(Appetizers, Finger Food, Salads, Soups, Snacks and Indian Sweets)
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Last week our family and my cousin’s family went to a posh restaurant in the city for dinner to celebrate my cousin’s wedding anniversary. While being on the move, I asked all the children what they want to eat in the restaurant. I was startled at their answer. My six year old niece gave the full dinner course in the perfect chronology and in the perfect language where she said an item for appetizer, for main course and an item for dessert. On one hand, I was happy about their way of learning the dining etiquettes and on the other hand I was also surprised by the extent of exposure the kids of today get in. Just for satisfying my curiosity in relation to a child’s mind, I asked my niece, what does she mean by an appetizer and she quickly replied “starter chithi”! I smiled and acknowledged that she was right.
So, what exactly is an appetizer? Appetizer is a food item or a drink that is eaten before a meal to stimulate one’s appetite. The western countries are usually colder in most of the months and hence the requirement of an appetizer in a meal is high to stimulate the fire of hunger. Some of the common appetizers in the west are a glass of wine, soups, garlic bread, shrimp, crab etc. The climate in the Indian sub continent is however quite warm. Hence, there is not much requirement of an appetizer to stimulate the fire of hunger. But it definitely kindles the taste buds and makes us satiated till the end of our meal. One of these interesting appetizers are finger food, which could just be eaten on the go while we are conversing like bonda, samosa, pakoda, vada, kebabs, dhokla, kozhukattai etc. It would be no wrong if we also name them as conversation starters. These delicious varieties of appetizers are made either deep fried or steamed or even shallow fried depending on the mood and occasion. These appetizers are also kids’ favorite. They are usually served with sauce, chutney, dips and other condiments whose recipes I have shared in the condiments section.
Soups are the most inviting appetizer, which is a part of any cuisine, be it native or western cuisine like Chinese, Thai, Japanese and continental cuisine. Our own desi rasam is also a soup variant in its own way. Soups can also be made very easily at home with minimal efforts and time. Hot soups stimulate the appetite and also help in the digestion of every heavy meal. It is the most loved item of all diet watchers as these are of low calories and many a times serves as a complete meal on its own.
Salads and raitas are also a kind of appetizers from a health and nutritive perspective. They are rich in fiber and some important vitamins and minerals which are vital for our body functioning. These can also be made in the most minimal time and doesn’t require any cooking expertise. All it needs is some amount of creativity. Your health and figure conscious friends will love you when you make it for them for a dinner or lunch.
Remember your childhood days when we used to visit our friends house for lunch or dinner. The patties and mami’s would flaunt the dabbas with their handmade murukku, thattai, and ribbon pakoda, seedai and maa laddoos. While we are just immersed in their taste you would hear our mothers discussing their recipe and while you are about to take the next bite, you would hear, “enough, else you would not eat your dinner”. Our mothers knew the exact limit for even the snacks and sweets to be served just as an appetizer.
Would you still need a main course?? Nah!! These appetizers are just not going to stimulate your appetite but also fill your appetite. Cheers!!
Salads, Raitas and Salsas
Snacks and Sweets