Christmas meals are always traditionally prepared at home with a lot of love. With the best chefs of India sharing their savoury festive recipes, you can’t go wrong!
Hosting a potluck for Christmas? Or simply looking for an excuse to flex those pandemic cooking skills? Well you’re in luck, because we have curated some of the best savoury recipes to adorn your tables this festive season.
A traditional Christmas meal as depicted by popular culture involves overly extravagant food. The big roasted turkey with stuffings of your preference tops the list of course. Alongside this, you have other popular favourites like yams, greens, potatoes, roasted chicken, and a lot more.
Even as the waistband continues to dig into your skin, the number of courses only seems to grow until you might just not have space for desserts anymore. The sight of a great pie is good enough to turn that around real quick though.
In India, while some staples like Roast Chicken do make their way to Christmas tables, there’s a whole aspect of meat and culinary traditions that have not been explored. And who better than the very best chefs of India to educate us on the same? With some handy tips and tricks to get through the process, these recipes are sure to yield magnificent dishes, as well as the envy and praise of all feasting!
Honey, Grain Mustard & Lime Roast Chicken with a green olive, tomato, chicken liver, risotto stuffing by Chef Rohan D’Souza, Culinary Director, Silver Beach Entertainment and Hospitality
For the roast chicken
- 1 whole chicken with skin
- 3 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 2 tbsp of honey
- 3 tsp preserved lime paste
- 2 pods finely sliced garlic
- 4 to 5 shallots roasted ground to a paste
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pinches of cinnamon powder
- 2 pinches of star anise powder
- 4 to 5 tbsp butter
For the stuffing
- 4 tbsp of mutti chopped peeled tomato
- 100 gms of green olives
- 1 ladle of cooked risotto rice
- 30 ml of cooking white wine
- 50 gms of cooked chicken liver chopped
- 2 pods of garlic sliced
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tsp butter or duck fat
- salt / pepper to taste accordingly
Preparing the chicken
- Gash the chicken in its thighs & breast, and with the remaining ingredients except the butter in a bowl whisk to a marinade and apply it on the chicken massaging it between its skin and inside its stomach cavity.
- Leave it to rest for about 12 hours or preferably overnight keeping the remaining marinade and folding it into the butter. This gives us a honey mustard butter for our basting.
- In a pan over medium heat, sweat down the onion, garlic till tender, add in the tomato & cooked risotto rice & wine. Cook for a couple of minutes & add the chopped chicken liver, thyme & fold in the butter.
- Cool down the stuffing.
Assembling & cooking the chicken
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees, in the meantime spoon the stuffing into the chicken cavity. Tie the legs with a string to hold inside.
- Line a baking tray with silver foil and place the chicken and cook for 1 hour 20 minutes. During the last 15 minutes add a ladle of stock to the tray as this will also give us a roast gravy. Once cooked, let it rest for 15 minutes & carve it accordingly.
Roast Pork Belly with apple pickled walnut puree, roast broccoli & bacon by Chef Rohan D’Souza, Culinary Director, Silver Beach Entertainment and Hospitality
For the pork belly
- 1.5 pork belly skin and bones left on
- 50 gm of sea salt
- 3 onions peeled and roughly diced
- 2 garlic pods roughly chopped with skin
- 2 carrots sliced
- 4 celery sticks diced
- 1 fennel bulb sliced
- 5 sprigs of sage
- 2 tsp hand full of bashed peppercorn
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 star anise
- chicken stock, to cover
For the apple walnut puree
- 6 green apples
- 70g of butter, diced
- 2 tbsp of brown sugar
- 50ml of water
- pickled walnuts chopped
For the roast broccoli and bacon
- red radish
- bacon bits
- blanched broccoli florets cut a bit longer
- 5/6 red radish cut into quarters
- 1 handful chopped crispy bacon
- sultanas (optional)
For the sauce
- pork belly reserve liquid
- 2 finely chopped shallots
- 2 pods finely sliced garlic
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- 3/4 bottle red wine
- 6/8 button mushrooms finely sliced
- 25 gms flour
- 25 gms butter
- 2 tsp olive oil
For pork belly
- Rub the sea salt into the pork belly and leave overnight in the fridge, or for 12 hours. In the morning rub off the salt and rinse of any excess under cold running water.
