Christmas at Deliciously Indian

By Published On: 25 Dec '21Last Updated: 9 Feb '22

I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO WISH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU A VERY JOYOUS CHRISTMAS AND AT THE SAME TIME THANK each and every one who has supported me, encouraged me, tried out recipes from my cookbook ‘Deliciously Indian’ and also from my website. Thank you for your time in posting your comments on my website, WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and many of you even called me. A big thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you. Please continue to support me the way you have always supported me. Your support is a gift I will always treasure.

MERRY CHRISTMAS. happy new year. best wishes.

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas is a cozy time with snow, getting rugged up with warm clothes, having hot soups, preparing hot meals that heat up the house and a warm fireplace. Here in Australia, Christmas time is a far cry from frozen toes, scarves, woollen socks, knitted jumpers and hot chocolate. In fact, holiday during Christmas down under is a totally different story. December to February in Australia is the hottest time of the year. A holiday during these months involves hitting the beach with a beach bag consisting of sunscreen, a hat and a beach towel (sometimes a book or a magazine), an esky with cold beers for a bit of respite from the sweltering heat. Christmas is a special time of the year and we too like company of family and close friends during this time. So, before the pandemic hit in 2019, we took the opportunity of inviting our good friends from Canada to come down under to celebrate Christmas and New Year with us. Although they love summers in Canada, they said to us ‘there is no snow during Christmas in Australia’ and we agreed with a huge ‘that’s true’! Having lived in Canada for many years, to them, Christmas is snow and Christmas without snow was simply not Christmas. They could not get over the idea of Christmas in short sleeves, thongs (flip flops) and oodles of sunshine (we are blessed with sunshine from 7.00 am in the morning till 8.15pm in the night – yes, we are that lucky here down under during summer). They said to us that Christmas is all about cold, they would find it difficult to have a Christmas on the opposite side of the world, without snow and, that Christmas would be very topsy turvy because of a lack of the usual Christmas vibes. Our efforts to convince them of a summer Christmas were in vain!! They therefore declined the offer of coming to Australia in December. We were left disappointed!!

Then, of course, COVID-19 hit us, and we have had no holiday conversations in the last two years (how time flies!!). We hope they can experience an Australian Christmas someday after this pandemic is over.

Christmas for Christians is the most special time of the year around the world – a very special time to meet up with your family, sit around the table to enjoy the exquisite menu. It’s also a time to prepare Christmas food, decorate homes and trees and put-up Christmas cribs. Here in Sydney, in many suburban streets huge decked up Christmas trees are displayed with many ornaments. The churches are decorated in readiness for the Christmas day. Regardless of age, everyone is enthusiastic to spread the spirit of Christmas by visiting each other and singing Christmas carols in their homes. We also attend the Christmas Eve Children’s Vigil on Christmas Eve or the midnight mass without fail, a COELHO tradition.

The photo above, is the tallest Christmas tree in New South Wales and it is the centrepiece of the City of Sydney’s Christmas decorations. For any of you who would like to check out this Christmas tree with its 110,000 LED lights, 330 specially created glossy baubles and 15,000 flowers representing nine kinds of Australia flora, including bottlebrush, eucalyptus gum flower, kangaroo paw, and pink wax flowers, head to Martin Place, George Street, Sydney in the heart of the Sydney CBD. The star at the top is a show stopper. It is 3.4 metres tall and changes colour every 15 minutes after 7 pm. There are also 10 similar slightly smaller trees dotted around Sydney during the Christmas period but only until 1 January 2022. This tree is a real treat for the Sydneysiders and their loved ones to get into the Christmas spirit.

Our Christmas traditions have continued even after we came to Australia, although we celebrate it slightly differently here. Interestingly, here we seem to celebrate Christmas both in Indian and Australian style. Hang on, hang on, that means having a traditional Christmas pork curry and Sannas and also a roast turkey or beef roast!! Yes, you heard that right!! A little bit of extra food (calories) does not hurt, does it????

On Christmas Eve, we always attend a Children’s Vigil at the local Parish (a COELHO tradition). Ever since the pandemic hit in 2019-2020, we attend a virtual mass live streamed from St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. It’s solemn, it’s great for families and we are blessed to be offered this wonderful service from the St Mary’s Cathedral. Although a much different experience than attending personally, I appreciate how the Catholic church has moved to open its doors to the digital world, reaching out to the faithful and keeping their faith alive in times like these, through the use of social media and technology. These virtual gatherings for worship and prayer have been real experiences of connection with God particularly for people who cannot leave their homes to worship.

Once the mass is finished, that’s when our festivities kickstart!!

