Easter calls for a hearty, mood-lifting meal that’s mostly washed down with a glass of wine. A traditional Easter spread features dishes such as scrumptious lamb pie, classic deviled eggs, creamy au gratin potatoes, Easter breakfast casserole, roasted lamb, hot cross buns and more, that are believed to strengthen friendships. In India, an Easter menu would often feature popular regional dishes along with traditional European treats. “Different regions have their own traditional food,” says chef Prem K Pogakula of The Imperial. “If you are hosting a lunch on Easter, my personal favourites for menu are roasted beer chicken, fennel and orange braised pork belly, and stuffed chicken roulade,” he adds.
For author Anuja Chauhan, the festival, which will be celebrated on April 16 this year, is all about rejoicing at home with friends and family. She usually cooks a Mangalorean feast for lunch. “People give up something during these 40 days of lent. I once gave up swearing and it was really tough. We go to mass very often and even confessions during Easter,” says the author, who is married to a Christian television producer Niret Alva. Pork sorpatel and Sannas, chicken roast with a stuffing of nuts and fruits, breadcrumbs, sweet rice and Karam (a salad of cucumber and grated coconuts and mustard seeds) are a few traditional dishes that grace the dining table on Easter.
Actor and VJ, Maria Goretti who is married to actor Arshad Warsi, the festival is all about sumptuous Easter eggs at house. “This time Arshad is not there so we have a small lunch with my parents and kids in attendance. We become pescatarians for 40 days so it’s a feast on Easter,” Maria says with a laugh. This year her menu includes a gigantic roast of meat with vegetables, sour dough bread and a chocolaty desert. Though traditionally Maria’s mom as a child used to cook Duck Moile — an East Indian cuisine. She, however, prefers Lamb Moile over it.
Creamy au gratin potato by chef Boby Jacob, The Lalit
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Butter a baking dish. Layer half of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about a minutes. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminium foil. Bake 70 to 90 minutes in the preheated oven.
Minced lamb pie by chef Prem K Pogakula, The Imperial
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste. Add stock and worcestershire sauce. Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 hours or until lamb is tender. Stir in rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C. Lightly grease ceramic pie dish and line base and sides of with 1 sheet of pastry. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and divide lamb mixture between pastry cases. Place pastry sheets over filling. Trim. Press edges together with a fork to seal. Prick top of pastry with a fork. Brush with egg. Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden colour. Remove from oven and serve in 5 minutes.
Hot cross bun by Neeraj Tyagi at Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel
Put luke warm water, butter, skimmed milk powder, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg, egg white, flour, and yeast in a bread maker and knead the dough. Before 5 minutes of kneading are left, add currants and cinnamon. Leave in machine till double. Punch down on floured surface, cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Shape into 12 balls and place in a greased 9 x 12 inch pan. Cover and let it rise in a warm place till double for about 35-40 minutes. Mix egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Brush on balls. To make crosses: Whip the egg white and add flour. Put it in a piping bag with a corner snipped off. Pipe a cross on each bun. Bake at 190 degrees C for 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.