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Healthy twist to Christmas treats

WT24 Desk

Christmas lunch and dinner is a special time to be shared with family and friends. A lot of effort is put in to create an elaborate festive spread which includes a stuffed turkey/chicken, Christmas cake or pudding, gravies like vindaloo and sorpotel which are then enjoyed with a glass of wine. While some of us avoid thinking about the mind-boggling calorie intake during this time of year, there are others who would prefer a low cal version of the festive spread. With that in mind we got three chefs to recreate low cal festive indulgences.

Roast turkey

1             turkey
10 gms   salt
5 gms     freshly ground black pepper
50 ml      olive oil
50 gms   carrots
50 gms   leeks
100 gms onion
30 gms   celery
2             bay leafs

Ingredients for the stuffing

50 gms       apricot
10 pitted     dried prunes
100 gms     soya granules
1 small       onion
10 ml          olive oil
2                grated rind and juice of lemons
30 gms      chopped flat leaf parsley
50 gms       fresh tofu diced
1 tsp           ground nutmeg, ground cloves around cinnamon and ground coriander
2                 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Method for the stuffing

Cut the apricot and prunes and cover with cold water and leave overnight, place the soya in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook gently for 15 minutes or until cooked, peel and chop the onion and fry in the olive oil for seven to eight minutes or until soft. Mix together all the ingredients, seasoning well with the spices and salt. Spoon into a loaf tin and cover with foil.  Cook at 180 degree C for 40 minutes. Uncover for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.

Cranberry and orange sauce
1                 orange
450 gms     fresh or frozen cranberries
150 ml        red wine
150 ml        orange juice

Method for the sauce

Finely grate the orange rind and squeeze the juice. Set the rind aside place the cranberry, sugar, wine and both orange juices in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer  uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Remove and reserve half the cranberries, blend the remainder of the sauces until smooth. Return to the pan with the reserved cranberries and orange rind. Cool cover and chill, served cold.

Turkey Marination
Add olive oil, salt and black pepper and mix. Rub this marinade on the turkey.
Prepare a mire poix of carrots, leeks, onions and celery by cutting them roughly. Use this to stuff  the turkey. Create a bed of the remaining mire poix in the pan used to cook the turkey.


Preheat the oven to a temperature of 160 degree C. Cook the turkey in a combi oven at a temperature of 160 degree C for four hours basting it at intervals. Raise the temperature of the oven to 220 degree C towards the end of the cooking so as to give a nice nut brown colour to the turkey. Loosely stuff the neck end only, stuffing the cavity can inhibit penetration and pose a health risk. The stuffing should be cold before it is put in the bird. Don’t overfill it.

Weigh the bird after stuffing. Calculate the complete cooking time to be ready 30 minutes before carving — this allows time for the meat to firm up, making carving easier. Spread the turkey with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, wrap the bird loosely in a tent of foil, then cook in a preheated oven at 180 degree C (350 degree F) make four  hours. Remove the foil about an hour before the end of the cooking time to brown.

Courtesy Chef Surender Mohan, Corporate chef- Indian Cuisine at The Leela Mumbai

Christmas pudding

500 ml          oil
400 gms        jaggery
11 pcs           eggs
150 gms        Sun quick (orange juice concentrate)
30 gms          salt
100 gms        malt
800 gms        bread crumbs
120 gms        whole wheat flour
30 gms          cocoa powder
4,000 gms     mixed candied fruit
800 gms        prunes dried
200 gms        apricots dried and put through the mincing machine
200 gms        orange juice
1,000 gms     cherry glace
1,000 gms     raisins
1 bottle          rum
1 bottle          Mekong whisky

Mince all the dried fruit and add the alcohol allow to soak for a week or more even a month. Add the orange juice just before kneading. Cream together the oil and jaggery with the sun quick orange concentrate, salt and malt. Add eggs gradually.  Fold in the dry ingredients. Fold in the mixed fruit mixture. Allow to stand in the fridge over night. Spoon into greased bowls. Seal with aluminium foil. Steam in the oven in bain-marie (a water bath) at 150c for around one and a half hour.  Allow to cool. To finish glaze with apricot glaze and place on a cake board then decorate with holly leaves.

Courtesy  Siddharth Anand, Pastry Chef, Westin Garden City Mumbai

Guilt free Christmas cake 

500 gms         mixed dried fruit
1⁄2 cup           chopped dried apricots
400 gms         can crushed pineapple with juice
1⁄4 cup           fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon     mixed spice
1 teaspoon     baking soda
2                     large eggs, separated
2 cups            wholemeal self-rising flour

Line base and sides of 20cm squared cake tin with paper. Place mixed fruit, apricots, undrained pineapple, orange juice and spice in a saucepan.

Bring slowly to a boil, simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat.

Cover and allow to cool. Stir egg yolks and soda into fruit mixture. Whip egg whites stiffly in large bowl. Fold in fruit mixture, then fold in flour, making a firm mixture.

Spread into cake tin, bake in the oven (160c) for one and a half hour. Cover the hot cake with foil and allow to cool in the pan.

Courtesy Rachel Goenka, chef and owner, The Sassy Spoon

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