Giving Thanks

Where to dig into the Thanksgiving grub in India

Shruti November 28, 2021

Thanksgiving-Dinner - Copy

The indulgence season begins with Thanksgiving today. The history of Thanksgiving might not be something we can all relate to but when have we allowed that to stop us. Thanksgiving is a nationwide celebration in the United States of America and Canada. Historically it is an occasion to give thanks to the heavens for the harvest of the previous year. Traditionally Thanksgiving is celebrated by a family dinner at home. Today a number of restaurants offer thanksgiving themed lunch and dinner buffets on Thanksgiving day as well as the week preceding it.

The Thanksgiving dinner menu has evolved with time to become more contemporary but there are some dishes without which it would be incomplete.

Roast Turkey

The Thanksgiving table traditionally has a large roasted turkey as a centre piece. The bird can be roasted in a number of ways with varied seasoning, glazes and stuffing. The essence of the roast is in keeping the Turkey whole and carving it on the table. When Turkey isn’t available whole chickens, ducks or a leg of ham are often roasted as alternatives.

If you’re making a stuffed roast bird, be sure to cook your stuffing atleast halfway before assembling the bird. Technically, this is because the area where the stuffing cooks is the last to be cooked. This means you will most likely end up with stuffing that is still raw or over cooked meat if your stuffing is completely raw to begin with. Traditional Thanksgiving stuffing is a mixture of bread crumbs, sage and onions. People often choose to roast the bird and cook the stuffing separately since it makes both cooking and carving easier.

Thanksgiving would be a very dry affair if we excluded the gravy. Making the perfect gravy involves mixing the pan drippings and juices of the roasted turkey, flour and turkey stock in the correct proportions. The stock is made from the neck and internal organs. Flavouring the stock can be done using whatever combination of herbs that you like. Gravy is almost always a last minute affair because it includes the juices and fat that is produced in the oven.

Corn has been one of the constants on the “Thanksgiving menu since the time it was first celebrated. Where earlier corn was simply roasted on the cob or turned into corn bread modern day dinner tables feature corn as side dishes of creamed corn, corn casseroles or in corn salads. Personally we like to stick to traditions and enjoy our corn best on the cob.

Cranberry sauce
A sweet and tarty cranberry sauce goes ideally with a roast turkey. The flavour of the sauce is often enhanced with oranges or apples and cider. Leftovers are an integral part of a Thanksgiving dinner and this cranberry sauce is also an ideal morning after sandwich spread.

Mashed potatoes
Do we really need a reason to include a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes on a dinner table? If you do, then let Thanksgiving be your answer. Getting the consistency right is the pivoting point of a good mashed potato. The solution that we’ve found works best is sour cream and a dash of garlic.

Vegetable sides
Though the roast turkey or chicken or duck is the star of a Thanksgiving dinner table, the pilgrim mothers wouldn’t let the table be set without a vegetable side dish. The vegetables serve to balance out the heaviness of the meat. Sautéed carrots, buttered beans and Brussels sprouts are the most common side dishes for this celebratory meal.

Pumpkin Pie
The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest and this means you can’t really celebrate a harvest without pumpkins. The custard based pumpkin pie is a traditional Thanksgiving desert. This open faced pie is spiced predominantly with nutmeg and cinnamon. There are a number of variants to this pie which include other spices and fruits.

With all this good food, there has to be something good to drink as well. Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to bring out the family punch bowl. The good thing about a punch is that it can be made in advance so that you can give all your last minute attention to the roast and other dishes. Non alcoholic punches are usually centered around apple cider while the alcoholic versions tend to be generous with rum.

Excited? If you don’t feel upto cooking a dinner at home, head out to a restaurant tonight to indulge in their thanksgiving specials. Fifty Five East at The Grand Hyatt, Lotus Café at J.W.Marriott, Seven kitchens at Palladium Hotel, Seasonal Tastes at the Westin, O22 at the Trident and Fratelli Fresh at Renaissance are some of the restaurants that have their chefs preparing special menus to celebrate the day.

Fifty Five East at the Grand Hyatt is also organising a Thanksgiving Sunday Lunch for those of you who can’t make it today.