Cookery Book Author, Culinary Historian and Independent Food Consultant and Trainer in Anglo-Indian Cuisine

A Hot Cross Bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins, marked with a cross on the top, and traditionally eaten on Good Friday around the world. . The buns mark the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.
The traditional method for making the cross on top of the bun is to use shortcrust pastry ;however, more recently recipes have recommended a paste consisting of flour and water.

Easy Recipe for Hot cross buns
3/4 cup warm water
3 tbsps butter, softened
1 tbsp powdered milk
1/4 cup castor sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1 egg white
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup dried currants
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder

For glaze:-
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water

For cross :-
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons milk

Put warm water, butter, milk powder, sugar, salt, egg, egg white, flour, currants, cinnamon, nutmeg and yeast in food processor and form into a dough or knead by hand. Leave aside till double in bulk.
Punch down on floured surface, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.
Shape into 12 large or 14-15 smaller balls and place in a greased 9 x 12 inch pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double, about 35-40 minutes.
Mix egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Brush on buns.
Bake at 190°C for 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.

To make crosses: mix together confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and milk. Brush a cross on each cooled bun.

For shortcrust crosses :-
combine 170g plain flour with 125g softened butter and 1 tbsp of icing sugar. Bind to a paste with a small amount of cold water, and chill before rolling.Cut strips from the rolled out sweet pastry, and stick crosses to the surface of the bun with a little milk. Do this after the buns have risen, before you glaze them with the egg wash

DING-DING – ANGLO-INDIAN PRESERVED MEAT -
Food drying is the oldest method of preserving food for use at a later date. Everyone will agree that Summer is the right time to do this, when Pickles and preserves are made to last the whole year. Anglo-Indian folks in the olden days made use of the heat of the summer sun to make Ding-Ding - our very own Anglo-Indian Sun dried preserved meat. The Meat, either beef or mutton was cut into very thin slices, washed and then marinated in a mixture of chillie powder, turmeric powder, salt, pepper and vinegar for a few hours. The marinated meat was then strung on a string and hung on the verandah or back porch to dry in the summer heat. Sometimes the meat was placed on flat plates and left to dry in the sun. Of course, someone had to be on guard to shoo away the crows that were brave enough to try to steal a piece of the drying meat. It would take a couple of days to dry completely to a crisp. The dried meat was then carefully stored away in airtight tins to be used at a later date. When required, the dried meat would be shallow fried in hot oil till brown and crisp. It made a wonderful side dish with Rice and Pepper Water or Rice and Dol (Dhal) Curry.
Anglo-Indian men in the olden days were fond of hunting, especially those living in the Tea Gardens, Mining Colonies, Railway Colonies etc . A group of them would venture into the woods and farms in search of game. They would invariably return with wild Boar, pheasants, wild ducks etc. The spoils would be shared with neighbors and friends and the remaining meat was always preserved in this way by drying it after marinating it with vinegar.
How this dried meat dish actually got its name Ding-Ding is unknown. Presumably, As the wind blew, the dangling dried meat dashed against each other with a ding sound. Hence the name Ding Ding .
Now the same dried and preserved meat could be dried quicker in an oven or in a microwave without hanging the pieces out to dry in the sun. Alternatively, one could make Ding Ding Fry with fresh meat, chicken, duck etc, by just marinating and frying them to a crisp.
This recipe and lots of other old Anglo-Indian Recipes are featured in my Recipe Book ANGLO-INDIAN CUISINE – A LEGACY OF FLAVOURS FROM THE PAST.

Recipe for DING DING
Ingredients
1 kg beef from the shank end of the leg (cut into very thin slices)
3 or 4 teaspoons pepper powder
2 teaspoons chillie powder
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ cup vinegar
Wash the meat and marinate with the pepper powder, salt, chillie powder, vinegar and turmeric powder for 2 or 3 hours. String the pieces of meat on a string and hang to dry. (Alternately the marinated meat could be placed on a flat plate and dried in the oven or kept in the sunlight to dry). The pieces should be dried thoroughly.
Store in an airtight container and use whenever required at a later date.
To use at a later date, soak the dried meat pieces in cold water for a couple of hours. Beat each piece with a rolling pin and then shallow fry with a little oil. This goes well with rice and pepper water or Dol (Dal) and Rice.

