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 closer to the time and even on Christmas Day, according to Indian tradition, neighbors "spread the love" and exchange platters of sweets and snacks with each other. My family always did and still make heaps of Christmas goodies, both sweet and savory, for the festive season. Many of these have recipes that have been passed down for generations. Here's a list of some of the most popular Christmas goodies we and many others in India make. Cook up batches of your favorites and enjoy.
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These fluffy, crunchy pastry shells are filled with a sweet concoction of coconut or khoya and dried fruit and nuts as is traditional in Goa. 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.
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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.
I have such happy memories of making kulkuls with my family, as a child. We sat 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 me, they always bring back memories of Christmas with family.
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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.
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Marzipan can be made 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.
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Chocolate and nuts are delicious together. Chocolate walnut fudge is traditional in many cultures as well as in India. My aunt always made a big batch at Christmas and it always disappeared quickly.
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A chewy fudge-like sweet, guava cheese is best made with fresh guavas. This Christmas sweet was my paternal Grandma's forté and this is her recipe.
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Bebinca is a layered Goan pudding made with coconut milk, ghee, 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.