I had the opportunity of attending a Muslim wedding very late in my life and did not want to miss it. The co-author of the blog got married recently and invited me and family to attend the marriage in Mumbai on a Sunday in January 2015.
Although pleasant days, we almost could not make it to the wedding as the MSRTC bus service decided to cancel a few afternoon buses and merge them into one causing chaos and confusion. Finally, started the journey with a not so happy wife and excited kiddo.
Jumping to the wedding straight, the most interesting and surprising thing I found was that the men and women were seated separately. I have seen this kind of a gender divide on quite a few occasions but never in a wedding, hence the better half and kiddo sat at a different place. Greeted with flowers and made to sit, while we were told that the nikaah ceremony was on. Well the vows are taken separately by the bride and the groom in front of the priest, only after that they are allowed to sit together to be wished by the guests. Which later my daughter told me where was the wedding at all, it was so boring.
While seated we were given packets of dry fruits and a motichoor laddoo, which was followed by rounds of mutton seekh kabab, chicken tikka and panner tikka. The making of a seekh kabab is an art, perfect blend of soft mince meat with spices and cooked enough to melt in the mouth. It left all the heavenly flavours in the mouth. The chicken tikka was complimenting the spicy kabab beautifully and the rounds never stopped.
The starters for the vegetarian people attending the ceremony were equally impressive. There were the Harabhara kabab, paneer shaslik and chilli paneer making rounds and I did try them. Believe me they were impressive.
If I use the right word, the nikaah was over and it was time for walimah. The couple were seated and we congratulated them and quickly moved on to buffet. Yes it was an urban wedding so there was a buffet and the spread was amazing.
The wedding menu included one of my favourites, the rogan josh; which is a spicy lamb preparation of Persian origin, popular as a Kashmiri recipe in India. The look of the gravy is darkish brown or reddish (made so by the Kashmiri chillies which are milder and used mainly for the colour) with pieces of lamb floating in the gravy and the fragrance of the spices already had me floored.
Being not much of a rice eater, I ignored the mutton biryani as the rogan josh kept me busy for quite a while. But, being a foodie, the urge to try a mutton biryani in a Muslim wedding was obvious enough. The regret after eating was that why did I not first pick the biryani up. In the very first bite I could pick up the flavours of each and every spice right from the bay leaf to the cinnamon sticks and that is what I would call balanced blend of spices.
Though it becomes very obvious that in a Muslim wedding the main attraction is the non-vegetarian food, the vegetarian spread was also looking brilliant. There were the paneer butter masala, mixed vegetables, veg biryani, potatoes and corn, veg tawa masala, channa dal and dal makhini among the good number of dishes. However, honestly speaking, I was more inclined towards the carnivores section as that is what the specialty was which I wanted to try.
Though I was full with the main course, I had to take care of my sweet tooth. The gajar ka halwa, gulab jamun and ice cream were laid for dessert. I always liked the taste of hot gulab jamun with ice cream and that became my obvious choice for dessert.
To sum it up, the initial trouble of making it up to the wedding was surpassed by the food. The experience was over-all a new one. The people were very amiable and welcoming. It was mentioned later by my co-author friend that the weddings have become more and more modernized.