Vivek Singh’s Indian Festival Feasts is a vibrant cookbook from one of my favourite Indian chefs, who heads the celebrated and polished Cinnamon Group of restaurants in London and now beyond. Here Vivek presents recipes for celebrations.
It is said that in India there is a festival every day of the year. Vivek Singh brings his expert touch to these recipes of traditional dishes. He puts them into context in delicious fashion. Most of us non-Indians will have heard of both Holi and Diwali, but there is so much more from the Subcontinent’s diverse regions and religions.
Vivek draws upon his memories of festivals he attended as a child. Those memories come to life with stunning food photography and accessible recipes which will tempt any home cook with access to an Asian supermarket. If one lives in a field, then there is always internet shopping.
There must surely be every possible significant festival illustrated here. There are Hindu celebrations, along with Christian, Muslim, and the multitude of religions recognised in India. Every chapter presents dishes that are perfect for families or groups. You don’t have to be an expert chef with a tandoor in the corner of the kitchen. A few essential spices and a grill and oven that work are the only items you need to achieve success when making these festive foods.
Grill to give exquisite charred charm
A dish with great impact is Tandoori Murgh (tandoori chicken) and it only needs that heated grill to give exquisite charred charm. The marinade is key here. This dish is popular for Vaisakhi, a Punjabi harvest festival, but would be a delightful meal at any time of the year.
Dansak is a dish associated with the Parsi festival of Navroze. It is a well-known Indian restaurant favourite, but few people know its history. Here a couple of varieties of lentils are combined with lamb. Vivek suggests a dansak masala and he gives a recipe. It’s a great long list of common Indian spices, so make a jarful; this will likely become a family favourite.
The Parsi community also enjoys a simple dessert with few ingredients, like Lagan nu Custard – wedding custard. It has perfume from a little rose water and the unmistakable flavour of cardamom. This would be a lovely light finale to a summer al fresco lunch, or as a selection of desserts at the end of a rather fine Indian meal. It can be made in advance, and that is always an advantage for any home chef.
Vivek Singh’s Indian Festival Feasts is the perfect book for any lover of Indian food. There is nothing too cheffy here and one can easily mix and match the dishes from different regions and different celebrations to create a very impressive dinner party or special family gathering.
Vivek Singh’s Indian Festival Feasts
Author: Vivek Singh
Published by: Absolute Press