- Place the pork belly in a deep roasting tray, arranging all the vegetables, herbs and spices around it. Cover with chicken stock and braise in the oven at 140°C for 3 hours.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the stock, Reserve the stock and keep aside for the sauce . Line a tray with greaseproof paper and carefully transfer the pork belly onto a tray, skin-side down.
- Lay a flat tray on top and weigh down with 4-5kg & leave it overnight.
For the apple walnut puree
- Place the apples in a baking tray with the mentioned ingredients except the walnuts and cook for about 30 to 35 mins. Once tender, blitz it to a smooth puree. Fold in the chopped pickled walnuts.
For the roast broccoli and bacon
- In a pan saute the above ingredients
For the sauce
- Mix the butter and flour over slow heat in a pan to a paste and leave aside.
- In a pan add in a splash of oil add the chopped onion, garlic, mushrooms & sweat for a bit. Add the tomato puree, red wine & pork belly liquid. Adjust the seasoning if required and strain the liquid.
Serving & final plating
- Portion the pork belly after it has been pressed, place in a pan lined with butter paper and cook for 5 to 6 minutes till warm through. Once out of the oven, blow torch the skin till crispy.
- Place a spoonful of apple puree, place the pork belly along with the broccoli mix. Add a few spoons of jus on the plate.
Roasted Chicken by Rajneesh Kr Piyush, Sous Chef, Ginger Goa
- (around 1.5 kg) 1 full corn fed chicken
- 2 to 3 tbsp olive oil
- fresh rosemary
- fresh thyme
- pinch of a mix of dried herbs
- 6 to 7 whole garlic pods
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- freshly made chicken stock
- 8 to 10 baby potatoes (small ones)
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 onions
- 1 carrots
- A brush of butter on top (optional)
- sea salt
- fresh black pepper
- Take the chicken with skin on, and remove the unmentionables.
- Take the garlic pods with the skin on, and smash them with a knife. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon and the garlic.
- You can truss the chicken; many prefer to sew the chicken up.
- Pour the olive oil in it, and add the rosemary and thyme leaves.
- Crush them into the oil.
- Lightly massage the chicken with the flavored olive oil.
- Sprinkle a bit of the mixed dried herbs too. And some minced garlic.
- Then add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Now pour some chicken stock into the roasting pan.
- Add roughly chopped celery, carrots and mini potatoes.
- Then put the chicken in, it should fit snugly in the pan.
- Turn the chicken over once or twice in the middle.
- Let the chicken rest for ten minutes before you carve it.
- Stock your fridge with homemade chicken stock.
- Chicken stock can be made from chicken wings, carrot, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt.
- Grind your fresh herbs to release their flavor.
- Don’t salt your chicken way in advance, it will rob all the moisture away from it.
Mrs. Staub’s Roast Chicken With Winter Vegetables by Chef Vikramjit, The Tangra Project
- 1 (around 500 – 600 gms) chicken whole with skin
- 1 tbsp rough salt
- 1 tbsp crushed black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 unpeeled garlic, whole
- 2 tbsp thyme
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ½ fresh pineapple
- 1 fresh orange
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 orange
- kitchen tread – as required
- 1 turnip, cut into quarters
- 10 baby potato
- 2 carrots, same size as turnip
- 8 mushroom, halved
- 2 red onion, quartered
- 6 garlic whole
- Citrus garlic thyme oil
- 1 roasting tray
- Wash & dry the chicken with a towel. Sprinkle salt & pepper and rub it well both inside & outside the chicken.
