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  • Mashiat Mutmainnah

Five Amazing Diaspora Dishes You Need To Try this Christmas

This year, Christmas will be very different. With lockdowns happening everywhere, it can be an uncertain time. But, we must all learn to enjoy our present. Even though you may not be celebrating Christmas together, you and your family can enjoy some of our favorite, curated South Asian diaspora dishes this holiday season.

These recipes are shaped by the stories brought by traders, migrant labor workers, chefs and immigrants from South Asia, and they have emerged into their own unique culinary wonders. Some of these recipes may sound challenging and they may be things you've never tried before, but trust us, you'll love them!

From JORE, we wish you a a wonderful, safe, happy, and delicious Christmas!


Dark as night and delightfully unique, Pepperpot is the quintessential indigineous dish of Guyana. The stew combines the flavors of Christmas in a balanced way; warm cinnamon is intertwined with zesty orange and clove, encapsulated with sweet brown sugar and underscored with the heat of Caribbean pepper. Pepperpot is truly unique due to cassareep, a dark syrupy sauce derived from the juices of aged cassava root. The dark caramel cassareep envelops the red meat in a thick, syrupy embrace that helps the Pepperpot develop and preserve its flavor over time.

Make it a day or two in advance so you can enjoy its warm, spicy flavors on Christmas with some soft as air plait bread.

Here is Alica’s Pepperpot’s easy-to-follow recipe for a divine Christmas Pepperpot!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic

Bunny Chow

Don’t worry! We are not eating any bunnies here.

Bunny chow is a street food invented by the South African Indian Community at Durban. The dish is made with a quarter-loaf of bread hollowed out. You heard right.. a quarter loaf of bread! The loaf is filled with a wide variety of delectables like mutton curry, beans curry, fried eggs, cheese, sausage, etc. You name it, it can go into the chow! These meals are served with refreshing grated carrots, sambal, and sour pickles.

The story of Bunny Chow is equally unique. It is believed that indentured Indian migrant workers brought to work in Kawzulu-Natal carried their curries in hollowed-out loaves of bread. The bread not only added a layer of deliciousness, but also provided structural integrity.

As the curry rests, the walls of the loaf get soaked in the gravy. So if you find yourself incapable of stopping licking your fingers, you did it right!

Make some delicious finger-licking good Bunny Chow using Rupali Dean’s recipe here.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International


Trinidad and Tobago are home to a number of Indian diaspora communities. It boasts a vibrant, multi-cultural, multi-religious identity. Among the most popular snacks during the holidays is the Trinidanian Kachourie, an Indo-Carribean variant of the Indian kachori. In India , kachori is flattened ball of dough stuffed with a spicy moong dal or potato mixture.

However, in Trinidad, these ingredients are mixed with soaked chickpeas to create a tasty, spicy dough that is rolled out and shallow fried.The result: crispy and delicious kachourie paired with sweet mango chutney for a festive Christmas morning!

To make your own authentic Trini Kachourie, use Trini Gourmet's easy step-by-step recipe here.

Image courtesy of: Trinidad Food Tours


If you havent had Murtabak, you are missing out!

Murtabak is a rich, creamy, tasty omlette packed with eggs, chives, scallions, and minced meat. Though it is said to have originated in Yemen, this tasty concoction originated in Kerala as a multi-layered pancake and was originally called “mutabar”.“Muta” means egg and “bar” means bread.

Murtabak was brought by Muslim Tamil traders to the Middle East and spread by Muslim traders in South East Asia. Today, Murtabak is a popular street snack in Indonesia and Malaysia.The dough is rolled out and swirled until it becomes paper thin and sheer. It is then crisped in a pan, bubbling and blistering into an airy and crispy crust. The choice of fillings is endless and there is also a choice of sweet toppings consisting of toasted crushed peanuts, chocolate and creamy cheese.

This Christmas, make some delicious sweet and savory murtabak for you and the entire family to enjoy.

The Javanese Martabak Telor recipe from What to Cook Today is great for a savory Murtabak!

If you are craving a sweet dessert, try out their Martabak Manis recipe. You won't regret it!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Fish Head Curry

Fish head curry is a heavenly bowl of braised red snapper, gently stewed in a Kerala-style curry with perfectly simmered okras and eggplants. Trust me, once you have this, you will never, ever want anything else.

Tamarind and coconut milk give the stew a balance of rich sweetness, sourness, and creaminess. A Kerala chef invented Fish head curry to introduce South Indian cuisine to Singapore. The dish is considered a delicacy amongst the Chinese community of Singapore and is served bubbling in a clay pot, garnished with scintillating cilantro.

This Christmas season, treat yourself to one of the most flavorful dishes the South Asian Diaspora has to offer. It may seem scary trying something new, but we promise you will come back to it again and again!

Rasa Malaysia’s Curry Fish Head Recipe is a must-try! The gorgeous lemongrass adds a delightful fragrance and the dish together.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

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