Christmas is a special time, and the weeks leading up to it are exciting, although exhausting. Traditional British Christmas feasts are fabulous, and their origins fascinating. Although I am not a Christian, I have lived in Britain long enough to feel part of these festivities. I have taken as much care in making my own Christmas cakes and puddings, as I have to prepare sweets during ‘Diwali’, the Hindu festival of lights.

Over the years I have written several recipes for an alternative Christmas for magazines and newspapers here in Britain as well as in India and Australia. As Britain is emerging as a melting pot of diverse and traditional cuisine and culture, I feel it will be a fitting tribute to offer my readers some recipes which can be used at Christmas time as well as for other special occasion meals.

Indian food is undoubtedly the most popular in Britain today. Although it is generally perceived to be difficult and time-consuming, once you have bought your spices and stored them correctly, you are ready to turn out superb meals at any time you want. All you need to buy are the fresh ingredients, which can be easily fitted into your weekly shopping plan. With all the stress of Christmas shopping and other associated traditions to follow, at least you won’t have to get up early on Christmas morning to make sure that you are working to a strict timetable to put the turkey in the oven, take it out in time to be able to use the oven for the accompaniments, and then make sure that everything comes out of the oven and goes to the dining table at precisely the right time! You can cook your alternative Christmas lunch 36-48 hours ahead of time with only a few last-minute preparations to do on the day, enabling you to indulge in a more relaxed and enjoyable Christmas lunch.

With my spice-laden recipes, I am sure you will delight your family and friends on Christmas Day. The essence of this whole idea is for you to keep calm and relaxed and turn out a fantastic feast at the same time! Most importantly, once you have all the food on the table, you can sit and enjoy your meal with everyone else, without having to get up!

view or download the recipe cards below.

Shredded Cabbage

Saffron Pilau

Prawn Cake


Brandy and Port Jelly