If you are arranging a big fat Indian wedding, what is it that will need the most attention? Or if you are the anxious bride or groom, what is that one element in your wedding which you simply can not afford to mess up with? The answer is food. Nobody wants to serve anything less than the best, delicious and sumptuous wedding fare to their honoured guest – a mark of good hospitality.
But with a plethora of options to choose from, it is a humongous task to come up with a menu that caters to the different tastes of guests and of course, suits your budget too. Here a few tips and tricks to create that perfect menu.
Book the caterer. Many marriage halls have tie-ups with a catering agencies, which will make your work easy. If not, make arrangements for it well in advance.
While making invitees list for wedding, make another list of vegetarians and non-vegetarians alongside. It will help you get an approximate idea about the food you should order. Try to have separate counters for both varieties to avoid any embarrassing situation later.
If you are planning for a buffet service, go for light crockery so that the guest can carry them around easily. In case you are planning to go traditional, steel, brassware, copperware, earthenware or the signature banana leaf is a great idea.
But if budget is not a constraint, you could also opt for expensive silverware or goldenware. However in these cases a table setting would be more appropriate and comfortable.
Another important aspect is decoration of food stalls. Make sure they are clean, hygienic and well lit.
With all these elements in place, next comes the main part – creating the actual menu.
The options in Indian cuisine are endless, regardless of whether it is a vegetarian wedding or one that has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies.
For those planning to have more than one cuisine, wedding planner Priyanka Ganeriwal Allahavadi of Wedding N More says, “Cuisines like Italian and Mexican are slowly gaining popularity in the city”. But combining different cuisines can be tricky. Make sure the flavours of one cuisine do not clash with others or are too similar. Indian and Italian are a winning combination and suit the Indian palate well.
Greet your guests with a welcome drink like a fruit punch or any fresh fruit juice. The finger foods are also important. Kebabs are good idea for finger foods, or you can opt for canapes, finger sandwich or cold cuts like salamis or prosciutto. Just make sure the portions are not too big and they are served hot and fresh and the food is circulated evenly and frequently among the guests and has vegetarian options as well.
“Nowadays a lot of people are opting for live-food counters that prepare and serve the food custom-made for guests. Street foods like different chaats, ice gola, sugar cane juice and candy stalls are also extremely popular,” says Priyanka.
Start the fare with a salad bar having fresh salads in different varieties like Russian olivier salad, caesar salad, cold chicken salads, macaroni salads and more. The fresh ingredients used in salads are not only summer appropriate but will also looks and taste delicious.
Coming to the actual fare, starters are usually the star of a fare. Sizzlers are a unique idea for starters.
Soup, although a popular appetizer, is more appropriate for winters. Instead, go for barbecued or grilled foods or choose from several Indian options like chicken or fish tikka or vegetarian options like hara bhara kebabs.
For a main course, the spread will vary with religion, region, caste and of course, personal tastes. Try to maintain a good balance of traditional and contemporary dishes. Since wedding is a lot about different traditional values, let the food also reflect your ethnic background.
For a Telugu wedding include signature dishes like gutti vankaya or aloo korma or Andhra chicken curry or gongura mutton. And any wedding in the city of Hyderabad would definitely be incomplete without the quintessential Hyderabadi Biryani.
To these, you can add Mexican delicacies like chicken alambre or Italian delights like pasta carbonara, ravioli or different risottos.
Thai Curries are also a good idea to add the fancy twist. “Though Japanese sushi or sashimi are slowly becoming popular in weddings, they are often tricky and don’t suit everybody’s or every age group’s preferences” says Hemang Momaiya of Gaurav Caterers.
Desserts undoubtedly have a special place on Indian menu. While khubbani ka meetha, double ka meetha or lauki ki kheer is absolutely indispensable in Hyderabadi weddings, other all-time favourite sweets like gulab jamun, gajar ka halwa, rasgullas also feature on menus.
For summers, it is good to have desserts that includes different seasonal fruits. In fact, a fresh fruit salad with ice creams or a dry fruit salad would be a nice. In case you want to go fancy, French opera gateau, British lemon parffait or Russian pavlova taste almost as fancy as they sound.
Do not forget to end the lavish fare with mouth fresheners and let a flavourful meetha paan be your choice.
So, pull up your socks and create a menu with these tips and take your guest for an unforgettable gastronomical ride which would make them cherish your wedding for all the right reasons.