sweetmeats like Sitabhog, Mihidaana, Chenna Jilapi, Narkel Naru, Kamala Bhog and Mishti Doi, with Nolen Gur Sondesh and Kaancha Gola thrown in. More than the larger sweet shop brands, I heartily appreciate the efforts made by home chefs and small food startups to showcase their creations, made in an absolute organic and home-made way. For me, it comes closest to what my grandmother and mother made during festivals, the paayesh, the Narkel Naru, the atta laddoos, the pithas, like the Kakara Pitha (shaped like puris, these pithas are made of rice flour and jaggery) which was being fried at my maternal home. I could visualise the kitchen, when our help described the evening menu of puri, halwa and the sweets and pithas. 

Pujo Khichuri


Diwali is around the corner, and soon posts around Diwali mithai and table décor and plating will flood our social media feeds. Star hotels and standalone restaurants have started rolling out their food promotions, with initial trepidation and with reasonably good response, have gained in confidence. One’s social calendar is now choc a bloc with invites to launches, re-launches and God knows what more. In short, the wheels of the food industry have started moving with speed gaining around every curve and after that it will be time for Christmas cake mixing and more merriment, especially the pum cakes baked by my baker friends. 

I don’t think any country ever comes close to India in celebrating every festival, irrespective of faith. Amen to that.