It is also ideal as a starter for Christmas
Food during Christmas is one of the best things to look forward to. So why not add some spice to your celebrations with a Desi Christmas dinner!
Christmas dinner is an extensive meal, ranging from starters to dessert. And in each course come a variety of options.
The essence of Christmas dinner is to bring family and loved ones together around the dinner table to enjoy some fantastic food.
In Desi households, there can be multiple generations living under one roof.
A traditional British Christmas dinner features a particular type of meat, potatoes and vegetables, so why not put a Desi spin on it.
We explore the main elements to include in your Christmas dinner as well as some helpful recipes.
Starters are an important aspect of a Christmas meal as they kick off the impressive feast.
So, it is good to have delicious dishes that tingle the tastebuds, preparing them for the array of flavours in the main meal.
Here are some options to consider for your Desi Christmas dinner.
When it comes to a great starter, you cannot go wrong with samosas.
They are a light snack comprising of crispy pastry and a flavourful filling.
Some popular filling options include potato and peas, mincemeat, chicken and mixed vegetables.
They taste even better when paired with refreshing raita.
Nargisi Kofta is an exotic Mughlai dish that involves encasing hardboiled eggs in a meatball mixture and then deep-frying.
Lamb, onions, garlic and various spices are moulded around each egg.
It is then dusted in rice flour and fried until crispy.
Afterwards, Nargisi Kofta is cooked in a tomato-based sauce that is packed with spices.
It is essentially a Scotch Egg but with a Desi twist.
Chicken Tikka Skewers
Chicken tikka is undoubtedly one of the best foods when it comes to Indian cuisine as it forms the basis for so many chicken dishes.
The rich flavours and a slight smokiness make it a crowd-pleaser among many people around the world.
It is also ideal as a starter for Christmas when cut into bite-sized pieces and put on skewers.
This dish is perfect with mint chutney as the red tandoori chicken and green chutney give it that festive feel.
Paneer is a very popular choice as an ingredient when it comes to Indian vegetarian food. So, these paneer bites are a great Desi Christmas starter for those wanting a vegetarian choice.
Similar in appearance to chicken nuggets, paneer bites have a crispy batter surrounding the soft cheese.
The spice from the chillies is wonderfully mellowed out by the mild paneer, making for a delicious combination of flavours.
They are the perfect starter to have for Christmas and are best served with a nice dip like mint or chilli chutney.
Mini Vada Pav
Vada Pav is commonly served as street food but it can be adapted to be a Christmas starter.
The main ingredient is mashed potatoes and spices that is combined with batter and deep-fried.
A mini version is decorated with little bread baskets to place them in.
Mint chutney is then piped on the top.
This innovative adaptation of a popular street food will be a nice surprise for guests and family.
Choices of Meat
The meat is the most important part of a Christmas dinner as it serves as the centrepiece of the entire meal.
Each meat offers different flavours and textures.
But to add even more flavour and a Desi twist, marinade your chosen meat in a variety of spices.
Common spices to use include chillies, turmeric, garam masala, garlic, ginger, cumin and paprika.
It is typically brought together with plain yoghurt.
When marinating your meat, it is best to do so a day or two in advance to allow the marinade to penetrate the meat.
Here are some of the choices for your Desi Christmas dinner.
Turkey is the most obvious choice when it comes to Christmas dinner.
In many British households, turkey is the most popular Christmas meat, offering a meaty, yet buttery taste.
However, one concern with turkey is the fact that it can dry out too quickly.
Fortunately, there are a number of alternative meats to serve as the centrepiece of your Desi Christmas dinner.
A well-marbled side of beef for Christmas is the height of luxury.
But the joint depends on the number of people you are serving, how long you want to spend cooking and what type of flavour you’re looking for.
Sirloin or beef shin are the options to go for as they both offer great flavour and are incredibly tender.
One difference is that beef shin offers a wow factor when the bone is left and is served upright.
Another option for your Desi Christmas dinner is venison.
Venison is at its seasonal best during this time of year.
It boasts rich, distinctive flavours when served in its own cooking juices.
The two cuts that are best for roasting are saddle (loin) and haunch (back legs).
It is recommended to cook both on the bone as they offer intense flavour and tenderness.
A whole duck is a thing of beauty and roasting it is very simple.
Whilst cooking, it is best to baste the duck using its pan juices. This adds more flavour, makes it moister and crisps up the skin.
The strong flavours paired with your marinade will make this meat a great option for Christmas.
Reserve the cooking liquids to either toss with your potatoes.
Lamb is a reliable meat option to have on Christmas and on any occasion for that matter.
A leg or shoulder joint are two of the best options.
When cooked low and slow, or roasted on the bone, the lamb will be juicy and sweet, pairing well with all the sides.
For those opting for a rack of lamb, it is best served medium rare, slightly crisp on the outside.
Pork is a flavoursome meat to have on Christmas Day and the sight of crispy crackling will have guests holding out their plates for it.
One joint to consider is a roasting joint that is delicious and easy to carve.
Or, for those wanting to make a statement, go for a French trimmed rack of pork.
