Weddings in general mean a lot of festivities, fervour and, most importantly, food. They say that Indians look forward to weddings more for the food than anything else. This is especially true for most North Indian communities, whose love for food is no secret to anyone. Lately, in Kolkata, North Indians—and the Marwari community specifically—have grown used to a huge food buffet with a large number of items to choose from.
Most of the time, these spreads are vegetarian and the variety makes up for the absence of non-vegetarian items. The spread itself is such that it caters to the tastes and preferences of all age groups. Here is a look at what is established and what is new in these vegetarian food festivals (aka wedding parties) in Kolkata.
High Tea (chaats, chillas and dosas) – The latest addition to the chaat counter this season is the stuffed aloo tikki chaat (potato cutlets with a lentil filling). The popularity of Maggi noodles post its re-launch in the market has brought in a new gift for noodle lovers in the form of sweet and sour Maggi chaat. Furthermore, a variation using the ‘moong’ lentil has surfaced. Known as ‘moonglet’, it is served with a garlic chutney and is quite popular with the chilla lovers of the town.
Chocolate Phuchka – Any buffet would be incomplete without phuchka (popularly known as gol gappe in the North and pani puri in the West). The wedding caterers, in an endeavour to bring something innovative to the table, have taken the traditionally sour and spicy phuchkas to a different level of sweetness by offering chocolate-dipped phuchkas filled with chocolate sauce and nuts. A good offering for chocolate lovers – yet rather inessential, as a chocolate lover would be content even with a chocolate bar with nuts and raisins.
Live Counters – The most popular live counters are the pasta counter and Mongolian counter. Of course, these live counters hardly provide authentic Italian or Mangolian food, but they do give the guests the freedom to customise as far as the choice of seasonings, vegetables and sauces are concerned.
Newbies at Live Counters – In an effort to remain on top of their game, caterers attempt to innovate every season; this, at times, can get little overdone. The latest additions are Mexican rice and raviolis at the Mexican counter, and paneer shawarma at the Lebanese counter. And, as outrageous as it may sound, let us not forget the additions to the already present ten paneer varieties on the menu.
Essential Platter – Such as fish in a Bengali wedding and dal makhni in a typical North Indian wedding, the daal baati churma and bajre ki khichdi are those essential dishes in a Marwari wedding left untouched by innovation. Most of the time, the satisfaction food connoisseurs derive from these dishes determines the overall success of the show.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.