Christmas Turkey. Now be honest. Does the thought of it fill you with excitement? Does it make your taste buds stand to attention?
Probably not. Everyone seems to have a memory of a Christmas dinner that turned out appallingly – insipid meat, flabby sprouts – and the mere idea of cooking a roast fowl can send some people into a decline.
So naturally, we felt it was our responsibility to rescue Dishoom-wallas from this pit of turkey despair. A noble mission to turn this uninspiring meat into something amazing. Something that friends would squabble over the scraps of. A Bombay Party in your mouth, so to speak.
One of our absolute favourite Indian dishes is Raan, a whole leg of lamb, slow-cooked until the meat is so tender it’s falling off the bone. Much-celebrated and more than a little lavish, and therefore quite fitting for Christmas. And in a slightly inspired (read crazy) move we decided to try it with turkey instead – and the results were absolutely phenomenal. Our chef Naved Nasir could actually be a genius. Perhaps a superhero, like in that new Sharukh Khan movie. That’s going a bit far, but you get the idea…
Unlike a traditional roast, we marinate the meat and cook it slowly over a whole day to keep maximum moisture and flavour. We cover the turkey leg with a dry rub of salt and chilli followed by ginger and garlic paste, then allow it to rest and absorb the flavours. The marinated meat is braised over several hours in a rich stock spiced with star anise, black cardamom and bay leaves, before being grilled over charcoal. Finally, it is tossed with butter, lime and black pepper.
Rich, moist and packed with flavour, Flaming Turkey Raan is the antidote to every disappointing Christmas dinner you’ve ever had…
And let’s not forget the accompaniments – the turkey comes with a fiery-sweet chutney made with cranberries and red chillies. And zingy Bombay Potatoes and Masala Winter Greens round off an altogether pretty spectacular dish.
And no matter how full you feel, it will be impossible to resist finishing off your feast with a glass of Naughty Chai.
So this Christmas say no to dull-as-dishwater dinners, and come and try a Bombay Christmas feast in London.
As a thirteen year old boy in Delhi with endless energy and appetite, I treasured Sunday mornings. I’d wake up early, jump on my rickety Hero Cycle bicycle and hurriedly pedal five miles to a park close to Shantivan and Raj Ghat. There, me and my friends would set-up makeshift stick stumps and play cricket for hours… or until our minds and bellies turned (inevitably) to food.
The festival of Eid al-Fitr (literally “the Celebration of the Breaking of the Fast”) marks the conclusion of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month where restraint and discipline must be practised.
In India, mealtimes are very much a family affair and everything is shared which makes these cheese-and-pastry twirls perfect for making together this half-term. They’re incredibly easy to make, which make them just right for keeping little hands happily occupied during the holidays.
The culmination of Ramadan will bring with it Chand Raat (the night of the moon), an evening of great excitement and unity. It’s the eventide or moment the first crescent moon of the month is observed, which marks the end of the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, a period of fasting, prayer and reflection, and the start of Eid, the beginning of great festivities.