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Thanksgiving Traditions: Indian Inspired

For our Thanksgiving Traditions series, we talk with Soma of eCurry, an amazing blog about, among other things, Indian food. 

Q: How do you typically celebrate Thanksgiving in your household? Are there certain rituals or traditions that you have in your family?

A: Since we do not have any family here, Thanksgiving is something we celebrate with friends. Sometimes we are invited over to a friend's home for a traditional typical American celebration. A lot of times, we have some friends over and then it is not so traditional, in terms of the food. 

Besides the food, it is definitely the time to be thankful for all that we have. We remind ourselves and our children of the blessings and the children make a list of all the things they are thankful for. 

Q: Who does the cooking? Or are certain people assigned different aspects of the meal?

A: If I have the Thanksgiving feast in my home, I do the cooking. When we meet in a friend's home, often times it is a potluck and we decide on the menu before hand and assign tasks to different families. 

Q: And when do you start preparing for Thanksgiving? Is it a highly coordinated, highly anticipated affair, or do you just sort of wing it a day or two before?  

A: It is not a very highly coordinated affair. I like to keep it easy and simple. However the planning does start a couple of weeks before the day. red wine poached pear

Q: What kinds of dishes would we find at your Thanksgiving table? Do you prepare Indian dishes?

A:  Here is a a loosely threaded plan of the kind of food I would make for Thanksgiving: 

For soup and salad, I might prepare Gingered Squash Soup, or Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup.

For salad and bread, it might be a simple Spinach Fall SaladNaan or Jalapeno Cranberry Skillet Corn Bread. 

For sides, I'll pick several along these lines:
Aloo Gobi, Green Beans, Tomatoes and Almonds with SumacEasy Corn Casserole, or Potatoes with Indian Five Spice

For the main, I'd select between a Murgh Tikka (spiced Skewered Chicken), a Biryani (Meat and Spice Layered Rice) or a Zafrani Kofta Pulao.

For dessert, I might prepare: Red Wine Poached Pears (see photo), or a spiced cake, like Spiced Ginger Cake or Spiced Cranberry Raisin Bundt Cake.

Q: And what is the significance of those dishes – are they family favorites, or special in some ways?

A: They are all special in their own ways. The recipes I choose for guests and special occasions are all approved and loved by all my family and friends. Some are treasured recipes of our families. I also try to make it as seasonal as possible and also in sync with the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Q: What would you say was the “greatest hit” of Thanksgivings past?

A: I would pick the Biryani, the Easy Corn Casserole and the Red Wine Poached Pears

Q: Have you experienced “traditional” American Thanksgiving food (i.e. turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, beets, etc)? What did you think? 

A: Yes I have experienced the "traditional" American Thanksgiving food. When we join our friends who celebrate a typical Thanksgiving, we usually feast on the traditional meal. We have enjoyed it thoroughly!

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