Helly Raichura’s Enter via Laundry – the North Carlton diner known for its focus on regional Indian cuisine – is celebrating this year’s Diwali, the five-day Hindu festival of lights, with three special Gujarati dinners from November 9 to 11.
The dinners mark the first time the restaurateur, who was raised in the west Indian state of Gujarat, has brought in a chef collaborator. Pastry chef Kay-Lene Tan has been recruited for the dessert courses. She’s also creating a box of mithai – a selection of the diverse, sugary traditional sweets that are central to Diwali celebrations in India.
Raichura’s completely vegetarian Gujarati menu includes six varieties of farsan (bite-sized snacks) including silverbeet patra (stuffed colocasia leaves) with finger lime, and dahi vada (lentil fritters) with Davidson’s plum; mains like eggplant stuffed with peas, and sweet’n’sour sev puri (a crispy street-food snack) with tomato; and kadhi (chickpea fritters in a gravy of yoghurt and chickpea flour).
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But the highlight might be the pani puri – hollow, deep-fried puffs of dough with a spiced filling. “It’s our family-wide favourite,” Raichura tells Broadsheet, “so it has to be done for the family Diwali feel.” A second collaborator – her mum – is in charge of preparing the spheres, which will be filled with “mint, coriander and a spice composition that she would not share with me”.
Not to be left out, Raichura’s dad is also bringing some mathiya – crispy wafer-thin snacks that Raichura says are a Gujarati speciality – back from India.
In additional to the usual wine list, there’ll also be spiked almond milk thandai (a cold Indian drink made with a combination of nuts and seeds, saffron, rose water, cardamom, sugar, milk and peppercorns) and aam panna (a cold drink made from green mangoes).
Enter via Laundry’s Diwali dinners are taking place on November 9, 10 and 11. Book here.