Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Diwali Oz Style – Food and Drinks

Reading Time: 3 minutesMake it a Diwali with a difference this year. Bring in a touch of Oz

- Advertisement -


Banish the kali dal, paneer pasanda and dahi vada for once, and try something different. Given the time of year, perhaps salads with attitude will suit, from the new cuisine menus of Luke Mangan, Karen Martini or Gary Mehigan, which combine fruits and vegetables and leaves and nuts and cheese with some sassy dressings. Not only will you feel lighter, you won’t be slaving over the stove for hours either, and you’ll still have fancy food for your guests.

You probably won’t add meat to your menu if your event is on Diwali night, but if you’re celebrating either side of the actual date like we do frequently in our community, then non-veg chalega.

For dessert, something fruity should suit the mood, rather than your regular diabetes-inducers.

Hey, if the Aussies can switch from ham to prawns for their traditional Christmas feast, why can’t we move from subzi to salads at Diwali, and from khoya to fruit for dessert?

And then, there’s Aussie bush tucker. Impress your guests with your experiments marrying Indian cuisine with native foods. There’s a whole new world out there waiting to be explored! How about akudjura (bush tomato) chutney with your corn chips? Dips made of curried native plums? Care for some mountain pepper berry flavoured curry? Kachumber salad with munthari berries sounds like a winner.

Vic Cherikoff’s Uniquely Australian could have a whole new edition, in a novel Indo-Aussie collaboration!

Dhanya Samuel, food blogger and Indian Link contributor, also suggests the use of mountain pepper to make pepper chicken or bhindi fry; lemon myrtle in lemon mint coolers and in chilli pickle, tomato relish and garlic chutney; finger lime salsa topping for roasted papads; New Zealand spinach or warrigal greens cooked with dal; Australian native yams cooked in paneer style preparations, and paperbark instead of banana leaves to steam fish with. There’s no limit to Dhanya’s creativity!


Since we’re trying to be different, we have to go with Indian-inspired cocktails, definitely. (If Diwali night is best left alcohol free, try these for a pre- or post-Diwali event).

Mangoes, the all-time favourite fruit at any Indian household, have just begun to make an appearance on the supermarket shelves, so let’s start with these. Mango sangria. Mango martini. Mango mojito. Mango margarita. Mango daiquiri. Mango bellini. Go figure out the recipes for yourselves, but here’s ours for a Mango Cosmopolitan:

50 ml mango infused rum
25 ml Triple Sec (or Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
25 ml cranberry juice
15 ml mango juice
Crushed ice

Shake well, strain into a chilled glass and decorate with fresh mint leaves.

There are plenty of other martinis you can concoct: Chai martini, Imli martini, Cardamom martini with orange.

More traditional fare can be given a western makeover too; lassi can be converted to a Champagne lassi, or a strawberry lassi prepared with Baileys. Gol gappa shots could be a fun way of serving the ever-popular street food, with the pani in a shot glass and the puri with its stuffing placed delicately on the top.

Of course you’ll have to invent Indian-inspired names for your cocktails too: how about Dishum, Dhichkiaaoon, Bollywood Smash, Masala Bala, Mirchi Pataka (stop me, someone!)


- Advertisement -
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

Related Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Latest News

sexual assault survivor, sexual assault counsellor, sexual assault victim

I’m a sexual assault counsellor. Here’s why it’s so hard for...

  As a senior sexual assault counsellor working with Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, I often sit across from people on the worst day of...
dee domingo and raj shekhawat

A tinnitus update on World Hearing Day

  World Hearing Day is celebrated on 3 March to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness along with promoting ear care. I spoke to...

Book Review: ‘Ritu weds Chandni’ by Ameya Narvankar

  "But what is wrong with that? Why shouldn't she marry Chandni didi?," asks Ayesha, the young protagonist in Ameya Narvankar's Ritu weds Chandni. The innocent...
axar patel indian cricket player

IND v ENG: A historic Test… for all the wrong reasons

  The only bigger joke than the wicket prepared for the 3rd cricket Test between England and India at Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium, was the renaming...
Queer support group Trikone Australia’s Alan Maurice, Kunal Mirchandani and Ravin chat with Bageshri Savyasachi

South Asians talking about Mardi Gras

  Pride week has already begun in Australia! Since Sydney's fabulous Mardi Gras parade is coming up this weekend, I had a chat with members...