Avoid store-bought snacks & nuts, they may be coated with maida
Stick to tandoori or barbecued stuff for mains
Skip beer as it contains malt
To enjoy a gluten-free Diwali you only need two things - safety and knowledge on how to stick to your gluten free diet. Like I always say, knowing what to eat and what to avoid is the key to good health. The most important thing while organizing a gluten-free Diwali party is to understand the ingredients that you can use and also ensure that you turn them into delicious treats that everyone will love. I always like to prepare make items that are quick and at the same time taste nice and festive.
Just because you’re going gluten-free, doesn’t mean you have to give up on all the fun. Let me show you how. This amazing and easy menu covers everything – right from the basic starters you need to the main course dishes and desserts that you can serve.
All dry fruits are safe except the ones coated with maida or refined flour like peanuts. Be careful with dry fruits that have spices on them. Remember ‘heeng' is mixed in ready-made spices and that is gluten. To avoid such a slip, you should grind all the masalas that you’ll be using a day or two before the party and store. Avoid store-bought snacks like mawa kachori, moti pak or shakkarpara as even though some are made with chickpea flour while some with lentils they all would contain traces of maida unless they have been prepared by a gluten-free facility. Besides the munchies, below are four super easy ways of getting your guests hooked on to your food from the very first bite:
1) Chicken Legs with Green Chutney Marination: Marinate the chicken with green chutney for at least 24 hours, add seasonings as per your taste and later, grill and serve.
2) Paneer Tikka with Tandoori Marination: Make your own tandoori masala and store it. I also recommend making your own paneer as the one bought from the stores could be adulterated with a thickener and that could be maida. You can make it a night before and allow it to cool completely so that the pieces don’t crumble. Marinate it for 3-4 hours and grill it short of serving.
3) Beetroot Aloo Tikka: Boil the potato and blend it with crushed beetroot and some chaat masala. Add salt and seasonings as per your liking. Make balls and coat it with gluten-free bread crumbs or fresh besan (gram flour). Pan fry and serve hot.
4) Rajma Galouti Kebab: Soak the rajma a night before. Boil, mash and mix it with a boiled potato to add texture to your kebabs. Use homemade masalas and seasonings as per your taste. Make them into flattened balls and pan fry.
It’s best to have a lot of tandoori or barbecued stuff. Stick to serving grilled fish, chicken or prawns. If you’d like to serve full meals, any rice preparation like appam with vegetables or idli with freshly made chutney is safe.
You can also choose from some Mughlai dishes like Mutton Biryani, Butter Chicken or Dal Makhani. Make sure you only use fresh cream in these preparations along with homemade masalas. For Indian breads, using gluten-free atta can be a challenge as it is a bit coarse and not many people may like the taste. An easier way out would be to buy only certified atta and practice making your rotis before the party.
You may think that mithai has no gluten ingredient but remember ‘khoya’ can be adulterated with maida. My top picks for gluten-free Indian desserts for a Diwali party would be soft, homemade Rasgullas or rich Besan Ladoos. If you’d like something fancier, go for a delicate Banoffie Pie.
Avoid beer as it has malt. Be careful of cocktails that contain beer or any kind of malt. In a situation where you end up consuming gluten drink, have a lot of water immediately to flush it all out.
I understand that there’s a lot to do when it comes to preparing everything in your very own kitchen, but just work a couple of days in advance and keep these tips handy. Your friends are going to thank you later, be rest assured. Also, stick to these rules if you’re attending someone else’s party. Have a happy and safe Diwali!
About the Author:
Aarti Sarin Jain is an avid baker and runs an exclusive gluten-free test kitchen. She discovered the joys of a gluten-free living after her elder kid was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She often experiments with new forms and varieties of gluten-free food without compromising either on taste or quality. You can read more on her blog, www.bakingfrommyheart.com.
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