While some like to have a light meal on Christmas Eve, its a tradition in our home to have a nice dinner. Central to our Christmas Eve dinner table is a traditional Mangalorean sweet, savoury and spicy Pork specialty known as Pork Indad. Those who have tasted Pork Indad would agree with me that, it is a classic delicacy savoured mostly during special occasions (although these days I cannot wait for special occasions!!). This centrepiece boasts a unique combination of Portuguese and Mangalorean influences and complements well with Mangalorean/Goan Sannas (a type of round white steamed rice bread). Apart from being served as a succulent main course, this pork dish also has the versatility to fare well with a side of Sweet Pulao (published in my cookbook already). Take your pick and enjoy either with sannas or Sweet Pulao!!

Pork Indad

Pork Indad

Mangalore sannas

FYI, recipes for the Pork Indad and Mangalore/Goan Sannas are posted on the ‘Recipes Tab’.

Unlike the Goans who have Beef Roulade as an appetiser for Christmas, we Mangies have neither appetisers to kickstart the Christmas Eve nor desserts to round off the Christmas Eve menu, simply because the above combo is totally and utterly satisfying!!

Celebrations are not over yet!!!

Apart from rushing to the Christmas tree at the crack of dawn (I still do it, shhhhh I didn’t say that!!) to open up Santa’s presents, Christmas Day starts off with some kind of Indian rice bread and in our house, it is the leftover sannas from Christmas Eve, with a homemade coconut chutney. Oh, so yummy!!! Then, it shifts to a good spread of the many Christmas sweet and savoury delicacies (aka Kuswar in Konkani) all prepared at home.

My kuswar preparations vary from year to year depending on the availability of time and the direction in which my tastebuds take me in the week prior to Christmas. I tend to make a combination of sweet and savouries, just to balance the equation.

Phew!! with a little bit of help from my team, I prepared a good amount of chaklies (savoury rice and lentil spirals), karakaddi (savoury chickpea sticks) and a sweet savoury Kaffir Lime Cake to satisfy our savoury cravings. As a budding and adventurous baker, I made a Christmas cake, an Elderflower Pear and Almond festive cake, mini-Christmas cakes, Chocolate and Walnut Fudge and a Mixed Fruit Pudding (my favourite). Further, as mangoes are in season, I also prepared a delicious fresh Mango Custard to serve with the pudding after our Christmas lunch. Believe me, when all these delicacies come together, it really feels like Christmas!!! All the hard work is really worth the effort!!!

Enjoy the slide show of some of the goodies I made for this Christmas – the lobsters came from the sea!!


FYI, recipes for the Mixed Fruit Christmas Pudding and Mango Custard are posted on the ‘Recipes’ tab.

For the Christmas lunch, we generally have some kind of a seafood dish as it is the Australian tradition eg., cooked prawns with a cocktail sauce or lobsters in garlic and herb sauce. Cooked prawns are usually served as an Appetiser on Christmas day. As we know that we are going to have a big roast on Christmas night, we like to make prawns/lobsters our main meal for the lunch and that’s what we did this Christmas!

Christmas menu is not complete without the addition of some kind of roast eg., turkey, chicken, lamb or beef. We had a delicious Indian inspired beef brisket roast last year, so this year we considered the Angus Beef Rib Eye Roast with Roast Potatoes, in an authentic Australian style.

The roast turned out rather delicious as I baked it with loads of home-grown herbs such as rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and garlic pods with a smothering of rosemary oil infused whole grain mustard and a rather delicious Mushroom Sauce on the side.

A Christmas roast is not over without mentioning something that all Mangies and Aussies crave: wines!! and, of course, my husband has the perfect wine pair for any kind of food, taste and occasion.

With a rich meaty flavour of roast beef, a really nice matured red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz are the right options, at least for my husband anyway!!: for a white that can stand up to many types of food, Semillon is great. Hey! alchohol is not my thing, so, that’s as far as I can go with wines!!!!

Sweets are always a must to conclude a Christmas meal and just for the final round off, like the popular Goan Baath Cake or Bibica, Mangaloreans in Aussie land, also like to conclude their Christmas with a Christmas cake and brandy soaked Christmas pudding followed by a 5km walk to ease off the pressure on that poor belly!!

Christmas is just magical with all its decorations, decked up Christmas trees and traditions … My family and I embrace both the Indian and Australian traditions. Now that I know how Christmas is celebrated in India and Australia, all that is left for me is to give my wishes to you, both in Konkani and English!!

Kushal Borit Natala or Thumka Saktaank Borem Natalanche Fest Magtham!!

Merry Christmas all!!

Lavina with Deliciously Indian

Hi, I’m Catherine!

I’m all about creating tasty Indian dishes with whatever’s on hand, even when I’m short on time or budget. I love turning simple ingredients into flavorful delights. Join me on this culinary adventure where we’ll explore the magic of Indian cuisine, one delicious dish at a time!

My Favourites

Leave A Comment