Christmas isn’t only about going to Church or wishing one another ‘Merry Christmas’, but it is also a family affair. On this day, friends and relatives come over to share joy and cheer on this festive occasion. So on the eve of the birth of Jesus Christ, we suggest you binge on the authentic food that the Christian community has to offer and share the joy of advent with them.
At the Mascarenhas family house, Christmas is celebrated with much joy and enthusiasm. While food is cooked in the traditional Goan style, liquor flows generously as Goan music plays in the background.
“Speaking of Goan food there are two very famous things: pork sorpotel and pork vindaloo. Chicken moel, chicken roast, mutton curry that completes our main course. All these delicasies go well with vegetable pulav and bread. Bread, too, is made at home in the traditional Goan manner along with sannas. There is a difference in taste between Manglorean and Goan sannas.
The traditional Goan food is not complete without traditional Goan sweets, bebinca dodol and chana dosh,” says an excited Christopher Mascarenhas, 23-year-old graphic designer.
When food is so important, how can be liquor lag behind? Christmas is also about partying with your family and friends,. “On the occasion of Christmas, Goa’s very own alcoholic drinks such as cashew nut feni and coconut feni are consumed. After all, Christmas is not only about food. Cousins and close friends come over to celebrate this special day. My father sets up the jukebox and plays all the good old Goan classics and hits from the 1950s and 1960s ranging from ‘Goan Masala’, ‘Sang Sang Parkea’, ‘Bandra Pistak’, or ‘English lady’.” states Nikita Fernandes, 25, a school teacher.
At Malad, I meet Diana Gonsalves, 22, an East Indian. As I step into her home I smell fresh aroma of warras being fried in oil early morning. Warras also known as fugyas can even be eaten along with tea, curries, or just plain as well.
“We make mutton or chicken preparations using the traditional East Indian bottle masala that is prepared at home by almost every East Indian home. The mutton stew nearly takes an hour to prepare as the ingredients include meat, a lot of vegetables, and pungent spices. We don’t have any particular dessert but we make coconut cake at home. Few families prepare pancakes commonly known as elijav. Some families also prepare ghodachi shev, a sweet dish made with coconut.”
After Goan and East Indian delicacies, it is time for some Manglorean food. Merwyn Pinto, 21, a student says, “We prefer goli bhaji because it is chatpata and a great start to the day. In food we prefer Rakti because this style of pork cannot be found in Mumbai. Every Manglorean takes this Rakti parcel back to Mumbai.”
“At home, my grandma takes the lead while mom and aunt lend a helping hand. My grandma uses the homemade Manglorean masala and cooks some delicious food such as chicken and fish cutlets, pork chilly, green chicken curry, pepper chicken, spicy red mutton curry eaten with vegetable pulav or cumin rice. The Manglorean food is so flavourful that I just can’t get enough of it. For drinks, we have different kinds of wines; the ginger wine is my personal favourite as it keeps one comfortably and warm during the cold Christmas nights. We listen to carols by Boney M and Jim Reeves. I’d ask people to try Manglorean food for Christmas because if you want to experience love through food. I promise you won’t be disappointed,” adds Amanda Fernandes, 21-year-old student, whose mother is a Manglorean while her dad is Goan.
While I relish different kinds of cuisines , Malyalee cuisine has a special place in my heart. From pork curry, kappa biryani, to appam and vattya appam are some of the delicacies one can relish.
I spoke to Bibin who belongs to the Syro-Malabar community and here is what he had to say, “We cook normal Mallu food such as rice, sambar, fish curry, beef curry, tapioca, appam, idli and so on. My parents do all the cooking. On most Christmas Eves, we have authentic food cooked at home. Kappa Biryani is made at home. For desserts, we have payasam. We also abstain from non-vegetarian food and alcohol from December 1 until Christmas. All meals are family affairs.”
What cuisine will you be sampling this Christmas?