While 2020 has left a bitter taste in the mouth, the onset of Diwali and the Hindu New Year is being hoped by many to bring about a much needed change and rejuvenation. And while the smog isn’t really helping matters, home chefs and bakers across Delhi-NCR are making sure the festivities ring high a sweeter note. Abhilasha Jain, of the popular Marwadi Khana in Gurugram that specialises in vegetarian Rajasthani cuisine, says, “We have come up with Halwa Jars specifically for this festive season.
These can be relished for a longer time by storing in the refrigerator and then just reheating it and consuming it whenever you wish. We have also come up with different varieties of Churma Jars which are proving to be very popular, both for personal consumption as well as for gifting.” CR Park-based Sneha Lata Saikia, who hails from a military family in Assam, is an expert in Northeast cuisines, especially the regions of Assam and Nagaland.
She hosts supper tables and food fests in different restaurants and hotels, as well as her own home prior to the pandemic. Saikia says, “As a home chef, one has the freedom to innovate with various items. For instance, it is not necessary that we always have to make sweets by frying them in ghee or loading them with sugar syrup.
In fact, we can make some really good sweets, for ourselves as well as others, by using healthy ingredients like millets, tapioca or coconuts.” Her specialties in sweets include Black Rice Pudding, Coconut Laddoos with Beetroot, and other regional delicacies, to which she adds her own signature twist. “Black rice is known as the ‘forbidden rice’ as it was forbidden for anyone but the Chinese Emperors to eat, and it is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and reputedly helps in longevity. It is grown in the Northeast region and generally people make kheer with it,” says Saikia, adding,
“Coconut laddoos are known as Narikol Laru in Assam and it is a traditional dish of my home state. I give it a little twist by adding beetroot powder to it.” Ipsa Sambhi is a passionate home baker who recently launched her brand, La Croute.
She says, “During festivals, it is important to greet your loved ones with a box of sweets, and so we have come out with our own contemporary festive box of happiness for you and yours. Using high quality premium ingredients, and ensuring the highest standards of health and hygiene, we are baking specials like The Bakewell Tart, flavoured with our homemade lemon curd and frangipani.
Our Triple Chocolate Cake with white, milk and dark chocolate is proving very popular as is our Spice ‘Chai’ Cake Loaf and cranberry and almond biscotti that is great to go with your evening cuppa.” Jain loves Diwali, and cooking for people who love to eat: “We make everything fresh and hygienic and so we ask our customers to order one day in advance. Due to Covid, it is very much important to eat fresh, and this goes very well with our policy of making the best quality of food with lots of love wrapped in.”
BLACK RICE TRIVIA
Among her Diwali specialities, Sneha Lata Saikia has prepared Black Rice Pudding, highly rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and was forbidden for anyone but Chinese Emperors
Marwadi Khana also has varieties of Churma Jars that have become popular for gifting and personal consumption