- Grind unpeeled garlic, thyme and olive oil in a mortar & pestle.
- Juice the orange & pineapple and mix it with the oil. Mix this with the garlic thyme mixture. Follow this with a rub of the above marination (let’s call it citrus garlic thyme oil & save some for later). Try to rub between the skin & meat. Rest this in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Cut the orange into half. Stuff this inside the chicken and tie the legs together.
- Place all the vegetables at the bed of the tray, sprinkle salt & pepper over it and place the chicken on it.
- Preheat the oven to around 195 degrees Celsius.
- Drizzle the citrus garlic thyme oil all over the chicken & vegetables.
- Cover the entire tray with aluminum foil and cook in the oven for 25 mins.
- Remove the aluminum foil and further cook for 15 mins.
- Turn the chicken around and cook for another 10 mins till a golden-brown crust is formed all around with a nice crispy skin.
- Let it rest for 10 mins and serve.
Saffron Gnocchi with Tomato Chilli Butter by Chef Vicky Ratnani, Speak Burgers
- 1 cup potatoes steamed and mashed
- 2 tbsp flour
- pinch of nutmeg
- 2 egg yolk
- 150g ricotta cheese
- 1 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
For the sauce
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 – 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp chopped onions
- 1 tbsp sliced garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh chillies chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- black pepper
- basil leaves
- Take the peeled, cooked and cooled potatoes and cut them into sections. Using one section at a time, press them through a potato ricer. Alternatively, mash them well so that no lumps remain.
- In a large bowl add the rice or mashed potato, salt, olive oil, ricotta cheese, egg yolk, nutmeg and flour and using clean hands mix the ingredients together and then squeeze to gently knead it into a cohesive ball. If the mixture is sticky add flour until it no longer sticks to your hand. If you can’t get the flour to fully absorb and mix into the potatoes add a little extra olive oil until it comes together. The key is to not have a wet and sticky dough so that it’s easy to work with and form into little dumplings.
- Keeping the dough covered so it doesn’t dry out, take a small section at a time to form into the gnocchi. Take a 1 tsp (~6g) piece of dough and squeeze it in your fist to make a compact and roughly shaped ball, then roll it between your palms to make it round.
- For the traditional gnocchi shape with the grooves on one side, place a fork sitting face down on the counter and take the ball and place it at the top of the backside of the tines of the fork. With your thumb on the piece of dough, slide the gnocchi down the tines of the fork until you reach the counter. The gnocchi will turn under your thumb until it has grooves going around about 3/4 of the dough and a small inset divot where your thumb was.
- Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. If the dough becomes sticky at any point, toss shaped gnocchi with flour so they don’t stick together and knead a bit of extra flour into the remaining unshaped dough.
- To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add half the gnocchi to the pot and let it cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the gnocchi floats to the top and has cooked an additional minute at the top. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon and then cook the second batch of gnocchi.
- As for the sauce, just bring all the ingredients to a slow simmer and cook for 5 minutes .
- Add the gnocchi to the sauce, toss well, garnish with grated Parmesan, basil leaves , microgreens and edible flowers
- Use the cooked gnocchi in your favorite recipe, or store in the fridge for up to a week (you can freeze for longer)
Pork Vindaloo by Chef Eram, The Oberoi
- 16 dried Kashmiri chilli, seeded
- 1 (1 inch) piece cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 6 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon toddy vinegar
- salt to taste
- 1 kg boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¼ cup sunflower oil
- 4 medium onions (chopped)
- 10 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 (1 inch) ginger
- ¼ cup toddy vinegar
- Grind the Kashmiri chilies, cinnamon stick, cumin, clove, peppercorns, and turmeric with 1 tbsp of toddy vinegar to create a smooth paste. Season to taste with salt.
