Dhamaka on a Platter: Party Bites for Diwali
Unlike Christmas or Onam, Diwali is about the celebration, not the meal. So what do you feed your guests – teenagers doing hip-hop, kids dashing around with sparklers, friends playing cards, seniors meeting and greeting, neighbors popping in…?
The answer? Platters of starters – quick to make, easy to serve and loved by all. With a little pre-preparation, you can churn out abundant fun bites without slaving all day.
Top Five Diwali Starters:
Mini idli plates are available in all home stores. Steam 2-3 platefuls of mini-idlis with your usual batter. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a karhai – add 2 tablespoons of podi – sauté for a minute, then add the idlis on low flame and sauté till coated and somewhat crisp. Skewer a toothpick through them and watch them fly off the plates.
Cut 3 zucchinis into sticks 3/4-inch wide and 4 inches long and marinate with salt, pepper and chili flakes for 30 minutes. Coat each stick with all-purpose flour, dip in egg beaten with a pinch of salt, then roll in bread crumbs. Deep fry or bake at 180 C for 20 minutes till golden.
Tip: Once you turn the oven off – leave the zucchinis inside and put in any other starters that you want to keep hot till it’s time to serve.
Chicken Sesame Starters
Chop boneless chicken into bite-sized bits (500gms will fill four big plates). In a bowl combine1 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1 egg, 1 tbsp vinegar, turmeric powder, ¼ tsp chat masala, ¼ tsp red chili powder, 1 1/2 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cumin,1/4 tsp chaat masala, 3 tbsp besan and salt. Marinate chicken in this paste for 2 hours, then roll in a mixture of 2 tbsp sesame seeds and 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs. (This can be prepared and refrigerated the previous day) All you have to do is fry and serve
Balance the savories with this classic. You need one tin of pineapple and one box of Amul cheese cubes. Slice the cheese and pineapple chunks into small squares. Sandwich each pineapple piece between two pieces of cheese and insert a toothpick. This is something your kids will love to help you with.
Tip: Grate leftover cheese and serve sprinkled on salt biscuits.
Chip and Dips
Combine 1 mashed avocado, ¼ cup yoghurt, ¼ tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp lime juice, ¼ tsp black pepper and salt to make a refreshing dip for chips, or carrot and cucumber sticks.
Tip: Running out of dip? Mix half carton sour cream with a dollop of sweet chili sauce for an instant favorite.
Pictures courtesy Reema Haseeb