For Karan Mittal, Diwali is a reminder of the importance of family, and wherever he is in the world, food keeps him connected to those he holds close.
“Diwali’s all about cooking for loved ones,” says Mittal, the head chef of Feringhee Modern Indian Cuisine. “It is one of those festivals no matter where you are, you are with your family.”
This five-day Hindu festival is the largest and most important holiday in India and is celebrated by several other religious groups. This year’s festival begins on Friday, with each day bearing its own name and carrying its own celebration and worship. The third and primary day of the festival is Diwali. On this day, people traditionally light diyas, or oil lamps, and candles to illuminate their homes and businesses. Fireworks displays are also common.
To mark the auspiciousoccasion, the team at the Chandler restaurant will serve a special holiday menu from Friday to Sunday. Mittal has crafted the menu based on what would be found on his family’s table in Delhi, India.
“I got the love of cooking from my grandmother,” he says, describing her recipe for gulab jamun, a classic fried dessert that is soaked in syrup flavored with cardamom, rose water and saffron, which she made for him every Diwali. Guests will see it on their plates in Chandler as a twist on a cheesecake.
“As soon as you take a bite, it just reminds you of home,” he says.
The festival is connected to several religious events and deities, including Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and Rama, who returns to his kingdom with his wife Sita after defeating the demon king Ravana.
“Diwali is a time when we gather with family and friends to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness,” Feringhee founder and president Madhavi Reddy said in a news release about the special menu. “At Feringhee, we aim to replicate this joyous spirit through our cuisine. Our special Diwali menu is a reflection of our love for this festival and our commitment to sharing its traditions with our guests.”
Feringhee’s Diwali menu will include four courses, along with an optional fifth course, paying homage to foods typically served at home or by street vendors in India during the festival.
What’s on the menu?
For Feringhee’s Diwali menu, Mittal will highlight “particular festive dishes that we enjoy at home” as well as street foods popular during the festivities, like kebabs. Diners will be served four courses for $45, along with an optional supplemental course for an additional $15. Reservations are about half sold out for this weekend at the 120-seat restaurant, Mittal says, noting the team is hopeful to fill their books for the special event.
The first course will startwith several selections. Among them is the Palak Patta Chaat, crispy spinach fritters with green mung beansdressed with tomatoes and onions, topped with yogurt and pomegranate arils.
Among first course options for Feringhee’s Diwali menu is Palak Patta Chaat, crispy spinach fritters with green mung beans dressed with tomatoes and onions, topped with yogurt and pomegranate arils.“
Feringhee Modern Indian CuisineAlso among appetizers is the Green Peas Seekh Kebab, which is cooked in a tandoori oven, then filled with goat cheese and served with a sweet corn salad.
Another skewered item that will beavailable as the supplemental course between the starter and main is the Lamb Galouti Kebab. The spiced ground lamb dish is one that Mittal says he has learned from other chefs and worked to perfect over the past 12 years. The lamb is “minced 10 times to make sure it just melts in the mouth,” he says. It is then slowly seared in ghee, orclarified butter, and served on a flaky flatbread called malabar paratha with chutneys and condiments.
“Lamb is definitely one of the things that we really enjoy during Diwali because it’s one of those royal dishes that we make,” Mittal says.
Main course options include Seasonal Squash Kofta with spinach saag, Chicken Tikka Lababdar and Feringhee Walnut Paneer. To create the latter dish, the thinly sliced cheese is layered with a mixture of walnuts and pistachios, rolled, marinated and chargrilled, then served atop a “velvety, creamy” tomato sauce. All entrees are accompanied by dal, saffron rice and garlic naan.
For dessert, there is not one, but two courses.
“Diwali’s incomplete without those sweets,” Mittal says. “This is one of those weeks where we don’t look into calories… We just celebrate and go all in.”
For the first dessert course, choose from the Gulab Jamun Cheesecake or a Saffron Phirni Tart with candied rose petals and pistachios.
The final course is chai and mithai.
“Chai means tea and mithai means sweet,” Mittal says.
Feringhee’s Green Peas Seekh Kebab is cooked in a tandoori oven, then filled with goat cheese and served with a sweet corn salad.
Feringhee Modern Indian Cuisine
Feringhee readies to release new menu
Mittal, fresh off a visit to Amritsar, a city in the northern Indian state of Punjab, says he is also readying to debut an updated menu at the end of November.
At the restaurant, whose name means “foreigner,” Mittal and his kitchen crew have been pushing the boundaries of Indian cuisine, drawing on classic dishes and those from Mittal’s travels, and riffing on them with local ingredients and fine-dining techniques.
“India is such a vast country, it’s so diverse,” Mittal says. “The cuisine of 28 states are completely, completely different and that’s the beauty of Indian food… In Feringhee, we really want to have a whole landscape of pan-Indian cuisine.”
But for now, he’s focused on celebrating and sharing the fun and traditions of Diwali. Mittal and the kitchen team will gather with a special meal and puja – a worship ritual – after dinner service wraps.
“We all sit around as a family,” he says. “That is like home away from home.”
Source : New Times