5 Christmas Foods Made with Indian Spices
Posted on 4th November 2015
Christmas is only seven weeks away, and at Chakra, we’re getting more and more excited about it. Christmas is the perfect excuse to get together with all your friends and family and enjoy some delicious festive food. But although many of our favourite Yuletide treats are British, you might be surprised at just how many are made with spices you’ll normally find in Indian cooking…
Originally known as ‘mutton pies’, mince pies used to contain meat. Served around Christmas, they were made with a staggering 13 ingredients, representing Christ and the 12 apostles. Although mince pies fell out of favour in Cromwell’s England due to their connection with Catholicism (leading to the urban legend that it is illegal to eat mince pies at Christmas), mince pies remained a traditional Christmas treat. The Victorians made them into the small, sweet pies we enjoy today – but still with the traditional cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Brought to Europe in 992, gingerbread is so magical it has made its way into fairytales. Gingerbread men were first served in the court of Elizabeth I, who had them made in the likeness of her most important guests. Decorated gingerbread houses and gingerbread men are now a popular treat at Christmas, and a firm favourite with children.
Known as Glühwein in Germany and Austria, Glögg in Norway, vin chaud in France and quentão in south Brazil, mulled wine is a warm beverage made with red wine and mulling spices. Popular throughout Europe during winter, a traditional British recipe for mulled wine can be found in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. Dating back to 1869, it incorporates cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and mace.
Eggnog probably originates from posset, a Medieval hot beverage of milk curdled with ale that was often spiced. Traditionally made with milk, sugar, whipped eggs and brandy, eggnog is often garnished with a sprinkling or cinnamon or nutmeg. We still have eggnog at Christmas in the UK, but it is also popular in America and Canada during Thanksgiving.
A truly British tradition, Charles Dickens described the scene of a Christmas pudding alight with brandy being brought to the table in A Christmas Carol. Christmas pudding as we know it is a Victorian invention, but its origins can be traced back to the 1420s. Its ancestor was the Roman meal ‘pottage’, a mixture of meat and vegetables mixed together in a cauldron with dried fruits, spices and sugar. Today, our Christmas puddings are flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
At Chakra, we have four fantastic Christmas menus with our unique Indian twist on Christmas classics. From Turkey Curry with Roasted Ginger to Tandoori Venison Tikka with Redcurrant Jelly, our fragrant, punchy recipes can give you a Christmas with a difference. Book a table today to give your friends and family a truly special present.