Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Trip to Bombay, India (Day 20): Parsi Wedding

And finally, the event that we've all been waiting/working for: the wedding!! Mr. M&P's cousin was being happily wed at a baug which is an outdoor garden usually used for special events like a wedding. And why are baugs important? Well, they can accommodate large weddings of about 1400 guests, such as this one.

The outdoor space is usually accompanied by a large building for bathrooms and bars. It doesn't rain in Bombay during the wedding season. No plan B's are needed. In case, you're wondering how a place can serve 1400. Well, traditionally, guests do not arrive all at once. In fact, hardly anyone comes to the ceremony which is weird to me. Isn't that the most important part? Guests actually arrive later in packs offering money and gifts to the happy couple. Dinner is served is several seatings. Family is always served last. As part of family, I was nervous about being hungry all night. Luckily, hor 'douerves and appetizers were served at the beginning of the night.
This is a chicken tikka roll and paneer roll. Both had nice crispy crusts and the fillings were really good. The chicken was not dry at all; instead, super flavorful and moist. The paneer was also very well flavored. I especially enjoyed the contrast in texture of the vegetables in the paneer roll.
This is sey puri which is a savory snack of vermicelli noodles and potatoes on a cracker. It was really flavorful and I enjoyed this very much. I was especially fond of the crispy noodles paired with the soft potatoes. It reminded me of a canape.
This potato and pea samosa was just okay for me. It wasn't bad nor was it amazing. Middle of the road dumpling.
Here's a closer look at the inside of the samosa. It looks like it could use more creamy potato.
This was my favorite appetizer of the night: chicken cheese ball. The crispy crust held a super creamy chicken and cheese mixture that reminded me of mashed potatoes. However, it was so flavorful and delicious. Amazing.
Mini cheese toasts were a crowd favorite. How could you go wrong with a buttery toast topped with shredded cheese then battered and deep fried? You can't. Just pop them in your mouth and smile.
When the night finally winded down, we went to have dinner at around 11pm. Oy! However, it was a nice break in between all the appetizers. I'd like to note that the entire wedding was catered by the Godiwalla family. They do a very good job and definitely are the most desired caterer amongst the Parsi people in Bombay for special events.
First thing that you'll notice are the banana leaves. They are your place mats. It's very useful because it calls for easy clean up and they're huge! You can put a lot of food on this baby. To prep your leaf, you can want to crack the spine so that it'll sit flatter like a plate. Also, some people wipe down their leaf for cleanliness.
And here's a nice refreshing glass with ice to go with my soda. Ice?! Yeah, you can have ice in India if it's perfect ice. Meaning, it's made from filtered water. It's safe to consume. You can tell that it's perfect ice due to its cylindrical shape and clarity.
The servers now come down the banquet table with large trays of food. First thing on my natural place mat was rotli. Soft, and slightly chewy. I nibbled on this anxiously awaiting more food.
Another popular snack is saria (shrimp chips). The crunch factor is high.
Then some fresh paneer came around. This version was really silky smooth like panna cotta but with a slight tang you'd find in goat cheese.
Oh man, the most anticipated dish of the night for me: chicken farcha. This is basically fried chicken but with masala. Unfortunately, the crust wasn't crunchy as I had wanted. But that was the only misstep with this chicken. The meat was so juicy and tender. The flavor was phenomenal. The meat inside was actually a tikka marinade. If this were still crunchy, it would have been perfect.
Next up, pomfrey in white sauce. I hated this. The sauce completely destroyed the delicate flavors of the fish. The texture was really gloppy. But that wasn't the worst part. The flavor was tangy, sweet, and spicy. I didn't get it. I tried to scrape off the sauce to get to the fish but it wasn't salvageable. I abandoned it.
On to better things like this braised mutton on the bone. It's nice to see meat cooked with the bones, especially when the method if low and slow. The meat was so tender and completely deliciously filled with flavors from the spices and gravy.
They also served a side of lightly pickled vegetables. The server laughed when I signaled for him to give me a large amount. One of the things that I definitely missed while on this trip was fresh vegetables. This was a good opportunity to have my fill. Anyway, it was light and really refreshing on this night. It paired really well with the fattier and heavier food.
Another favorite dish of the night for me was the egg on tomatoes. The tomatoes were soft and slightly spicy. But the kicker was the egg. The yolk was runny! Oh yes, a runny yolk! Yes please!
Look how glorious this is. Although not perfectly runny, it was heavenly. The creaminess of the egg mixed with the slightly spicy tomatoes was a great dish. Loved this!
And you can't have an India meal without rice. Just white rice this time.
With the rice, I had the server ladle some shrimp curry over it. Woo! This was spicy. A little too spicy for my own tastes but the flavor was good. I wish I would have enjoyed it more without crying over the heat. Maybe something I need to work on in the future.
Dessert included a custard which was burned. It was really unappetizing. The foul taste completely overpowered the rest of the light custard. It couldn't be saved.
Another dessert option was pineapple ice cream. This was also pretty bad. The flavor was so artificial and sickenly sweet. It reminded me of pineapple jolly rancher candy in ice cream form.
At the end of the meal, all you have to do to indicate that you're finished with dinner is to fold over your banana leaf. Take out your fork and spoon so they can collect that separately. A couple of waiters will slip the leaf right off the edge of the table and into the trash bin. Easy for everyone!

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