MAKE YOUR CHRISTMAS PUDDING ON STIR UP SUNDAY

The Christmas Pudding was invariably made on Stir-up Sunday to give it time to mature. ‘STIR-UP SUNDAY’ or ‘Christmas Pudding Sunday’ falls on the last Sunday before Advent. (Advent begins 4 Sundays before Christmas). The Pudding is served after dinner on Christmas Day. In the olden days making the Christmas Pudding was a family event where every member of the family would give the Christmas Pudding a stir and make a wish. A coin, a ring, a button or a thimble were sometimes added to the pudding mixture. The person who got the coin his / her piece of the pudding on Christmas day would be lucky throughout the next year. If a bachelor got the button in his piece of the pudding, he would remain a bachelor for the next year and likewise if a spinster got the thimble she would remain single the next year, while finger ring would foretell a wedding to the person who got it.
‘Stir-Up Sunday’ falls on the 26th November this year. So get your ingredients ready and everyone join in to ‘stir up the Christmas Pudding’

CHRISTMAS PLUM PUDDING
Serves 6 Preparation time 1 hour
Ingredients

200 grams fresh bread crumbs
200 grams butter
2 teaspoons instant coffee (Nescafe or Bru)
2 teaspoons golden syrup or date syrup
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs beaten well
¼ cup rum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
100 grams chopped raisins
100 grams chopped black currants
100 grams mixed peel
½ teaspoon salt
100 grams sugar
Cream the butter and sugar together then add the eggs and mix well.
Gradually add all the other ingredients and mix well.
Grease a Pudding Mould or any suitable bowl with butter. Pour the pudding mixture into it.
Steam the pudding for about 1 hour on low heat either in a pressure cooker or a suitable pan or steamer till it is firm to touch.

Note: This pudding can be made weeks in advance and refrigerated till required. Steam for 10 minute or microwave for 3 minutes before serving. For a more exotic taste, when still warm make a few small holes all over the pudding and pour about 6 tablespoons of rum over it

HOW TO FLAME YOUR CHRISTMAS PUDDING
The flaming of the pudding needs a steady hand and for safety reasons, should not be done by someone who has enjoyed too much wine.
Pour about 3 tablespoons of rum or brandy into a metal ladle or a deep spoon and carefully heat over a gas flame or lit candle till the liquor bursts into flame. Quickly pour the flaming rum or brandy over the pudding and take it to the dinner table. Make sure the lights are out when taking it to the table for a grand entrance. Once the flames have subsided, serve with, cream or custard.

SAVOURY BREAD PUDDING OR OMLETTE AND BREAD BAKE
Ingredients
5 or 6 slices bread
2 or 3 eggs
2 onions chopped
2 green chillies chopped
1/2 litre milk
2 tablespoons butter
Some cheese
Salt to taste
Beat the eggs. Add the onions, green chillies and salt and mix well
Meanwhile heat the milk till warm and add the butter to it. Mix to dissolve
Add the egg mixture to the milk and mix in
Take a glass oven proof dish and lay 2 or 3 slices of bread in it
Pour half the milk and egg mixture over the bread. Press down to soak
Lay the remaining slices of bread over the earlier layer
Pour the remaining egg and milk mixture over it
Dot with some blobs of cheese
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for around 20 to 25 minutes
Serve with some tomato ketchup

ANGLO-INDIAN OXTAIL STEW
Ingredients
1 kg oxtail cut into medium pieces
3 carrots, 4 French beans, 3 potatoes,
4 green chilies slit lengthwise
2 medium size tomatoes chopped
1 big onion sliced
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
2 cloves, 2 pieces of cinnamon
6 or 7 pepper corns
A few mint leavesd
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons coconut paste or coconut milk (optional)
2 tablespoons flour
Cook the oxtail together with the pepper corns, green chilies, onions, tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, salt, cinnamon, cloves, mint and coconut in sufficient water till the oxtail is tender. (You could either pressure cook it or cook on Low heat on the gas hob)
Now add the vegetables, potatoes and coconut milk and cook for a few minutes till they are tender
Make a thin paste of the flour and about ¼ cup of water and mix into the cooked meat and vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot with bread or hoppers.
Note: For Dumpling Stew, make dumplings as follows and add along with the meat and vegetables while cooking.
To make the dumplings, you will need 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon butter and a pinch of salt. Mix all together with a little water to form soft dough. Form into small balls and flatten slightly. Add to the stew while cooking.

2 cups of roasted vermicelli
1 onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
2 or 3 green chillies chopped
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon chillie powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam Masala powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 small piece of cinnamon
2 or 3 cloves
2 or 3 cardamoms
Salt to taste
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons oil

Dry Roast the vermicelli lightly till it gives out a nice aroma either in a pan or in a microwave for 2 minutes
Heat the oil and add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, onions and green chillies and fry for a few minutes till the onions turn pink
Add the tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, chillie powder, coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala powder and the coriander leaves and fry till the tomatoes turn soft
Add the coconut milk and salt and mix well
Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil
When it’s bubbling nicely, add the roasted vermicelli and mix well.
Cook on medium heat till all the liquid is absorbed and the vermicelli is cooked.
Switch off. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving
Goes well with sliced onions and lime pickle

ANGLO-INDIAN EGG TEMPERADO - MY WAY
ingredients
6 Hard Boiled Eggs - shelled
2 onions sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 green chillies sliced
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 teaspoon chillie powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil or butter

