Pindi Chole - We always had this one on the menu for Baisakhi as kids! The chickpeas cooked to perfection in a spicy Punjabi masala base eaten with bhature and for that matter even rice tastes beyond fabulous. Chole always means balle balle!
Gajar Ki Pachadi – In this salad grated carrot is mixed with spices and tempered with ghee, mustard seeds and asafoetida to give you a burst of freshness and flavours in each bite. The slight sweetness from the carrots, spice hit from green chillies, crunchy moong dal and the wonderful flavour of a fresh coriander make it a pleasure to eat.
Masale Bhaat – A Maharashtrian tradition – masala bhaat really is sufficient as a one pot meal. Bursting with the taste of a spicy goda masala this one has plenty of texture and flavour with the addition of green peas, nuts and fresh scraped coconut to perfectly cooked rice.
Gutti Vankaya Koora (Stuffed Brinjals) - Delicious baby brinjals stuffed with Andhra style spices, crushed peanuts, dried coconut and sesame are pan fried and then steamed with some water till it is cooked to perfection. Brinjals with their sponge like nature absorbs all these yummy flavours and you get a dish beyond perfection.
Appams - In an appam you get the delicious fluffiness of an idli in the center and the edges are like a crisp dosa – so why settle for just one when you have the best of both these south Indian delicacies in one dish. The texture of this fermented pancake is perfect to soak up the delicious ishtew and also the lovely chingri malai curry.
Chicken Ishtew – This fragrant coconutty chicken and mixed vegetable stew is a traditional brilliant accompaniment to the appams but tastes just as good with chapattis, rice and even plain simple bread.
Chingri Malai Curry – Ideally all you need to go with this one is a bowl of steamed rice but here you have multiple options. The flavours of this bangla favourite so good you can eat it with just about anything. This one and the chicken ishtew both have a coconut base but you will realize in the first bite itself how beautifully different they are.
Kothimbir Wadi – Kothimbir wadi always manages to put a smile on my face. These coriander and gram flour cakes are first steamed and then deep fried till the outside is crispy and crunchy. The coarsely crushed peanuts add another dimension of texture which overall enhances my entire meal.
Atte ki Pinni – The Punjab special whole wheat flour and khoya cylinders sweetened with sugar and dressed up with almond slivers are a little difficult to perfect, but well worth the effort. They find place on this thali because they are an absolute baisakhi favourite.
Chhenar Payesh – this luscious creamy kheer is one of the best creations from the sweet makers of Bengal and a bowl of this is the best way to wind up a meal. Easy to make and with very simple ingredients you can whip this up in a jiffy and bask in the glory of it for hours!
This mix and match thali is the best way I found to enjoy in all its glory the deliciousness that is created across India on the occasion of New year!
Here is wishing you a very happy and prosperous food filled new year!