A wholesome feast

A wholesome feast


A wholesome feast

Roasted TurkeyChristmas food in India is generally a blend of Eastern spice and Western influences adapted to specific regions and communities. With the festival right around the corner, it is time to take a look at what’s cooking in households across the City.

For Keralites, Christmas lunch usually means a fish or prawn curry, roast duck or appams, and a delicious spiced, coconut lamb stew. Goans mostly stick to their favourites, Sorpotel,  stuffed fish or prawn balchao and chicken cafreal. But most communities make lots of Christmas sweets and cakes. Roast turkey or chicken with stuffing, gravy and accompaniments, rich moist Christmas pudding with a decadent brandy butter sauce are also popular dishes that make their habitual appearances on menus jostling for space on the table between  pulav and biriyani.

Sheela Rego remembers her childhood Christmas lunches and carries on the same traditional celebrations in her own family .“Christmas lunches of yore regardless of the community were strictly home-made affairs with the lady of the house commandeering the kitchen staff and  producing the family's favourite dishes in record time for a lavish sit down affair. We do the same each year and so do most of our friends.This usually means a large dish of fowl (chicken, duck or turkey) curried or roasted to golden perfection and accompanied by generous lashings of stuffing and salads. The stuffing will be made from a scrumptious mix of bread, finely chopped onions, spices, herbs, giblets, plums and nuts with a warm rich gravy on the side.”

“Of course there would also be mutton curries, pork gravies and baked or curried fish. We round off the meal with a large helping of plum pudding which is carefully prepared a week in advance along with some caramel custard for those who want something a little light. Family and special friends will gather around for an afternoon of cheerful feasting that carries on till the evening,” she laughs.

“Our children are away in America and when they visit we have the big Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. But this year, since its just the two of us its much easier to go to the Bangalore Club and sit down to a nicely prepared buffet. They do have all our favourite dishes and we will get to meet many of our friends there,” say retirees Alan and Meena Vaz.

Prem and Suchitra Paul always invite friends over to their farmhouse in Whitefield for lunch on Christmas day. “We make some of the dishes at home but order the turkey and the trimmings from outside. I also order the Christmas pudding as it is quite an effort to make it from scratch. Since our children invite their friends over it is a large friendly informal affair with people drifting in and out and helping themselves to the  buffet of cold cuts and salads set up on the side.”

 “The warm dishes are served between one thirty and four. Prem makes a big production of carving the turkey and I flambe the pudding at the end to a big round of applause,” says Suchitra.