- Mix the pork cubes with the spice-vinegar paste in a bowl until evenly coated and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- Heat oil in a large heavy bottom pot and sauté the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger until golden brown. Add the marinated pork and the remaining marinade, and cook, stirring frequently, until the pork cubes have firmed. Pour in the water, bring to a simmer. Simmer until the pork is tender for about 40 minutes.
- Add 1/4 cup of the remaining vinegar and cook uncovered until the curry has thickened for about 30 more minutes. Season to taste with salt before serving.
- Serve with hot rice or warm poes or pav.
- Cider vinegar or malt vinegar is also a good substitute for Palm or coconut (toddy) vinegar which is traditionally used.
- Season at every step. Adding a little salt at every step helps all the ingredients cooking get a better seasoning and cook faster.
Kudampuli Cheemen curry (Kerala prawn curry cooked with Gamboge) by Chef Eram, The Oberoi
- 1 kg prawns (18-20, deveined)
- 8-10 shallots
- 3 tomatoes
- 6 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons of Kashmiri chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
- 2 sprigs of curry leaves
- salt to taste
- 3 cups of grated coconut
- 4 slit green chilies
- 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon of coriander powder
- 1 (1 inch) ginger
- 2-3 gamboge (kudampuli)
- 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
- Clean and devein prawns.
- Mix tomato, green chili, garlic, ginger and gambooge/kudampuli in a pot and pour 1 cup water into this. Cover and cook for 10-15min on medium flame.
- Grind coconut, chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric to a smooth paste.
- Pour this ground paste into the mix, add prawns to it. Allow it to boil on low flame for 10-15 minutes.
- Heat oil in another pan, splutter mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds, add curry leaves and shallots. Pour this over the curry. Serve hot with hot steamed rice.
- Marinate the prawns with salt, oil and chopped curry leaves to enhance the flavour of prawns.
Fish Christmas Croute by Gaurav Malhotra, Executive Chef, Fairmont Jaipur
- 70 gm unsalted butter
- 2 shallots chopped
- 100 gm mushrooms (we used chanterelle)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 220 gm fresh spinach
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 70 gm breadcrumbs
- 200 gm cream cheese
- 10 gm fresh dill, chopped
- 700 gm fish fillet
- 1 kg ready rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg whisked
- Cook the spinach filling first
- In a pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic, fry until shallots are softened.
- Add spinach, black pepper & salt, cook until spinach has wilted. Then add mushrooms and onions
- Cooking in a black pan. Add the cream cheese, breadcrumbs and chopped dill stir together, remove from the heat and place it to one side.
- Put the cream cheese mixed in with the mushrooms, spinach and onions on Fish. Preheat the oven 180°c.
- Lay parchment paper on a baking tray. Place 1 pack of puff pastry onto the parchment paper. Place the fish in the centre of the puff pastry sheet, placing a fish fillet onto a puff pastry sheet and spreading the spinach filling using your hands. On top of the fish fillet place the cream cheese filling.
- Place the second sheet of puff pastry over the top of the fish and spinach, press the pastry down around the edges.
- Tuck the corners away to make it look more like a parcel.
- Cut away any excess pastry, fold the edges of the first sheet of pastry up to meet the second. Use a fork to seal the two sheets together all around the edges.
- Crimping the edges of the fish en croute with a silver fork. With a sharp knife score the top of the parcel with a crisscross pattern, try not to cut too deep.
- Optional, lightly brush the fish en croute with egg wash with a black brush. Bake in the oven for 30 mins.
Duck Mappas by Chef Regi Mathew, Culinary Director & Co-Owner Kappa Chakka Kandhari
- 1 kg duck cut with bones
- ½ cups onion sliced
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 8 cardamom
- 10 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon
- ½ tsp fennel
- 4 green chilli
- 10 curry leaves
- 5 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp ginger shredded
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 3 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 cup coconut milk, 1st press
- 3 cup coconut milk, 2nd press
- Salt, to taste
- Smear the duck with coriander powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
- Heat oil in a thick bottom pan, add cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and fennel.
