The taste of DiwaliBy Leigh Mencarini
October 22, 2008
Hindu and Sikh families across the town will be celebrating Diwali, the Indian Festival of Light, next Tuesday.
Celebrated for centuries, it is a time to observe the victory of good over evil within every human being – hence the significance of light.
It also comes at a time when the best of the earth is gathered for harvest, which is why many celebrate the festival eating delicious food with friends or family.
Of course, Indian food is enjoyed far and wide nowadays, and as Britain becomes more involved in the celebrations of its multi-cultural society, the presence of the pending Diwali celebrations can be seen in shops across town.
It’s not uncommon to splash out on food, gifts and clothing for Diwali – much like Christmas, it is a time to celebrate and indulge in whatever you can afford, with the emphasis on the sentiment behind the gift, rather than its material value.
Homes are decorated, too – lamps and candles of different colours are lit in the tradition of performing ‘puja’, to usher in light and clear the darkness from the world.
So in the spirit of the Diwali celebrations, and as food plays such an important part in both Diwali and family life, Anjali Pathak, the next generation of the Pathak food dynasty which produces Patak’s authentic ingredients, has passed City Woman two contemporary Indian recipes to be enjoyed by all for the special occasion.
Roasted spiced chicken with indian style gravy Serves 4 to 6
A classic British dish has been given a delicious spicy twist through the use of with an authentic balti paste. A fabulous centrepiece to any Diwali feast.
For the chicken:
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 3 tbsp Patak’s Balti Paste
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 tsp black pepper, coarsely crushed
- 1½ to 2kg (3lb 6oz to 4lb 8oz) whole chicken
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 celery stick, sliced
- 4 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 1 lemon, quartered
For the gravy:
- 600ml (1 pint) chicken stock
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp Patak’s Balti Paste
- Salt and ground black pepper
1. In bowl mix together the butter, balti paste, garlic, coriander and black pepper. Rub the chicken inside and out with the spiced marinade. For a more intense flavour, carefully loosen the skin and rub the marinade onto the breast of the chicken as well. Cover and refrigerate the marinated chicken for two hours or even overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Place the onions, carrots and celery in a large roasting tin and toss in the vegetable oil. Stuff the lemon into the cavity of the chicken and place on top of the vegetables.
3. Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes per 500g plus 20 minutes. Remove the foil for the final 30 minutes of cooking time so the chicken is golden, the juices will run clear when the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the roasting tray and rest.
4. Place the roasting dish on the hob on a medium heat. Once the onions begin to sizzle skim any fat on the surface. Stir in the flour and cook for two minutes. Slowly whisk in the hot chicken stock, making sure there are no lumps. Add the Patak’s Balti Paste and continue to cook until the gravy has thickened. Check the seasoning. Serve the roast spiced chicken with plenty of Indian-style gravy.