What to Cook for East Indian Dinners & Christmas?

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East Indian food is so delicious and tasty, once you’ve tried it, you’ll be craving for more. From appetizers or breads, to main courses or desserts, you’ll be left drooling!

Have you ever been in a situation where you are having guests over for dinner for an occasion and are not sure what to cook? Well, not in our home! If you know there’s an occasion coming up, dinner menus are decided well in advance and even the preparations begin days before the big occasion. Dessert prep might start weeks earlier.

Come Easter or Christmas or just a birthday celebration, there’s never just one of each dish, there’s always a range of options from appetizers, to main dishes and desserts too.

We, the East Indians of Bombay are known for our culture and food. East Indian food is both unique to the community and oh-so-flavourful.

If you’ve lived in or visited Mumbai at some time, you’ve of course tasted at least one East Indian dish, be it stuffed chicken, sorpotel, vindaloo, foogias, orias, or other traditional East Indian dishes.

If you want our traditional East Indian recipes on hand, the Abby's Plate Cookbook Series books are available online or in-store in most countries.

Latest Book:
Christmas with the Rebellos:
East Indian Meals & Desserts from Abby's Plate

See the full list of books here!

Ever wonder what a traditional Christmas Dinner menu for East Indians is made of? Or what we cook and serve for Easter and other festive occasions or celebrations? What does an East Indian festive dinner party menu actually look like?

You don’t have to guess anymore! Here is a quick guide to the dishes we serve and relish for Christmas dinner, Easter lunch, anniversary celebrations, birthday parties, and also other festive occasions. Add them to your dinner party menu this year, and let us know how your guests like them!

Drinks, there’s always drinks first!

1. East Indian Fresh Grape Wine (Black or Green)

The East Indian recipe for grape wine uses fresh either black or green grapes or a mix of the two. Easy to make at home for a cheap table wine.
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Two glasses with homemade grape wine.

2. Homemade Rose Petal Wine (Not Rose)

Homemade rose petal wine is a heady wine drink with the aroma of roses. After some experimentation, we made this earthy wine with dried rose petals, and it's perfect for celebrations or regular days in.
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Close up of rose wine served.

3. Spicy Homemade Ginger Wine

Homemade ginger wine is a light and refreshing drink for celebrations or regular days in. Using ginger root we make this spicy wine in 2 weeks and add a few optional ingredients for different flavors.
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Glass of clear ginger wine on a blue mat - Pic by Sarah of AbbysPlate

4. Homemade Currant Wine or Raisin Wine

The East Indians of Mumbai make this traditional currant wine for Christmas, Easter and other festivities. Here's the recipe with a few personal tweaks.
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Currant wine is ready to drink - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate

East Indian Appetizers Are Different!

5. How to boil Ox Tongue? | Beef Tongue | Bovine Tongue

Boiled bovine tongue tastes delicious and is easy-to-cook traditional East Indian snack served as a side, appetizer, or even in sandwiches. You won't even realize it's offal!
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Cut boiled ox tongue into slices.

6. East Indian Corned Tongue (Salted Ox Tongue)

The East Indian recipe for corned tongue or salted tongue takes a few days but is delicious and perfect for many dinners and sandwiches.
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Corned tongue slices on a bed of lettuce with a bowl of green chutney.

7. Potato Chops filled with Minced Meat – East-Indian Style

Ground or minced beef, lamb or chicken meat is seasoned with spices and cooked before being encased in a patty of mashed potato. For appetizers or as side dishes, these East Indian potato chops are just perfect!
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Two full and one half potato chop on a plate.

8. Potato Chops filled with Minced Meat – East-Indian Style

Ground or minced beef, lamb or chicken meat is seasoned with spices and cooked before being encased in a patty of mashed potato. For appetizers or as side dishes, these East Indian potato chops are just perfect!
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Two full and one half potato chop on a plate.

Breads, Rice and More Breads!

9. East Indian Bread – Orias or Varias

For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these doughnut-shaped breads are just delicious. They're especially popular at East Indian weddings and special events.
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Varias pyramid served on a plate.

10. Indian Jeera Rice – Cumin Rice

Jeera rice is popular across India. Made by adding fried jeera or cumin to cooked rice, it's a cooling and tasty way to serve fluffy white rice or basmati rice!
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Black pot filled with jeera rice sprinkled with coriander.

11. Gluten Free Chitaps or Rice Crepes

East Indian chitaps are a light and fluffy rice crepe that goes well with anything. Abby modified the recipe to make it gluten free for her friends.
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East Indian gluten free rice crepes called chitaps folded in triangles on a black tray.

12. Foogias: Soft East Indian Bread

Foogias are one of the many traditional East Indian varieties of bread. Round, soft and fluffy, they disappear almost as soon as they're placed on the table.
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Ready foogias served in a plate.

13. How to cook yellow (turmeric) rice perfectly?

Rice is a staple food all over India, and is eaten as a main dish with a variety of dals or curries. But yellow rice is tastier and healthier.
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Rice served with coriander and tomatoes.

14. East Indian Chicken Liver Stuffing

The traditional East Indian stuffing for Christmas meals consist of a chicken liver and bread pudding that's stuffed into the chickens' cavity before roasting. Here's how to make this delicious homemade liver stuffing that's sometimes called a giblet stuffing.
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Chicken liver stuffing on a white plate.

15. Traditional East Indian Wedding Rice

East Indian Wedding rice is a delicious and tasty dish served at most East Indian weddings and speical functions.
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East Indian wedding rice in a white platter.

Mains Contain offal Too!

16. East Indian Stuffed Roast Chicken

A traditional roast chicken dinner for Sundays or feast days and family gatherings! This one is stuffed with mom's homemade bread liver stuffing.
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Top view of whole Roast Chicken cooking in a vessel with spices and gravy.

17. East Indian Sorpotel Pav – Dry Version

Some people also make sarapatel. And really our East Indian version tastes ten times better than the Goan version of this age-old traditional Portuguese recipe. Wink wink! You can click here to see the step by step sorpotel recipe with pictures from my Uncle Jude in Perth, Australia.
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18. East Indian Beef Tongue Roast

The East Indian Beef Tongue Roast is a simple and easy-to-cook recipe using a handful of ingredients. All you need is an hour and a half!
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Beef tongue roast in a vessel with spices.

19. Spicy East Indian Pork Vindaloo (Indyal)

The Spicy East Indian Vindaloo Recipe dish created by the East Indians of Mumbai, India has been influenced by the Portuguese Carne de Vinha D'Alhos dish.
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East Indian Pork Vindaloo Recipe - By Abby from AbbysPlate

20. East Indian Duck Moile Curry

East Indian Duck Moile is a traditional dish that is full of flavour. Tender and juicy slow-cooked meat is served with rice, foogias, hand breads, or chitaps, and a cooling salad for the perfect meal!
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East Indian Duck Moile in a bowl next to boiled rice and onion and lemon in bowls.

21. Spicy East Indian Pork Tamriad

Spicy East Indian Pork Tamriad Recipe made by Mumbai's East Indians is a cross between vindaloo and sorpotel.
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Close up image of pork tamriad in a kadai.

22. East Indian Pork Ukra – Yellow Vindaloo Recipe

East Indian Pork Ukra Recipe made by us East Indians of Mumbai is what we call a yellow vindaloo. As tasty as traditional spicy vindaloo but yellow in color!
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East Indian pork ukra in a white dish surrounded by red chilies.

Pickles and salads make an appearance too

23. East Indian Wedding Pickle

Sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and tangy at the same time, the traditional East Indian wedding pickle takes a few weeks to prepare. This is our modified modern version of this mouth-watering raw papaya and carrot pickle.
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Wedding pickle in a glass bowl.

24. Onion Tomato Cucumber Salad – East Indian Simple Salad

A simple salad, this East Indian onion tomato cucumber salad is ready in minutes. Perfect for hot summer days, you'll always find this simple side salad at every East Indian meal.
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Onion tomato cucumber salad.

And Who Can Forget The Christmas Dessert Platter! Or the Sweets After a Filling Meal!

25. East Indian Bolings – Christmas Cookies

Bolings are a sweet coconut semolina cookie that is made around Christmas time in most East Indian Catholic households!
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Bolings are ready.

26. Date and Walnut Cake East Indian Style

A delightful cake made of sweet pitted dates and crunchy walnut pieces, the East Indian Date and Walnut Cake is easy to make at home.
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Date and walnut cake on a black surface with some walnuts and dates.

