It’s Easter this weekend and time for Mumbai’s Christian community to celebrate with some good food after the sacrifices of Lent.
The feasting begins with Hot Cross buns which are bought on Thursday before Good Friday from Goan Catholic owned bakeries such as Candies and American Express Bakery.
This is also when bakeries and confectioneries across the city start stocking Easter eggs. Easter eggs are more popular and secular than the tradition of Hot Cross with even non-Christians buying into the chocolate and marzipan love.
However, as my uncle, a Christian had once explained, Easter eggs are meant to be eaten only on Easter and not before. So wait till Sunday even if you pick them up on Friday or Saturday!
This reminds me of the Bengali tradition of not eating the fruit kul, or Indian jujube, before Saraswati Pujo.
The Catholic community of Mumbai consists largely of East Indians, Goans and Mangaloreans. The Easter Sunday feast in these houses consists of traditional dishes. This is one day where the daily favourite of fish curry rice is set aside for more meaty delights.
My friend, Gia, a Mumbai Goan, says that pork is a favourite and that they would often cook sorpotel or vindaloo to have with an idli like bread called sannas during Easter just as they would for Christmas. There are regional variations to the sorpotel and vindaloo recipes depending on whether one is East Indian, Goan or Mangalorean.
Beef often stars during Easter with dishes such as beef roast, beef chili fry and beef roulade. This year these would just be a fond memory thanks to the beef ban in Maharashtra.
I bumped into my friend Ranjit in Candies on Thursday who was buying Hot Cross Buns to have with his Goan wife. He said that they find pork a bit too much to handle in the April heat and prefer a simple chicken roast on Easter.
The traditional chicken preparations to have on Easter are xacuti and caffreal.
Vindaloo and sorpotel are not that easy to cook. They are prepared a few days before Easter as it is believed that dishes taste better when matured over three-four days.
However, you can still easily get in a Goan/East Indian flavour to your kitchen on Easter Sunday in Mumbai.
Head to one of the Catholic-run cold storages in Bandra, Borivali or old Wadala and buy a pack of Goa sausages or chorizo. Cooking these is very simple.
This is how my friend Gia cooks them: