Desi Christmas Recipes

Everyone enjoys the festive season, whether you are Asian, non-Asian, religious or otherwise. Here are some Desi Christmas recipes to add a little spice!

Desi Xmas

Nothing says a Desi Christmas like a full tandoori roast turkey to tantalise the taste buds.

When it comes to the festive season, aside from all the family interaction and present-giving, the food is most definitely the biggest highlight.

But does everyone opt for the traditional English Christmas dinner?

For those Desi’s looking for a little more heat and spice on their Christmas table, we have sought out some special Desi-esque treats and recipes to make your Christmas meal one to remember.

From traditional Indian Goan sweets called Kulkuls, a Tandoori style roast turkey, Desi Christmas Pudding designed by Chef Sameer, and a Turkey Curry for all the leftovers on the day after, we have everything you need to enjoy a magical Desi-style Xmas.


Desi Christmas Recipes


  • 500g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 230 ml coconut cream
  • 4 tbsp sugar, powdered
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 200g sugar (granulated)
  • 3-4 tbsp water


  1. Mix the flour and baking powder well.
  2. Add the butter a little at a time, mixing gently.
  3. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add them to the mix.
  4. Add the powdered sugar and coconut milk to this and mix into a soft dough.
  5. Form the dough into small marble-sized balls.
  6. Grease the back of a fork with some oil and flatten and press a ball of dough onto it.
  7. Starting at one end, roll the dough off the fork and into a tight curl. The end result will be a tube-like curl! Make the remaining dough similarly until it is all used up.
  8. Fry the kulkuls in hot oil, making sure to turn often, until they are a light golden brown in colour. Drain and cool on paper towels.
  9. Put the granulated sugar and water in a separate pan and cook until the sugar melts fully.
  10. Put the cooled kulkuls into this sugar syrup and coat well.
  11. Remove and allow to sit until cool. Store in an airtight container.

Tandoori Roast Turkey

Tandoori Roast Turkey


For the Turkey:

  • A 6-7kg turkey
  • 5 black cardamom pods
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Sea salt

For the Marinade:

  • 950 ml plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 100g chopped peeled ginger
  • 120 ml fresh lime juice
  • 50g finely chopped garlic
  • 50g paprika
  • 2 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the homemade Tandoori Masala:

  • 2 ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 ¼ tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 large cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • ¼ tsp ajwain seeds


To prepare the Tandoori Masala:

  1. Toast spices in a skillet over medium heat, swirling often, until fragrant, for about 2 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Working in batches, finely grind mixture in a spice mill.

To prepare the Turkey:

  1. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
  2. Rub inside and out with sea salt; transfer to roasting bag.
  3. Stuff turkey with cardamom pods and cumin seeds, then onion, celery, and garlic.

To prepare the Marinade:

  1. Purée all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Pour marinade into roasting bag. Smear all over turkey.
  3. Tie bag and arrange turkey, breast side down, in a large heavy roasting pan. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Let turkey stand in a bag at room temperature for 1 hour. Turn breast side up. Create steam holes in bag if required.
  5. Preheat oven to 200°C. Roast turkey for 30 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to 180°C. Roast about 1 1/2 hours longer (or until turkey is 70°C)
  7. Cut top of bag open, being careful of steam and juices, and pull back over turkey. Roast turkey until breast is deeply browned but not burned, 15–30 minutes longer.
  8. Transfer to a platter. Let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
  9. Meanwhile, strain juices into a large saucepan. Spoon fat from surface. Simmer over medium heat until sauce is reduced to 800 ml, about 20 minutes.
  10. Carve turkey. Serve with accompanying gravy.

Desi Christmas Pudding: Lagan Nu Custard

Desi Christmas Recipes


  • 5 eggs
  • 1500 ml milk with full cream
  • 120 ml condensed milk
  • 300g sugar
  • Pinch of green cardamom powder
  • Pinch of nutmeg, grated
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • Handful of almonds (peeled, sliced)


  1. Bring the milk to boil and simmer.
  2. Add sugar and condensed milk and stir until completely dissolved. (Add or reduce sugar if you prefer). Simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the milk gets thicker and the colour changes from white to yellowish. Remove from fire and keep aside.
  3. Mix egg, cardamom powder, grated nutmeg and vanilla essence. Add slowly to milk at room temperature and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture in a greased baking pan, bake at 200-220°C for 45 -50 minutes in a preheated oven.
  5. Garnish with sliced almonds and let it chill before serving.

Turkey Curry

Desi Christmas Recipes

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2.5cm slice of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 8 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into cubes
  • 570 ml chicken or turkey stock
  • 125 ml yoghurt
  • 85 ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 large handfuls roast turkey, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large non-stick pot.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, chilli, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and ground coriander.
  3. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft, being careful not to burn the spices.
  4. Add the potatoes and butternut squash and cook until the potato begins to stick to the bottom of the pan slightly.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes and butternut squash are tender.
  7. Stir in the yoghurt and cream, then add the lemon juice.
  8. Add the cooked turkey, fold in and simmer to heat through.
  9. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve immediately.

The winter festive season is always a special time for family and friends to get together and enjoy each other’s company. And nothing says a Desi Christmas like a full tandoori roast turkey to tantalise the taste buds. Have a very Happy Holidays!

Aisha an English literature graduate, is a keen editorial writer. She adores reading, theatre, and anything arts related. She is a creative soul and is always reinventing herself. Her motto is: “Life is too short, so eat dessert first!”