Last weekend, for the second year in a row, the Midwestern Gentleman and I were delighted to join friends to attend Daawat, a fundraising event sponsored by the Iowa State University student group “Sankalp.” For the past 17 years, Sankalp has been funding sustainable development projects in India which offer support to the economically disadvantaged and socially challenged. Their annual Daawat dinner raises money to fund these projects through ticket sales, a silent auction of Indian handicrafts, and donations.
The entertainment included song, dance, a live sand art demonstration, a presentation about past and future development projects, a silent auction, and a mimed comedy skit, wrapping up with an extravagant, all-you-can-eat Indian buffet dinner cooked by women of the Indian community in Ames. Their combined efforts created a spectacular meal, and one which was surprisingly friendly to the gluten-intolerant. A friend called ahead and discovered that the only gluten-containing item on the menu would be the naan (bread). Even the lentil patties served as an appetizer were gluten-free. There were also several options for vegetarians, but those with a nut or severe dairy allergy would be out of luck at this delicious feast. I put aside my usual dairy-free diet for the night and enjoyed the homemade yogurt, the creamy sauces, and the almond kheer.
*menu text quoted from the Daawat program
Masala Vada with Coconut Chutney: deep-fried lentil patties flavored with onion and spices
Methi Malai Paneer: fresh homemade cheese in a rich, creamy sauce infused with a blend of exotic spices and fenugreek leaves
Mixed Vegetables: zesty blend of vegetables, stir fried with spices
Chicken Tikka Masala: boneless chicken simmered in tomato sauce, with onion, cashew powder, cream, and a combination of spices
Fried Rice with Indian Spices: basmati rice cooked to perfection with vegetables and a spice mixture
Naan: toasted Indian bread
Cucumber Raita: chilled homemade yogurt with cucumber
Almond Kheer: a rich combination of reduced milk and almond paste, flavored with essence and saffron
To learn more about the sustainable development projects supported by Sankalp, to make a donation, or to get involved with the group, contact Sankalp through the organization website. I’m already looking forward to Daawat 2014!