Swagat marks India’s festival of lights

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    As restaurants in Metro Manila slowly open up with more relaxed quarantine regulations, lovers of authentic and homestyle Indian dishes will continue to savor the mouth-watering specialties of Swagat Indian Cuisine.

    Literally meaning “welcome”, Swagat recently celebrated Diwali, India’s biggest religious observance dedicated to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and is regarded as the “festival of lights”.

    The five-day festival is celebrated by billions of the world’s Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, and symbolizes new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness.

    But with quarantine restrictions still in place, Swagat marked the low-key event with its loyal patrons and the Indian community, minus the traditional colorful rangoli adornments, by feasting on authentic dishes which have been tickled the local palate.

    For appetizers, start off with bhel puri and sev puff rice, or methi aloo matter potatoes with green peas cooked with fenugreek leaves and flavored spices or palak pakora, deep fried spinach and spices rolled in chickpea flour.

    Must-try main dishes are malai kofta dish of cheese and vegetable patties cooked in butter sauce; chicken tikka, tender, skinless and boneless chicken marinated in ginger and garlic; fish palak, cooked in mild spices, with spinach and sauce; mutton masala, goat meat cooked in onions, tomatoes and spices.

    For rice, there is the flavored sangam biryani with lean, tender pieces of chicken, lamb, cooked in herbs and spices. Its variants are chicken, mutton, scrambled egg, and shrimp. Dishes are “halal” which make them ideal for Muslims.

    Sample the three combo meals for one, three and a family desi feast for your first venture into Indian fare.

    Meanwhile, ice cream lovers will rejoice with Swagat’s pint-size and sought-after home-made kulfi.

    After celebrating 17 Diwali festivals and one pandemic in the country, owner Komal Khanchandani poses the same confident challenge on the restaurant’s day one: “Don’t pay if you are not satisfied with the food.”

    Swagat is at The Columns at Amorsolo St. cor. Arnaiz Ave., Legazpi Village, Makati City, and is only available for pick up or food delivery service.