We might just have a Bank holiday weekend to look forward to at the end of August here in the UK, but over in India, the country is gearing up for a very special date – their 70th Independence Day. Preparations for this momentous holiday are already in full swing and as India is a destination renowned for it’s colourful festivals and joyful celebrations, it goes without saying that this party is going to be a good one.
The magical date that marks India becoming a sovereign nation back in 1947 is August 15. Each year, on the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers a heartwarming and inspirational speech to the people before, in time-honoured tradition, hoisting the national flag at the famous Red Fort in Delhi. The national anthem is sung and tributes are paid to those that died for the freedom of the Indian people.
On Independence Day, celebrations are held all over the sub-continent, transcending race, religion and caste as the population unite in patriotic fervour and pay tribute to their wonderful country. In the spirit of Indian independence, we’ve collated a few of our favourite traditional dishes that we believe truly reflect India’s unique history and culture:
The fragrant notes of the biryani have seduced many a foodie at restaurants all over the UK. But to try one of the best versions out there, you need to sample the recipe that hails from Hyderabad – a location that is renowned across the Indian states for its sumptuous biryani dishes. Layers of spiced rice and carefully prepared meat are mixed with aromatic onions and a smattering of herbs to form a slow-cooked delicacy that’s guaranteed to make your mouth water.
2. Vada pav
Indian street food is notoriously irresistible. From the deep-fried samosa to the creamy kulfi, some of the most popular snacks on the Indian menu can be picked up by the various vendors that patrol the city streets. The vadapav is one of the most popular options and originated in Mumbai – home to some of the most delicious street food you will find in India. Essentially, the vadapav is a spiced burger created from mashed potatoes, green chillies,ginger, mustard seeds and turmeric. This vegetarian-friendly treat is then dipped into a batter and deep-fried until crisp. Sandwiched between a fluffy pav (bread roll), it is served warm with a selection of tasty chutneys. The ultimate Indian fast food.
3. Rogan josh
We couldn’t discuss India’s heritage food without a nod to the curry. This signature dish of Kashmir is filled with robust flavours and coloured a deep red from the numerous Kashmiri chillies that add depth and flavour to the recipe. Chunks of tender mutton are used in the traditional version, but it’s possible to find the rogan josh prepared with all manner of alternative key ingredients these days.
Traditional Indian desserts were made for celebratory occasions. Rasgullah is a Bengali sweet made from a cheesecake-like ingredient and dipped in sweet sugar syrup. Just the thing to keep your energy levels up whilst celebrating Independence Day.
Why not raise a glass to India this August at one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants?