Indian Hospitality

This evening I was invited to my great aunt’s house for a home cooked meal. She said it was going to be a simple, vegetarian meal, and my husband and I were looking forward to it. Thinking it was going to be about 2-3 dishes and a salad, I was looking forward to a light dinner. In the US, dinner at a friend’s house would generally be a very casual affair. In fact, the first time i was invited to someone’s house for dinner in the US, I was shocked when I was told to bring a dish of my own. Shocked! This was one of the many cultural shocks I had, because back in India, we would not even expect our guest to bring anything but their appetite to dinner. I learned the term “potluck” only in the US, where, over the 10 years of living there, I got accustomed to this ritual and it became second nature to me; second nature to the point that I felt comfortable asking my guests to bring a dish or desert or wine to dinner.

In any case, this evening, when dinner was served, I was reminded of how generous and warm Indian people are, especially when it comes to their guests. Let me share with you the menu and the sumptuous spread we were greeted to. Apart from the appetizers, we were fed the following: raita (yogurt salad), green salad, green chutney, pulav (rice dish), daal (yellow lentil curry), paneer tikka masala (cottage cheese in gravy), garbanzo beans in gravy,  Aloo Gobi (a dish from North India made with potatoes and cauliflowers), mixed vegetables with paneer (dry dish), and a traditional bread from Mangalore (a city in the state of Karnataka/ South India). That is 10 dishes in all!! Here is a feast for your eyes:

Feast for a Queen

Feast for a Queen

I felt like royalty, being treated to so many dishes which translated into love and affection from my hosts. And this is generally the trend amongst Indians: to really take care of their guests and make them feel at home, even if it is only through food. Of course, the desert stole the show: A decadent choice between Caramel- lychee Ice cream and Chocolate-Almond Ice cream. I so wanted to walk home and needed to walk home after such a heavy meal ( a 1 hour walk), but common sense prevailed at 9:30 pm and I decided to take a cab.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dorisbersing
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 00:55:23

    I am hungry already… here it is almost lunch-time and as you know, lunch will be perhaps a yogurt or a pre-packed soup by the computer 😦

    Anyhow, I hope this type of royal feast does not happen too frequently or you will be, really, in need of that walk! although ….at an earlier time, I’d suggest!

    God Save the Queen!



  2. Nusrat
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 02:17:23

    Simply enjoy reading your articles……feels as though I am living it all over again in Mumbai,though I dont think I could muster the courage to go back!!!!

    Lots of Love,



    • Dr. Suri
      Nov 16, 2011 @ 21:07:49

      Thanks Nushie. It’s really challenging to be here and I am hoping that I can make it through…..some days just seem impossible! Lots of love back!


  3. Dr. Suri
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 21:04:07

    God save the Queen, indeed! I am having a hard time keeping my hands off all the goodies here in Mumbai, sweet and savory……I need to find a way to get back into tennis! Kisses – R.


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