Celebrating with Food

A post-wedding feast

Tuesday, July 28, 2009Me! In words

Since I like to write everything about food, I thought of this new category called Celebrating with Food. In India, celebrations go hand in hand with eating. Different cultures have got different ways of celebrating with food. There are some items that are a special only with some communities and some festivities - like the lagan nu custard of the Parsees which is served only at their weddings, or the mutton polov (mutton with pumpkin) that is specialty on the eve of a Mangalorean wedding, the ada payasam of Kerala and so much more.

So to inaugurate this section, I am going to write of a Beegara Oota that I attended. Now Beegara Oota is a custom prevalent among the Hindus where a few days after the actual wedding (which is a vegetarian affair), the two families get together for a non-vegetarian celebration. This function is normally shouldered by the boy's side and only the closest of family members and friends are invited to this.

Paper sweet to the extreme left, mutton curry in the wide bowl, payasam in the smaller one chicken kebabs hiding behind the ragi mudde and the chicken sukka to the right

This function was of a very close friend of ours. And the food was simply terrific. To start the meal off, we were served the usual accompaniments of a raw salad, pickle, salt and papad. Also present was a payasam-like sweet and the specialty of Hyderabad - paper sweet. Yes they were families of true Andhra origin. Next came steaming hot puris that was to be had with a chicken sukka. Now the chicken sukkas of the Mangalorean Bunts uses dry red chillies and hence the intense red colour mingling with coconut. But in Andhra, there is a large use of coriander leaves in the masala, giving it a green tinge.

For those who were game, there was ragi mudde to go along with a mutton gravy. This was a coconut based one and tasted good and was tad on the spicier side. For those who could not handle the mudde, neer dosas came to the rescue. Once you were done with this came the mutton biryani. And for once I did not feel like I was eating the green chilli ridden ones of the famous Andhra restaurants we have about.

The mutton biryani to round of the meal

For the true south Indian, a meal is not complete without rice and rasam and then a generous round of buttermilk. This is what followed the sumptuous feast. Of course there was also ice-cream. This was the first beegara oota that I had been too and I must say, I now know that this is not a function to be missed.

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