Nibbles to fire up the festive nights - The New Indian Express

Nibbles to fire up the festive nights

Published: 27th October 2013 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 26th October 2013 02:25 PM

Candles, lamps and action. Every year we await the festival of lights with enthusiasm and plan weeks and sometimes months in advance for the rounds of parties to celebrate. Yes, the festival which is about good winning over evil, is also a time for optimism. There is a buzz in the markets, businesses appear to be looking up and everyone gets into the mood to party, meeting relatives and friends, exchanging gifts and trying their luck at the gambling table. It is also the time for prayers and rituals, followed by food and feasting.

I remember in our home, my parents would always host a party on the Saturday before Diwali. It was a ritual and friends did not need to be reminded as it was an annual phenomena.

The menu was planned much in advance as friends and relatives arrived, expecting to be served the best that we could offer. But besides the annual party, there were a string of small get-togethers leading up to the actual festival, a feature that is common in other homes too.

Now these gatherings can be small, but they require meticulous planning as well. After all, everyone wants their food to be talked about in the midst of many similar small dos. Keeping that in mind, I am going to share some easy and doable recipes, which, I am sure, will win you praise and approval from your friends.

Milk and chocolate rolls


■ 1 can of condensed milk

■ 4 tbsp of dry coconut powder

■ 1/4 cup chocolate powder


■ In a heavy bottomed pan , pour condensed milk

■ Keep stirring continuously on low heat till the milk reduces and becomes like dough

■ Roll the dough into small balls and keep aside

■ Now on a flat plate spread the chocolate powder and roll the milk balls on it

■ Refrigerate and serve chilled

Vinegar Arbi


■ 12 or 13 pieces of par boiled arbi

■ 2 tbsp vinegar

■ Salt to taste

■ 1 tsp red chili powder

■ 1/2 cup breadcrumbs for dusting

■ Oil for shallow frying


■ Marinate arbi with vinegar, salt and chilli powder

■ Roll the marinated arbi over breadcrumbs spread on a flat pan

■ Heat the oil and shallow fry til golden brown

■ Serve with mint chutney

Rice bread balls


■ 2 cups of boiled fine basmati rice

■ 1/2 cup grated processed cheese

■ 1/2 cup boiled and mashed potatoes

■ 8-10 slices of bread

■ 1/2 cup onion (chopped)

■ 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves

■ Salt to taste

■ 2 tsp white pepper


■ In a bowl, mix the cooked rice with all the ingedients except the bread

■ Make 8-10 small rice balls

■ Cut the edges of the bread slices and wrap around the rice balls and seal with a little corn flour paste at the joints of the bread

■ In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil to deep fry the rice balls.

■ Fry till golden brown taking care not to burn

■ Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep on kitchen paper towels to drain the excess oil

■ Serve hot with tomato ketchup

Chicken tikka and naAn salad with mint mango salsa


■ 250 gm chicken tikka boneless cut in strips (Can be ordered from any indian restaurant)

■ 1 cup lettuce (chopped fine)

■ 1 medium onion (cut in rings)

■ 1 yellow bell pepper (finely chopped)

■ 2 tbsp pitted olives

■ Naan (can be ordered for any Indian restaurant)

■ Salt to taste

■ 1/2 tsp pepper

■ For dressing: Blend the following ingredients

■ 2 tbsp lemon juice

■ 1/4 cup mint leaves

■ 1/4 cup mango puree (canned)


■ Cut  the naan into two halves and put in a toaster till golden brown and crisp. Remove and cut in small strips

■ In a bowl, put all the ingredients besides the dressing and nan and mix well

■ Add the dressing and refrigerate

■ Just before serving garnish with naan strips

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