An Indian-Style Christmas

Bebinca layered goan recipe

The Spruce / Teena Agnel

Even though the Christian community is not huge in India, Christmas is celebrated in a big way. Homes are decorated, there are parties and dances and friends and families get together to enjoy the festive season. No celebration in India is considered complete without masses of delicious food. Preparations begin weeks ahead and continue even on Christmas Day itself as, according to Indian tradition, neighbors "spread the love" and exchange platters of sweets like shakkarpara and snacks with each other. Many of these recipes have been passed down for generations so they are very traditional.

  • 01 of 07

    Gujia or Nuereos With Coconut Filling

    Coconut-filled gujiya

    vm2002 / Getty Images

    These fluffy, crunchy pastry shells are filled with a sweet concoction of coconut or, as is traditional in Goa, with khoya (sweetened condensed milk) and dried fruit and nuts. In other states, such as Uttar Pradesh, the filling is made with sweetened khoya and nuts, so if you don't love coconut, you can consider leaving it out.

  • 02 of 07

    Kulkuls (Sweet Curls)

    Kukuls Indian sweet curls recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Kulkuls are made all over India at Christmas time, but it is believed they began in the Goan region as a variation of the Portuguese filhoses enroladas. Making kulkuls can be a holiday project for the whole family, allowing you to make a big batch and include them as part of a gift of sweets to friends and neighbors or to use in a cookie exchange.

    Make a memory the way many Indians do by preparing kulkuls with the family. Most households sit around for hours, painstakingly rolling them out, then frying them and coating them with sugar. They are so worth the effort. Kulkuls are a great anytime snack, but for most, they always bring back memories of Christmas with family.

  • 03 of 07

    Coconut Barfi (Coconut Fudge)

    Coconut Barfi

    Divya Kudua /

    You will love this sweet if you like coconut and cardamom. It is sweet, fudgy, and very yummy. This is often made for Diwali, which is the Hindu festival of lights, as well as for Christmas.

  • 04 of 07

    Marzipan Shapes

    Marzipan fruits
    Alberto Roseo Photography / Getty Images

    Marzipan (a nut paste made with almond paste, sugar, and egg whites) can be colored with edible food dye and formed into all sorts of shapes, depending on how artistic you are and how creative you feel. Fruits and flowers are popular at Christmas time in India.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Chocolate Walnut Fudge

    A tin of walnut fudge
    Susan Marie Andersson / Getty Images

    Chocolate and nuts are delicious together. Chocolate walnut fudge is traditional in many cultures as well as in India. We always made a big batch at Christmas and it always disappeared quickly.

  • 06 of 07

    Guava Cheese

    Aline Kelly Fernandes de Oliveira / Getty Images

    A chewy fudge-like sweet, guava cheese is best made with fresh guavas. This Christmas sweet recipe has been passed down from generation to generations in most families.

  • 07 of 07

    Bebinca Layered Dessert

    Bebinca layered goan recipe

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    Bebinca is a layered Goan pudding made with coconut milk, ghee (clarified butter), eggs, sugar, and flour. Traditionally, it has 16 layers but you can make it with fewer. Making bebinca requires patience as you have to cook each layer before adding the next, but the end result is well worth the effort.