Goose is a traditional option as it was the preferred Christmas meat in the 19th century.
It is known for its rich taste and crispy skin.
Compared to turkey, goose has a more succulent texture and its fuller, gamey flavours will go down a treat.
But make sure to save some of the cooking fat to make the best roast potatoes.
For a simple but tasty option, there is chicken.
It is a versatile option as a variety of marinades can be applied to chicken, allowing you to easily incorporate intense Desi flavours into your Christmas dinner.
Chicken also goes well with all the accompaniments, whether they are traditional or more unique.
It may be less rich than other birds for the Christmas table, it is also a lot cheaper, suiting many.
It would not be a proper Christmas dinner without the accompaniments.
Here are some side dishes with a Desi spin to consider.
Bombay Roast Potatoes
Bombay Roast Potatoes are packed full of flavour.
Tender and crispy potatoes are roasted with a spicy coating.
Opting for these instead of regular roast potatoes are a welcome alternative that family and guests will love.
Here is a simple recipe courtesy of Mob Kitchen.
- 1½ kg potatoes, peeled and chopped
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- 4 Garlic cloves, peeled and grated
- 3cm Ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 Green chillies, sliced
- 3 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ Lemon, juiced
- A handful of coriander, roughly chopped
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable oil (Alternatively, use duck/goose fat)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Generously add some oil (or duck/goose fat) to a baking dish and place into the oven.
- Put the potatoes into a large pan and pour over enough cold water to cover.
- Season with salt and turmeric. Cook for 10 minutes or until just fork-tender.
- Once done, drain the potatoes then coat with flour, chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and a teaspoon of salt.
- Add the ginger, garlic and chillies. Shake together to ensure that the potatoes are fully coated and to make them fluffy.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven add the mustard seeds and cumin. Mix then add the potatoes.
- Roast for 40 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- When crispy, take out the potatoes, evenly pour over the lemon juice and garnish with coriander.
Curry Roasted Carrots
Curry roasted carrots are a fabulous side dish for your Desi Christmas dinner and they are very simple to make.
Sliced carrots are simply tossed with olive oil, curry powder and salt.
It is then placed on a baking tray and roasted until tender. Afterwards, the carrots are tossed with honey to provide a sweet contrast to the warming spices.
The same can be done for other root vegetables such as parsnips.
Spicy Garlic Broccoli
Spicy garlic broccoli provides a much-needed lift over broccoli that has simply been boiled.
This Desi Christmas dinner side involves stir-frying spring onions, garlic and ginger before adding red chilli flakes and the broccoli.
Some water is added to help the broccoli cook through.
A splash of soy sauce seasons the broccoli and adds some extra colour.
Spiced Brussel Sprouts
This might not be everyone’s favourite vegetable but the addition of turmeric, ginger and cumin might change your mind.
The vegetables are sauteed with the spices before a little water is added to help them cook through.
The result is a balance of flavours that build in every mouthful.
Red onion adds sweetness while lemon offers a hint of tangy sourness. The spices add a pungent flavour.
A Christmas dinner is not complete without gravy.
This brown, fragrant sauce uses meat juices for flavour and is thickened with flour or corn starch.
It brings the main meal together and adds even more flavour to each element.
For a Desi Christmas dinner, it is important to incorporate the well-known flavours into your gravy also.
Here is a simple recipe to follow.
- 1 pint chicken stock (or the stock of your desired meat)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp Patak’s Balti Paste
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Pour the pan juices into a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for two minutes.
- Gently pour in the stock, whisking constantly to ensure there are no lumps.
- Add the balti paste and continue to simmer until the gravy has thickened.
- Season to your preferred taste and stir. Serve when ready.
A Desi Christmas dinner would not be complete without dessert.
A rich pudding rounds off the incredible meal and there are some delicious options to consider.
Gulab Jamuns are a fan favourite among dessert lovers in India and abroad. They are available in most restaurants as a dessert.
There is nothing like having soft jamuns coated in a sticky syrup.
Great on their own or served with some ice cream, Gulab Jamuns are a great sweet to offer guests for the quintessential Indian touch.
As a result, this authentic Indian sweet dish is an ideal Christmas dessert.
Mini Kulfi Treats
Kulfi is a popular North Indian dessert and loved by people of all ages.
The rich, creaminess is a delicious treat whatever the occasion may be.
Kulfi can be made into a number of different flavours, including pistachio, mango and almond.
For Christmas, it might be an idea to use miniature moulds instead.
Mini Milk Barfi
One of the most famous Indian sweets to try is barfi. One of the most delicious in the long list of barfis is ‘Milk Barfi’.
It uses simple ingredients such as milk powder, condensed milk, ghee and cardamom powder.
This is perfect to serve as a Christmas dessert to your friends and family.
It is a luxury and light sweet treat which will enrich their tastebuds with numerous flavours from the milk and cardamom.
These food options will help ensure that you have a fulfilling and flavourful Desi Christmas dinner.
The different dishes mean that there is something for everyone.
Nevertheless, they all promise to please the tastebuds and make your Christmas dinner a memorable one.