Diwali: Your guide to celebrating the Festival of Lights

Chef Pravish, the Chef de Cuisine at Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s five-star Indian restaurant Naya, explains what Diwali is all about how you can join this year’s celebrations!

For those that have lived in Dubai for an October or two (or 10!), you’ll know exactly what Diwali is. In the days leading up the festival on 19 October, houses, villas and apartments are lit up in preparation for the celebration – read on to find out more!

What is Diwali?

“Diwali is a festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness,” Chef Pravish Shetty, the speciality Chef de Cuisine at Naya explains. “It is also known as Deepavali, or the Festival of Lights when the return of a hero in exile to his kingdom was celebrated by the entire city lighting up.” For Chef Pravish, his memories of Diwali growing up include “buying new clothes and dressing up nicely to take a plate of sweets to our neighbour’s house.”

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Delicious dishes available at Naya

Food glorious food
During Diwali celebrations treats are often given to friends and family. In fact, sweets are one of the markers of the festival. “When you say Diwali, two things come to mind – sweets and firecrackers,” Chef Pravish says with a laugh, before adding that the giving and receiving of food is similar to that in western cultures. “In the west, they also celebrate with sweets, like cakes, but here we use traditional sweets because cakes are not indigenous to India.”

The Diwali menu at Naya has been prepared to cater for different tastes. “We have prepared a special a la carte menu which is a nice mixture of vegetarian dishes with starters, mains and desserts. I’ve taken my inspiration from grassroots vegetarian dishes and elevated them to a five-star standard,” Chef Pravish explains. As for the one dish he’s eager for patrons to try this year? “I would love for people to try the Desi Churros with reduced saffron milk. I thought outside of the box to create this dessert especially for Diwali. It’s a form of churros, shaped in such a way that it resembles one of the snacks that is traditionally made in Diwali. Naya , the name of our restaurant, means new so I wanted to do something to create something that reflected this.”

Vegetarian cuisine
Diwali is a time to come together as a family and with your friends to forget about past negativity and celebrate the year ahead. Some of the dishes included in these cook-ups are Karanji, Guijjia, Laddoos and Moong dal Halwa, but it depends on the region in which it is being celebrated as Naya‘s Chef Pravish explains. “India is a very diverse country and there are different communities, each of which has its own individual foods but the one thing that all those celebrating Diwali have in common is that they tend to be vegetarian, serving only Indian vegetarian food and avoiding anything with meat.”

Spend time with loved ones
Chef Pravish’s passion for creating food that brings people together is palpable, and is the reason he says people should celebrate Diwali at Naya this year, whether they are Indian or not. “80 per cent of our clientele are locally residing Indians but we also have guests visiting who want to get a feel for the festival and know what it is about. Diwali is an opportunity for the whole family to come together in a five-star environment to enjoy great food. We have created all of our food from high-quality ingredients inspired by grassroots ideas so it’s all new – it’s food for everyone.”

For more information and reservations please contact +9 (71)-44323232 or e-mail restaurants@jumeirah.com

Celebrate Diwali in style at Wild Wadi Waterpark™

Light up Diwali with a fun day out at Wild Wadi Waterpark™. As the day draws to close, ride the slides with the twinkling of the lights and view the traditional Rangoli artwork created by the Wild Wadi team. If you’re craving some authentic flavours, enjoy a special menu including traditional Chicken Kathi Rolls, Ragada Tikki, Dahi Poori Chaat and Ice Gola. Sample all of these items for just AED 90 or indulge in a traditional Indian sweets package for AED 30.

Timings: 12noon – 5.30pm.

Celebrate at Jumeirah Emirates Towers

Celebrate Diwali at Mundo, Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Join us for a heartwarming Diwali dinner with family and friends on 19 0ctober 2017 at Mundo. With a range of vegetarian dishes, a live chat counter and an array of delicious Indian sweet delicacies on offer, this year’s Festival of Light will be one to cherish and remember. Buffet price: AED 135 inclusive of a welcome drink.

‎Timings: 6:30pm to 10:00pm

To make a reservation at Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts please click here

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