27. Traditional East Indian Vanilla Cream Dessert

Vanilla Cream or Milk Cream is a East Indian dessert made for Christmas every year. It's more lighter than a fudge and melts in your mouth.
View this Recipe
Vanilla Cream on a red tablecloth with a Christmas drummer bear.

28. East Indian Borose (Semolina Coconut Cookies)

East Indian Borose is a delightfully sweet coconutty cookie made with semolina. This traditional East Indian cookie is perfect for tea or as a Christmas dessert!
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Serve East Indian borose on a plate with tea.

29. Carambolas: An East Indian Christmas Kulkul Sweet

Carambolas are a traditional East Indian dessert made around Christmas time. More commonly known as Kulkuls, this sugary frosted treat made by most East Indian Christian households are called carambolas when they're star fruit-shaped.
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Sweet carambola shells in a white bowl.

30. Easy East Indian Walnut Fudge Dessert

The traditional recipe for the East Indian walnut fudge dessert made for Christmas using milk, sugar, and walnuts is gluten-free as well as vegetarian.
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7 pieces of walnut fudge on a white plate with circular designs.

31. East Indian Cashewnut Marzipan (Christmas Dessert)

The East Indian Cashewnut Marzipan is an East Indian Christmas dessert that's moulded into the shapes of Christmas ornaments or fruits and flowers.
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Colourful marzipan on a red tablecloth with a drummer bear.

32. East Indian Thalie Sweet

Thalie Sweet is a traditional East Indian coconut cake usually baked around Christmas Time or for celebrations. But they're perfect for tea time too!
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Diamond shaped Thalie sweet on a black tray.

33. East Indian Date Rolls (Date filled Cookies)

Traditional East Indian date rolls are delicious bites of dates and walnuts wrapped in buttery shortbread-like cookies.
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East Indian Date Rolls are ready - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate

34. East Indian Coconut Cake

This traditional East Indian coconut cake is different from other homemade coconut cakes. Dense and moist, and traditionally made with fresh grated coconut, you can also use desiccated coconut. Every coconut cake slice is a delight to eat!
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A coconut cake log and a coconut cake slice on a black plate.

35. East Indian Guava Cheese

Guava Cheese or Goiabada is a tasty East Indian sweet dish prepared for Christmas time! Both chewy and fudgy, there's a mouthful of Guava in every bite.
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Goiabada on a black tray.

36. Dark Fruit Cake for Christmas and Celebrations

East Indian dark fruit cake is so rich and dense, you'll go back for seconds and thirds. Serve for Christmas lunch or dinner with some great homemade wine. Or serve for celebratoins and dinner parties!
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Cut the cake into slices and serve on plate.

37. East Indian Bol de Coc | Bolos de Coco | Coconut Cake

Bol De Coc is a traditional East Indian cake with a delicious coconutty taste and a moist crumb, and is the perfect tea time snack!
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Delicious Bol de Coc

38. East Indian Glutenfree Coconut Cordial Dessert

Our granny’s recipe for East Indian Coconut Cordial is one of our favorite easy to make traditional Christmas recipes.
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Traditional East Indian Cordial - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate

39. East Indian Light Fruit Cake | Mixed Fruit Cake

Light Fruit Cake or Tooti Frooti Cake is a delicious treat for Christmas or even at tea time. So yum and fruity, you won't be able to stop at just one piece of Mixed Fruit Cake.
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Serve Tooti frooti cake on a plate.

40. East Indian Nankhatai (Eggless Shortbread)

Simple and easy to make, the eggless Indian Nankhatai is a perfect treat for Christmas time or any other time of the year!
View this Recipe
Homemade Nankhatai topped with tooti frooti on a black tray.

41. East Indian Bol Lucrecia | East Indian Coconut Pie

Bol Lucrecia is a traditional East Indian Coconut Pie dessert that is moist on the inside and crispy outside. You'll love it as much as lyou love coconuts.
View this Recipe
Bol Lucrecia on a white plate.

What else does your family have on their East Indian Christmas dinner menu? Comment and let me know! And I’ll try to add it to this list soon!

Other Recipes you might like

Pinterest image of 4 different East Indian Christmas and Festive food.
Pinterest image of Nankhatais and Chicken for Christmas and festive dinners.

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