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Get a taste of tradition

Before Christmas became all about Yule logs and marzipan, it used to be celebrated with traditional Indian delicacies. We bring you four dishes to add a local flavour to your meal

india Updated: Dec 25, 2012 17:49 IST
Sumedha Deo

Before Christmas became all about Yule logs and marzipan, it used to be celebrated with traditional Indian delicacies. We bring you four dishes to add a local flavour to your meal

'Tis the season to be merry and it’s time to celebrate with family and friends. Before the west took over the festive season and made marzipan and Yule logs a staple, families used to bring in the festival in a typical Indian style. We got four city women to share their traditional recipes with us to celebrate a different kind of Christmas past.


by Leena Rodrigues

Dodol is a toffee-like sweet made with coconut and jaggery. Goan households make them for special occasions, and especially for Christmas. Making dodol is a tedious process, since you have to keep stirring the mixture till it cools.


Coconut milk (obtained by grinding four coconuts)

200 gm rice flour

1 tsp salt, or as per taste

1/2 kg Goan coconut jaggery

100 gm sugar

200 gm chopped cashew nuts


Start by grating the coconuts. Add them to a mixer/grinder along with water. Pour the mixture through a strainer and squeeze out the milk. Pour the milk in a large deep pan and start heating. Add the rice flour and stir thoroughly so that lumps don’t form.

Add the salt and Goan jaggery to the mixture. Keep on stirring and add sugar to the contents. Ten minutes later, add chopped cashew nuts. Keep stirring till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and thickens.

Make sure the contents are still in a liquid state. After stirring for about two hours, pour the dodol in plates. Keep it for cooling, cut and serve.


by Libby D’Souza

Neureos are flaky pastries loaded with a sweet filling. Many homes make neureos a week or so in advance since they store and travel well. Goans traditionally give neuroes and dodol as consuada, which is a basket of goodies given to friends and neighbours for Christmas.


1 kg semolina (rawa)

200 gm ghee

400 gm grated coconut

750 gm sugar

100 gm white mustard seeds

100 gm poppy seeds (khus khus)

200 gm chopped cashew nuts

20 pods of cardamom

1 teaspoon salt

1.5 kg all-purpose flour (maida)

2 lts oil

250 ml milk or water


Fry the semolina on a pan over slow fire for about 10 minutes. Add ghee, grated coconut, sugar, mustard seeds, poppy seeds, cashew nuts and cardamom pods and mix. Knead the wheat flour and make into small balls of dough. Roll the balls into flat rounds like a chapatti. Add about two tablespoons of the mixture on the rounds. Wet the edges with water or milk. Flip one side of the round on another in the shape of a half moon. Trim the edges and fry till brown in hot oil.


by Leah Drego

Kalkal is a traditional East Indian recipe. They are bite-size fried snacks made during Christmas. Kalkals also store and travel well, and make for a festival stocking stuffer.


125 gm ghee

250 gm rava

500 gm flour (maida)

2 eggs

3 gm salt approx.

250 ml warm milk (for kneading, use as much as required to form a stiff dough)

Dalda or oil for frying


Put together all the dry ingredients and knead with warm ghee and milk. Leave for a few hours (4-5) in a warm place. Knead and roll out, cut into squares of about 1.5 inches. Pinch the opposite ends; it should look like an envelope. Try to secure the ends to avoid them from opening while frying. Heat up the dalda, and fry on medium heat. Sprinkle powdered sugar. If you would like to frost the kalkals, you can make sugar syrup with 150 gm sugar and 225 ml water. Let the syrup boil for about 2-3 minutess. Pour the syrup over the fried kalkals and toss them. If you would like the kalkals to be really sweet, increase the quantity of syrup.


by Cecilia Madtha

Ediyos are rice-flour steamed pancake cones, filled with a sweet mixture. It takes some expertise since the cover and filling are steamed together on either sides of a jackfruit or turmeric leaf.


1 kg boiled rice

2 grated coconuts

500 gm jaggery n

1 tsp cardamom powder

Salt to taste

Jackfruit leaves to steam in


Wash the rice and soak it for 2 hours. Drain the water and grind the rice fine. Add salt while grinding. Keep the paste thick, just as you would for a rice roti. Set aside. Mix the coconut, jaggery and cardamom powder together.

Take a jackfruit leaf and fold it like a cone, using a toothpick to join together. Fill the rice batter around the leaf cone and fill it with coconut mixture in the middle. Cover the top with rice paste. Finally steam them in an idli steamer for 30 minutes or until cooked. You can use the same rice paste and coconut mixture in turmeric leaves. Just fill the rice paste on the flat leaf, then fill the sweet mixture and fold the leaf lengthwise and steam.