Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance with lights, fireworks and food. This year Diwali falls on Saturday 21 October.
For the pub chef it is an opportunity to create the special atmosphere associated with the festivities, says RHM Foodservice development chef Antony Bennett. Sharwoods is giving away goodie bags of Indian delights to help your festival go with a bang and Antony offers the following tips:
l Diwali is a communal occasion so serve all dishes at once and encourage sharing; upsizing portions costs very little extra, but brings additional profit.
l Most Indians eat vegetarian dishes during Diwali, particularly mixed vegetable curries, so offer dishes such as kabli channa sag - a vegetarian Balti featuring chick peas, baby spinach leaves and Puy lentils - or serve up a curry of peppers, courgettes, aubergines, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and tomatoes in a spicy Balti sauce.
l Don't forget the accompaniments - in Indian cooking they are as important at the meal itself. A raita can be made in five minutes by mixing natural yogurt, mint sauce, sugar and lemon juice. It is a cool accompaniment for spicy Indian dishes and poppadoms.
l Give your snack menu an Indian twist by introducing a curried Caesar salad infused with aromatic Indian spices. Other options include spicy wedges, naanwiches, sausages with tikka mashed potatoes and loaded spicy potato skins.
l Ensure staff know what is in each dish.
l And finally, match each dish with certain beers to give customers a truly authentic experience.
Goodie bags up for grabs
To celebrate Diwali, Sharwood's is giving away 10 goodie bags of Indian delights, featuring korma and tikka masala ready-to-use sauces, balti and tandoori pastes, poppadoms and naan breads, lime pickle, mango chutney and a recipe pack. For a chance to receive one or for more information, phone the RHM Caterer AdviceLine on 0800 328 4246 or visit www.rhmfoodservice.co.uk.