Heat oil in a suitable pan and fry the onions, garlic and green chillies till golden brown
Add the tomatoes and fry till soft
Add the chillie powder, turmeric and salt and fry till the oil separates from the mixture
Add a little water if required and cook some more
Add the hard boiled eggs and mix well
Add a few curry leaves if desired for extra flavour and mix in
Cover and cook for 5 more minutes to allow all the flavours to seep in
Serve with rice or chapattis

Prawns and Bandy Coy / Lady Finger Curry
1 kg medium size Prawns - cleaned and deveined
1/2 kg tender okra / Bandy Coy / ladyfingers - cut into medium pieces
2 onions chopped
2 green chillies sliced
3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
2 teaspoons chillie powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 cups Tamarind water extracted from a lime size ball of tamarind
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
3 tablespoons oil
Heat the oil in a suitable pan and fry the onions and green chillies till golden brown
Add the ginger garlic paste and sauté for a few minutes
Make a paste of the chillie powder, coriander powder, cumin, turmeric with a little water and add to the pan
Fry for a few minutes.
Add the tamarind water and salt and bring to boil
When the curry is bubbling well, add the cut Bandy Coy / Okra and the prawns and coconut milk and mix well
Cover and cook on medium heat for just 8 to 10 minutes
Serve with plain steamed rice

Ingredients
6 drumsticks peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
3 potatoes peeled and cut in chunks
2 onions finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
2 tomatoes finely chopped
2 tablespoons coriander leaves finely chopped
2 teaspoons chillie powder,
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder,
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder / spice powder
2 green chillies chopped
salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil
Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onions for a little while.
Add the tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, green chillies, chillie powder, turmeric, garam masala / spice powder, cumin powder, and salt and stir fry till the oil separates from the mixture.
Add the drumsticks and potatoes and 2 cups of water and simmer on low heat till the drum sticks and potatoes are cooked and the gravy thickens.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

CRUMB-FRIED CHICKEN OR ROAD ROLLER CHICKEN
This dish got its name only because the pieces of chicken breasts used in its preparation were cut lengthwise and then flattened with a cleaver or Rolling Pin. The Chicken eventually looked as if it was flattened by a heavy object such as a “Steam Roller or Road Roller”. This is a very subtly flavoured dish with only a hint of seasoning.
Ingredients
4 chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)
1 teaspoon pepper powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried or freshy chopped mint or parsley flakes
Salt to taste
3 or 4 tablespoons butter or oil to fry
3 tablespoons plain flour
2 Eggs beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
Slice each chicken breast with a large knife or cleaver horizontally, so that you get 8 pieces.
Flatten each piece with a mallet or rolling pin.
Season the flattened chicken with a little of the pepper powder, salt, paprika and keep aside for 15 minutes
Coat each piece of chicken breast with the flour and keep aside
Now season the breadcrumbs with the remaining pepper, salt, paprika, parsley / mint and any other seasoning that you like including some cheese powder
Heat the butter oil in a nonstick pan till nice and hot
Dip each piece of chicken in the beaten egg then coat well with the breadcrumbs.
Place each coated piece in the hot oil or butter and fry the chicken pieces on both sides on medium heat till tender and a nice golden colour
Serve with a nice salad or with any seasoned rice or bread.
(Alternately the chicken can be baked in an oven using the same recipe)

Pomfret Fish Curry
Ingredients
1 kg good fleshy pomfrets sliced thickly
3 big onions sliced finely
2 green chilies sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
3 tablespoons ground coconut paste or coconut milk
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
3 tablespoons oil
Salt to taste
1cup thick tamarind juice or ½ cup lime juice
3 teaspoons chillie powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 sprigs curry leaves
Heat oil in a pan and add the curry leaves and onions and sauté for a few minutes.
Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, chillie powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and coconut and fry for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the tamarind juice, salt and slit green chillies and bring to boil.
Add the fish and a little more water if more gravy is required.
Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes till the fish is cooked.
Pour a tablespoon of oil on top then remove from heat.
(Care should be taken not to over cook the fish or else it will break up.)
Serve with rice or bread.

GREEN MASALA FRIED WHOLE POMFRET

Ingredients

3 or 4 medium size whole pomfrets

2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste

4 tablespoons coriander leaves

1 teaspoon cumin powder

4 or 5 green chillies

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

Salt to taste

5 or 6 tablespoons oil

Clean and wash the pomfrets well then make light cuts on them

Grind the green chillies and green coriander together to a paste.

Mix in the cumin powder, ginger garlic paste, salt, turmeric powder.

Marinate the fish with this paste and keep aside for half an hour.

Heat oil in a flat pan and shallow fry the Fish on both sides till brown.

In the same oil lightly fry some onion rings and curry leaves and serve with the fried pomfrets

Serve with Rice and Pepper water or Bread.

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