By: Shantanu David
From the Chef’s kitchen:
KOURAMBIETHES (GREEK ALMOND CHRISTMAS COOKIES)
30 gm almonds
125 gm unsalted butter (softened)
120 gm icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon brandy
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
180 gm cake flour
1 gm baking powder
*Heat oven to 180’C.
*Blanch the almonds in sizzling water for 10 minutes. Remove the skins and unfold them on a baking sheet. Bake, stirring often, till flippantly toasted, for 10 minutes. Remove from oven; cool, then chop coarsely.
*Beat butter in giant bowl with electrical mixer on medium-high velocity till mild and fluffy. Add half of the icing sugar; proceed beating for 3 minutes. Add egg yolk, brandy and vanilla; beat till easy. Mix the almonds, flour and baking powder nicely. (If dough is just too tender, add flour for tender texture.) Shape a tablespoon filled with dough into small crescents.
*Bake on ungreased baking sheets till set and really pale golden in color for about quarter-hour. Remove cookies and place on a cooling rack.
*Dust the cookies whereas nonetheless sizzling, with the remaining icing sugar. Repeat twice. Store in hermetic containers until Christmas.
My earliest recollections of Christmas is getting a tiny tree for the home and decking it up throughout foggy Delhi Decembers. At dwelling, we have been inspired to have fun all festivals, and which baby doesn’t love to do up a tree with all method of adornments? We didn’t do quite a lot of Christmas cooking at dwelling, however we had a number of Christian household pals drop by with saltpeter beef and puddings, so meals was all the time an enormous a part of the celebrations.
While I used to be finding out and dealing in New York, all the metropolis was stuffed with a way of bonhomie throughout Christmas. There, the Christmas spirit is one thing tangible, you possibly can really feel it throughout you. There are Santas from the Salvation Army, and the enormous Christmas tree on the Rockerfeller Centre. Everyone takes time to want individuals, one thing moderately uncommon for New Yorkers! The eating places I labored at used to go loopy, doling out festive delicacies, and sending out complimentary objects to each desk.
One 12 months, I spent my holidays with some Greek pals, and it was unimaginable. There was this monumental mousakka and particular Christmas almond cookies referred to as Kourambiethes and an entire lot of different dishes together with mulled wine. I used to be additionally fortunate sufficient to spend one other Christmas with an Irish-Korean household in Conneticut. There, the meals was an intriguing combine, bolstered by copious quantities of whiskey.
I feel such publicity influenced my method to Christmas cooking. At Olive in Bangalore, we all the time try to make Christmas greater than only a huge unfold of meals and booze. Basically, we try to recreate that bonhomie that’s so widespread within the West. All this goes on until new 12 months, so it’s about 20 days of celebration. In that sense, I like Christmas in Bangalore; Olive has 4 giant church buildings round it, and, in the course of the holidays, you see households strolling right down to and from the church, exchanging needs and hugs. You can truly really feel the cheer within the air.
We’re doing a particular Anglo-Indian menu at Monkey Bar for the primary time this 12 months and we’ve already acquired an excellent response from the group in Bangalore, in addition to from the East Indian Christian households. I used to be lucky sufficient to seek out these outdated books, a treasure trove of Anglo-Indian recipes, owned by a Bengali household that collects outdated books. We cherry picked some recipes from there (sure, I returned the books). Anglo-Indian meals isn’t a compromise on cultures; moderately, I like to consider it as one of many first profitable situations of fusion cooking.
( As advised to Shantanu David)
Manu Chandra is government chef, Olive Beach, Bangalore, and companion and government chef, Monkey Bar and The Fatty Bao.