Snacks that'll tempt Santa

Munch time

Christmas is here and celebrations are in order! Christian, and non-Christian families alike, have started shopping for the Christmas tree, home decorations, gifts as well as food items to whip up the most delectable Christmas delicacies.

Visit any Christian household at this time and you will find nuts being soaked in rum to prepare pies and tarts, ingredients being assembled for the grand cake and huge slabs of chocolates being stashed away to prepare various desserts.

But, besides the above regulars, what other snacks and munchies can you prepare to make your Christmas extra special? There are options galore. Check these out…

Gujias, are not just for Holi. Gujia, also known as Neureos, are a great favourite during Christmas too. In northern India, we stuff these flaky pastries with khoya (condensed milk), but in Goa, where they sell like hot cakes during Christmas, they are stuffed with shredded coconut, jaggery and nuts. Some households go a step further and use spicy mutton mince (keema) or freshly fried green peas as a vegetarian option. Try this version too.

Next in the list come Kulkuls – the much-loved Christmas snack from Mangalore. Kulkuls are small bits of maida prepared with eggs and coconut milk which are coated in sugar powder and then deep fried. What is most special about them is their shape - small curls. Whole families – grandparents, parents and children – sit down to mould these into shells days before the big evening. Kulkuls, thereby, have become a family ritual more than just a Xmas speciality.

Another favourite Christmas savoury is the Rose cookie, also called achappam - a big hit with the Anglo-Indian community down South. A concoction of egg, maida, coconut milk and sugar, rose cookies are cast in the shape of roses (complete with holes for petals) with the help of a casting mould. However, the same batter can be cast in shapes of stars, cones, birds, butterflies and even gingerbread man - a fun exercise for

Love almonds? Go for marzipans. These almond-paste cookies are adored the world over. Grind almonds and cashew nuts with egg whites and rose water to a smooth paste. Add sugar. Cook on low heat till the mix forms a soft ball. Remove from heat and add icing sugar. Knead till it forms a dry ball. Divide the mixture into even-sized balls and mould into shapes of your liking.

For a non-vegetarian item, try salami bread. Simply, get a pizza dough, some eggs, black pepper, mozzarella cheese and Genoa salami. Flatten the dough in an oblong shape, brush it with the egg yellow, sprinkle the pepper and then lay slices of salami on it. Roll it in a tight bun and bake in the oven for an hour. The meaty filling, the oozing warm cheese and spicy pepper will melt your heart.

And, for drinks, Xmas revellers swear by ginger ale. Instead of a factory produce, make one at home. To a cup of sugar, add one-fourth teaspoon baker’s yeast. Prepare two teaspoons of grated ginger, add the juice of one lime and water. Pour all into a bottle, shake well and keep in a warm place. Your ginger ale will be ready in 24 to 48 hours to spice up your Christmas and ward off cough and cold.  

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