- Add curry leaves, ginger, garlic, and green chilies. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add onion and sauté for another 08 minutes till the onion becomes transparent.
- Add duck meat and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add 2nd press coconut milk and cook it on simmer flame without a cover for 30 minutes till the meat is cooked.
- Check the seasoning and add 1st press coconut milk and mix well.
- Remove from fire and serve hot.
Chattimeen Curry by Chef Regi Mathew, Culinary Director & Co-Owner Kappa Chakka Kandhari
- 02 karimeen
- 02 lemon
- 2 cups coconut milk, 1st press
- 1 cup coconut milk, 2nd press
- 02 cups buttermilk
- 1 ½ tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ cup tomato quartered
- 1 tbsp ginger juliennes
- 1 tbsp garlic sliced
- 8 – 10 leaves curry leaves
- 3 green chillies
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek
- 1 cup shallots sliced
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp peppercorn crushed
- Clean the karimeen (Pearl spot) and marinate with turmeric, lemon juice and salt and keep it aside.
- Take a flat-bottomed earthen cooking chatti and heat oil. Add fenugreek, shredded ginger, garlic, green chilli, and curry leaves.
- Add shallots and sauté till it becomes light golden brown. Add turmeric powder and chilli powder and sauté some more.
- Add tomatoes and sauté for another 2 minutes. Then add butter milk and 2nd press coconut. Bring to a boil.
- Add the cleaned fish into the curry and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add salt and finish with 1st press coconut milk.
- Sprinkle with freshly ground peppercorn.
- Serve hot with rice, Appam, Idiyappam or Puttu.
Xmas Spiced Pumpkin Ravioli by Chef Stefan Gadit, Executive Chef, Sage & Saffron
- 500 g all purpose flour
- 10 egg yolks
- Extra flour for rolling out the dough
Xmas spiced pumpkin filling
- 1 small pumpkin
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 pinches Xmas Spice mix (combination of cinnamon, star anise, clove, nutmeg)
- ⅓ cup ricotta cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 small cubes of cold butter
- 3 tbsp pasta water
- Salt to taste
- Place the flour on a table and make a well, put the egg yolk and bring the dough together by kneading gently till the dough starts to form. If needed, wet your hands lightly. Do not over knead.
- The texture should be soft and velvety to the touch, now shape it into a dough ball.
- Let dough rest for about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 ° F.
- Cut pumpkin in half long ways.
- Scoop out seeds and pulp.
- Drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle it with salt, pepper and thyme.
- Place flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the oven.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until a fork can go smoothly through the skin and into the flesh.
- Take it out of the oven and let it cool.
- Scoop flesh from pumpkin and place in a bowl.
- Mix in ricotta, xmas spice blend, olive oil, some salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Take dough and cut rounds about ¼ inch thick.
- Roll dough rounds in a pasta machine (or with a rolling pin) starting from the lowest number and repeating one number at a time till you get to 7, and dusting with flour if necessary, lay sheets on a floured surface.
- You can check the size by testing on the ravioli mold.
- Dust tops with some flour.
- Dust ravioli mold with some flour.
- Place the pasta sheet on top making sure it goes over the edges a bit.
- Gently press dough into pockets.
- Scoop some pumpkin filling into dough pockets making sure not to fill it too high. It should be level with the top surface of the ravioli mold.
- Place another dough sheet on top and with a rolling pin, roll dough, pressing edges to make sure the dough has been cut forming the squares of ravioli.
- Peel out ravioli and dust with flour, placing them on a floured baking sheet. Set aside.
- Blanch the ravioli in hot boiling water, till it floats. Scoop the pasta out into a tray and drizzle with some olive oil and set aside.
- Take a few tsbp of the blanching water in a sauce pan and slowly whisk in the cold butter, taking it on and off the flame to make a light butter emulation, add the pasta, coat with the sauce and serve hot.