As the year comes to a close, we gear up to celebrate Christmas in India be it cleaning the house, bringing out the old decorations, shopping for something new or the most important of all, deciding the menu. One of the best things about Christmas is the yummy food we get to eat. ENe lists a few of the traditional favourite dishes of Christmas.
The Christmas cake, a kind of special fruity cake is another trademark dish of the festival. Instead of buying the cake from market, acquire a recipe for a book or the internet, bake it at home. The aroma of the baked delicacy is likely to fill your home with the festive cheer.
- 1 cup plain flour
- ½ cup chopped cashew nuts
- ¼ cup black raisins
- ½ cup mixed dry fruits (dates, cherries, orange peels)
- 1.5 cups white sugar
- ⅔ cup butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 clove
- 1 cardamom pod
- small piece of cinnamon
- a pinch nutmeg (pound together to powder)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
Recipe: Firstly melt half-cup of sugar slowly. Keep stirring until it turns a deep caramel colour. Don’t let it burn. Turn off the heat. Pour ¼ cup of water and turn the heat back on. Then slowly heat the mixture until the sugar crystals dissolve. This will take around 10 mins. After this cools and set aside. Pre-heat oven to 350F / 180C. Add 3 tbsp flour to the dry fruits and nuts to coat it. This is so that they don’t sink to the bottom of the batter while baking. Set aside.
Then mix the remaining flour, baking powder, spices, and salt until well combined. Beat the butter and 1 cup sugar until it is fluffy. About 10 mins by hand, 3-4 mins with an electric beater. Next add vanilla and mix until combined. Now add 1 egg and beat. Then add a bit of the flour mixture and fold. Likewise, alternate between the eggs and flour mixture until they are used up. Add the cooled caramel and fruits to gently fold in.
Pour batter into a greased cake pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50-55 mins until the top turns a dark brown and when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with dry crumbs. You can start checking from 45 mins. The top may look like it’s overdone but don’t worry, make sure the inside is completely cooked. Lastly dust with icing sugar after the cake is completely cooled.
Made all over India as a festival sweet, it is universally popular. It varies slightly from state to state. In some parts of India, it uses thickened milk filling whereas in other parts, people also use a coconut filling.
- 1/2 kg flour
- 2 tablespoons ghee (or hydrogenated oil)
- a pinch of salt
For the filling
- 1/2 kg sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 half ripe coconut grated fine
- 100 gm cashew nuts (chopped very fine)
- 100 gm raisins
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 6 cardamoms (powdered)
- oil for frying
Recipe: Mix salt, ghee and flour well and then add enough water to knead into a dough. Bring water to a boil in a pan, add sugar till it melts. When it forms a syrupy consistency, add the grated coconut, ghee and the nuts. When the mixture has thickened, add raisins and cardamom powder.
Remove the mixture from the gas and keep aside. Divide the mixture into small balls and roll into thin rounds. Add the coconut filling on each round and seal both the edges with a press of your fingers. Trim the edges with a cutter and fry in hot oil. After they are golden brown, remove from the gas. Wait after it cools to serve.
Kulkul is another Christmas sweet prepared all over India. This sweet is a combination of Portugese and Indian flavours, native to Goans. It is easy to make at home because the ingredients can be found easily. You can look-up the recipe on the net or use a cookbook.
- 300 gm flour
- 3 table spoons Butter
- 50 gm Castor sugar (Powdered Sugar)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
- 1 Egg Yolk
- coconut milk for kneading
Recipe: Melt the butter and then pour it over the flour. Then add the yolk, vanilla essence and sugar. Knead the batter into a smooth dough using coconut milk. Place a damp cloth over the dough for 10 minutes. Take a small portion of the dough and spread evenly. Once it is flattened, roll it from bottom to top or left to right. Once rolled, seal the edges. They are ready to be fried, once they are golden brown they are ready to be served.
Heat water in a pan and then add the sugar. Bring to boil. Drop the cooled kulkuls in the syrup till they absorb the sweetness and then serve.