Easter 2024: 7 Traditional Anglo-Indian Delicacies To Enjoy

As the Catholic community emerge from the austere 40-day period of abstinence called Lent, Easter becomes a time of indulgence and celebrating the high points of the varied cuisine. No matter what part of India the people live in, traditions play a huge role in influencing the preparations that are cooked to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. Within this spectrum, the Anglo-Indian community seem to have a whole world of cooking that borrows from western and native cultures, creating a fusion that highlights the best of both worlds. This Easter, plan your festive menu by taking inspiration from the amazing offerings that have been created specially for the occasion.

Mulligatawny Soup (Pepper Water)

With interesting origins in South Indian cuisine, the mulligatawny – which roughly translates to milagai thanni in Tamil – is a classic Anglo-Indian ‘soup’ that is also referred to as pepper water. A by-product of the Indian rasam and colonialism in India, the soup has slight alterations when compared to the spicy-tangy concoction that is traditionally eaten with rice. With the addition of chicken broth, curry powder and celery, the soup is a relatively mild version of its Indian counterpart.

Ball Curry

As the name of the delicacy might suggest, the Anglo-Indian ball curry or meatball curry draws inspiration from the many kofta curries within Indian culture. In the authentic version of the recipe within the community, pork is used as the protein of choice to make succulent meatballs which are then simmered in a curry powder flavoured coconut milk gravy. Eaten with freshly baked bread, kedgeree or beresta pulao, the ball curry also uses a pinch of garam masala as an ode to Indian culture.

Devil Chutney

Image Credits: SHARAN India

A fiery condiment that is also an Easter favourite – the devil chutney – or hell’s flame chutney is a simple preparation that uses pungent flavours from spicy red chilli powder, garlic and onions. To balance out these strong flavours, raisins and tamarind pulp are added while grinding the ingredients, along with a few teaspoons of vinegar. Relished as an addition to add a boost of flavour to roasted meats, breads and even spice up stews, the devil chutney is also an Anglo-Indian staple for spicy food lovers.

Chicken Sambari

What makes this curry preparation distinctive from the usual chicken curries is the addition of East Indian bottle masala – a unique blend of more than 35-40 different spices – along with tamarind pulp, pearl onions and ginger-garlic paste. Relished alongside fugiyas – or deep-fried leavened breads, as well as appams, the sambari was traditionally made from the residual heat of the burning embers from a wood-fired chulha. This slow-cooking method is what gives the curry its depth in flavour as well as tender pieces of meat to relish.

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Chicken Buffarth

Image Credits: Great British Chefs

While a grand feast is definitely one of the high points of the Easter celebrations, breakfast is an equally important meal for the Anglo-Indians. Given the unseriousness that reflects throughout the ease with which Anglo-Indian cuisine emerged, the buffarth or hotch-potch stew uses an assortment of meats like chicken and pork, vegetables and vegetables like cabbage and carrots. Best enjoyed with bread or buns, this breakfast delicacy is said to be one of the must-have preparations for Easter Sundays.

Coconut Rice

Unlike the South Indian or Maharashtrian preparations that are a simple mixture of coconut, rice and tempering spices, the Anglo-Indian version is unlike any other. Aromatic long grains of basmati rice are simmered in coconut milk that is infused with a medley of whole spices. This fluffy and almost sweet preparation is then garnished with fried onions and typically enjoyed with the ball curry. Bright yellow in appearance, the coconut rice offers a great contrast to the moody browns and fiery reds of other traditional Easter preparations.

Simnel Cake

Like the plum cake is integral to Christmas celebrations, Easter also witnesses the making of a light fruitcake that is decorated with marzipan balls. A heady mixture of dry fruits, ground almonds, warm spices and apricot jam, the layers of marzipan sandwiched between the cake offer a great contrast in texture. Associated commonly with Mothering Sunday, a characteristic feature of decorating this cake involves placing exactly 11 balls of the almond paste on top – which signify the 11 apostles.