Traditional Easter foods that you need to know about

The festival of Easter, one of the biggest festivals of the Catholic community, signals the end of the 40 days of Lent, which is strictly observed by many as a period of prayer, penance, and fasting. Besides the Easter goodies of marzipan, eggs, and bunnies that form a major portion of the celebration, the Catholics break their fast with feasting and rejoicing.

Here, we look at some culinary delights that are relished by the community across India, which is largely made of Mangaloreans, Goans, Keralites, Anglo-Indians and East Indians.

Sorpote and sannas

Mangalorean

A traditional Mangalorean Easter lunch menu will always include a pork sorpotel. This time-consuming dish is usually made a few days in advance, since the flavours get stronger and continue to develop as days go by.

People eat all this spicy goodness with idli-like rice cakes called sannas . They can be enjoyed on their own as a tea-time snack or with chutney or sambhar.

During lunch or dinner, sannas are eaten with chicken, pork, mutton or vegetable curries. Green masala chicken curry is made with coriander and mint leaves paste. Some other delicacies eaten on the Easter day are chicken fry with potatoes and pepper pork with rice.

Benson Menezes, chef

Fugiyas
Fugiyas

East Indians

Catholics from Mumbai are known as East Indians. A lot of their food has influence of Maharashtrian cuisine and is made using coconut as they live around the coast. For breakfast, they eat fugiyas that are soft balls of dough made from maida and yeast. Another bread made on such special occasions are varias or bhokache warias. Similar to medu vada, these doughnut-shaped breads are made of urad dal flour, maida, and rice flour. They get their name from the bhoka or hole in the middle. Both fugiyas and varias are eaten as a snack with tea or as a bread with gravies like East Indian vindaloo or sorpotel. A dish made with mutton khudi curry and poha, served with onions, and a slice of lemon is also eaten on this day.

Veera and Natasha Almeida, home chefs at Jevaylaye

Apa De Camarao
Apa De Camarao

Goans

Most Catholics give up eating meat for 40 days during Lent and on Easter, a plethora of non vegetarian dishes are prepared. A typical Goan lunch includes roast chicken, leg of ham or pork as the piece de resistance. Chicken cafreal, shakuti and vindaloo are eaten with pulao or breads like poi. Another popular dish eaten on this day is Apa De Camarao, which is a Portuguese pie made of prawn balchao, a kind of sweet, spicy and tangy pickle, which is layered in rice. Serradura, a Portuguese vanilla mousse, is a dessert made up of layers of whipped cream and crumbled Marie biscuit. Some other sweets eaten on this day is Bebinca, a type of pudding that consists of seven to 16 layers, baked one at a time. The Goan Dodol sweet is popular as well and is made with ragi, coconut and palm jaggery.

James Miranda, chef at Jazzy Jim’s Cookhouse

Whoie roast chicken
Whoie roast chicken

Anglo-Indians

With their roots in Europe, Anglo-Indians have adapted their cuisines to the culture of the Indian states they live in. However, the flavours, ingredients and masalas used can differ slightly. For instance, the synthetic vinegar used by Anglo-Indians is milder than the strong, locally made vinegar used by the Goans. For Easter, a typical meal includes various cuts of meats — either ham, ribs, roasted chicken, or stuffed fish. They also eat gravies like vindaloo, country captain, railway mutton curry or ball curry with rice, pulao or bread.

Andrea Crizzle, chef at Andy’s Khanna

appam and chicken stew
appam and chicken stew

Malayali Christians

Easter breakfast usually consists of appam and chicken or mutton stew made of coconut milk. It is only eaten after people attend mass and pray. Heavily inspired by Keralite cuisines, the lunch includes rice dishes like biryani, fried rice (made with basmati rice, scrambled egg, peas and carrots) or brown rice. The main course also includes chicken, fish or mutton gravies. Thyrum pazhum is a traditional dessert made using dahi, sugar, bananas and cooked rice.

Suja John, home chef

Updated: April 18, 2022 — 9:21 am
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