Diwali recipes – Tips for a savvy party

Parties, whether you are the host or the invitee, are meant to be fun filled times. A good party has only one secret and we are going to let it out: it is the feeling of excitement enhanced by a welcoming drink, deliciously presented food and a happy mood.
If the space or the rooms in the house are cleaned up and crockery and glasses set out then there is no last minute stress to set things up. You can also do some furniture rearranging to create ‘gossip’ corners and leave lots of open space for easy movement and some dancing, you never know! Disposables can be bought provided the numbers expected are large. The kitchen work can happen simultaneously
Make the menu harmonious in taste, texture and colour so that it appeals to the eye and stomach both. Design the menu to take advantage of what’s in season. There is virtue in simplicity. Plan dishes that complement each other in terms of work they require. Be sure not to plan a lot of dishes that need last minute cooking. Garnishings like sprigs of herbs, ginger julienne, onion rings, lemon wedges, etc pique appetites.
Surprise you guests by whipping up a Jal Jeera using club soda and a mint sprig. Crushed ice is an option.Purchase the savouries or starters or put them together using easy ingredients. Small appetizers are a hit anytime.
Play with cracker bases, papdi bases, salted biscuits or even basket Canapés.
One can stamp out small cookie sized rounds from large readymade pizza bases and top them with a variety of toppings.
Serve cheese straws with dips or for the more health conscious Vegetable Crudités.
Pass around bowls of roasted nuts or salads that can be picked up with tooth picks.
Another suggestion is to decide where the focus is: one can serve more of starters and appetizers with mocktails and play down the main course or vice versa.
The best options that can be served up quickly are fragrant pulaos with raita and papads (roll them up or fold into triangles) or stew with garlic bread. If time permits, Chole Bhature is another fantastic offering. Farewell would be with Chocolate Paan Rolls. Yes. Meethe paan (kalkkati or benarasi), dipped half way through in melted chocolate and served chilled. Unforgettable.
One tip: If it is a Diwali party (which could be somehow happening much after Diwali is over!) see to it that light, low fat snacks are served. Go slow on the sweets and desserts as the festival time would have meant indulgence in sweets and savouries for many! More Diwali recipes.