Indians are known to add their own spin to traditional dishes. Even during Christmas, local communities have managed to create their own unique variations inspired by foreign fare
12/11/2017 5:24:43 PM
|written By : NIthya Subramanian|
India’s secular culture can be witnessed in the enthusiastic Christmas celebrations that take place across the country. Each community has indigenised the festival by incorporating local elements to the festivities. From decorating mango or banana trees to hanging floral and mango leaf garlands, decorating homes with burning clay lamps to recreating the Nativity scene, it was all about going local.
So how could food be any different? Apart from the traditional fruit cakes, roasted meat and minced pies, Christians in India have their own set of uniquely Indian specialities. Those from Kerala make their own wines to celebrate Christmas. This tradition was introduced by the Jews several decades before the Christians arrived here and continues even today. Unlike traditional wine makers, households make their wine in brown ceramic jars or bharani, add sugar and let the grape juice ferment for about 21 days. Often gooseberries, cinnamon and spices are added to enhance the flavour and sometimes plantain leaves are added as a substitute to yeast. The result is a very sweet wine, that is almost akin to a dessert wine.
Other interesting dishes cooked during the festival include Egg Vindaloo, Potato Chop, Cardamom and Cashew Macarons and Date Rolls.
The Egg Vindaloo is extremely popular in Kerala and is often eaten with string hoppers or appams. Traditionally Vindaloo is a Portuguese dish wherein pork is marinated in wine and garlic. The Goans tweaked it a little by substituting palm vinegar for red wine while also throwing in some red chillies and spices. The Keralites simplified it further by using eggs and white vinegar instead of meat and wine.
Potato Chops are almost synonymous with Anglo-Indian cooking. A marriage between the potato cutlet and the kebab, these are basically crumbed and spiced patties with minced meat in the centre. An essential at all festivities including Christmas, it can be eaten either as a starter or as a side-dish.
Similarly, macaroons, a typical French dessert has also been given a desi twist. While the ones made in Thoothukudi substitutes almond flour for cahew, bakeries in Mangalore have gone a step further and added cardamom to it. Pronounced as ‘Mukroons’, these are also quite popular in December.
And finally Date Rolls. Popular during Christmas among the East Indian community, these are baked Puff Pastry rolls filled with date and nuts, which could have been inspired by pies and tarts.
For the dough/covering:
For the egg wash (optional):
To make the filling:
To make the covering:
To assemble & bake: