Alternative Christmas Dinner with Salmon

So last week’s Christmas spectacular was a bit more of the standard-style British roast dinner type thing. This week I’m offering a more alternative Christmas dinner in contrast to the more ‘normal’ style by going for another British favourite, Indian (well my take on it anyway). Take away the meat and replace it with a tasty and succulent spiced roast side of salmon, and surround it with a variety of vegetables and chutneys and you’re onto a winner. Check out our other festive offerings here.

Alternative Christmas Dinner - Indian-Style Salmon Feast

Some might have seen last week’s roast duck as an alternative Christmas dinner with the move away from turkey, but why not just go all out. After all, you can always go back to the classics next year.

A great thing I found while putting together this menu is just how much of it can be done before the actual day. Around half of the work can be done beforehand, letting you relax on the day, and spend more time with the family (that might not actually be a good thing depending on your family).

I chose to go with salmon because I wanted to get away from the traditional meats which you see all over the festive period, while still keeping that indulgence you get from the fatty flesh. Smoked salmon is around quite a lot at this time of year, but not so much fresh. It does make a great alternative Christmas dinner centrepiece though, and cooks fast as well!

Now any Christmas dinner, alternative or not, wouldn’t be complete without an array of delicious side dishes to complement the star of the show. I’ve taken inspiration from all over the Indian subcontinent, to include a variety of plates that maybe wouldn’t be seen together usually (I honestly don’t know), but work really well.

First, I’ve gone for roti prata, a buttery, flaky and not at all healthy bread, which is just perfect for mopping up and surrounding anything your plate has got to offer. These take a bit of time to make over a couple of days (most of this is just waiting thankfully), but they’re totally worth the effort.

What Indian-style feast would be complete without a dhal? Here I’ve gone for a red lentil one, rich and deep with spices, but with a remarkably simple recipe. You’re guaranteed to make this one all year round for a quick and healthy dinner. Joining this are aloo masala, a spiced potato dish popping with mustard seeds and curry leaves, and cauliflower sabji, a spiced vegetable medley.

To really pick up the flavour for this alternative Christmas dinner I’ve also included a few condiments for the table. A mango chutney which will keep for months in the fridge but probably won’t last past Christmas, a fresh and tangy coriander and mint chutney to punch you in the taste buds, and finally, a mint and cucumber raita to cool down all the spices flying around.

Now you may be thinking that this doesn’t sound at all Christmassy to you, but when you look through the recipes, you’re going to see quite a few ingredients commonly found this time of year. Nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger are all here, just combined in different ways.

Like with last week’s recipes, this alternative Christmas dinner menu is excellent as a whole, or just in parts. Pick and choose what you want to eat this year and don’t be afraid just to buy stuff in if you don’t want the hassle. Yes, mango chutney is better homemade, but if you don’t have the time, just get some good stuff from the store, I’m not going to judge you (much).

Alternative Christmas Dinner - Indian-Style Salmon Feast

Planning and Timeline

Get stuff started or even done the day before and reap the rewards on Christmas day. The mango chutney can even be done a few weeks in advance. The flavours really develop when you leave it in the fridge, so try and do it at least the day before. Go for something a bit different and having more of an alternative Christmas dinner doesn’t have to be difficult.

Below is a rough timeline of when the individual steps for each recipe can be done, to make your life easier. If you have some help in the kitchen, you might not find it’s necessary to do so much the day before, but that’s up to you.

2 days before eating:

Mango Chutney – Step 1: Prepare and salt mangoes.

1 day before eating:

Red Lentil Dhal – Steps 1 to 5: Prepare and cook the dhal.
Roti Prata – Steps 1 to 6: Make the dough and portion.
Aloo Masala – Step 1: Peel, portion and cook potatoes.
Mango Chutney – Steps 2 to 5: Make chutney.
Mint and Cucumber Raita – Steps 1 to 3: Prepare and make raita.

2 hours before eating:

Roti Prata – Steps 7 to 9: Stretch dough and shape into spirals.

1.5 hours before eating:

Roti Prata – Steps 10 to 11: Flatten and cook prata.

1 hour before eating:

Coriander and Mint Chutney – Steps 1 to 3: Prepare and make the chutney.

45 minutes before eating:

Cauliflower Sabji – Steps 1 to 5: Prepare and cook.

30 minutes before eating:

Indian-Style Roast Salmon – Steps 1 to 3: Prepare and cook the salmon.

Aloo Masala – Steps 2 to 6: Prepare spices and cook with potatoes.

15 minutes before eating:

Red Lentil Dhal – Reheat dhal.
Roti Prata – Reheat prata.

Notes on Cooking

Indian food is famous for its spices, but heat more than anything else. When cooking with chilli, especially fresh, you really need to try some and see how hot it is before you use it. Heat can vary a lot between batches, even when using the same variety. The white pith that holds the seeds carries the most heat, so remove that and the seeds if you don’t like it too hot. Always remember that you can add more chilli later, but you can’t really take it away.

Whereas a more traditional British Christmas dinner is annoying because of the amount of oven space required, this meal is the opposite, with all but the salmon being cooked in saucepans on the hob. That being said, there are only four components that need to be heated when served (apart from the salmon), so as long as you make a few the roti prata and dhal in advance and just have to reheat them, you should be fine.

Recipes

Indian-Style Roast Salmon
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

One of the best ways to cook salmon is to roast a whole side together. Add South Asian spices to create a flavoursome centrepiece for any celebration.

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Christmas, Indian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 170 kcal
Author: Marbling and Marrow
Ingredients
  • 1 kg side of salmon
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds ground
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds ground
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds ground
  • 1/2 tsp ginger ground
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt uniodized
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Dry the salmon using a paper towel and place skin-side down onto a foil-lined baking tray. 

  2. Mix all the other ingredients together and spread the marinade over the flesh.

  3. Roast in a preheated oven at 200oC for 18 minutes.

Red Lentil Dhal
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Dhals are a staple of Indian cuisine and can be made from nearly any legume. This red lentil dhal is a great example and packs a serious flavour punch. 

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 150 kcal
Author: Marbling and Marrow
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1/2 fresh chilli finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 100 g dried red lentils washed
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 200 mL coconut milk
  • 250 mL vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, saute the onion in the ghee over a medium-low heat until softened, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli, and fry for 2 minutes on a medium heat.

  3. Next, add the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds, turmeric, and garam masala. Fry for 1 minute. 

  4. Finally, add the lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk and stock. Cook over a low heat for 20 minutes covered, and then 20 minutes uncovered, until thick.

  5. Season well to taste with salt and pepper, and top with the coriander.

Roti Prata
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

Although not at all healthy, roti prata are one of the greatest bread options from South Asia. Layered and crispy, perfect for mopping up everything else on your plate.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Malay, Singaporean
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 380 kcal
Author: Marbling and Marrow
Ingredients
  • 450 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt uniodized
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 100 mL milk
  • 130 mL water
  • 2 tbsp ghee melted
  • 50 g ghee
Instructions
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together and tip onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre.

  2. Tip the egg, milk, water and 2 tbsp of ghee into the centre of the well and mix together.

  3. Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet as if you were making pasta. Knead until the mixture comes together, about 5 - 10 minutes by hand. This is a wet dough so a bench scraper will help massively. Add a little more flour if it’s being a nightmare.

  4. Place the dough into a well-oiled bowl and cover with a wet towel. Leave for 30 minutes.

  5. Divide the dough into equal sized balls. This mixture should make 8 portions of about 100 g.

  6. Coat the balls with oil or ghee and cover again. Leave for at least an hour, but preferably overnight covered in clingfilm.

  7. Flatten the balls out as thin as possible. You can do this by flipping the prata like a pro, or stretching the dough out across the worksurface using your hands like me.

  8. Brush the dough with ghee, before gathering the dough to make a long sausage-like shape. Wrap this around itself into a spiral shape and then tuck the loose end into the centre.

  9. Cover with a wet towel and leave for at least 30 minutes.

  10. Lightly grease a frying pan and cook the prata over a medium-high heat, flipping regularly until crispy and golden in colour.

  11. Remove from the pan onto a work surface. Fluff the prata to release the layers by squishing the edges together, like you would with a pillow. 

  12. Reheat before serving in a dry, hot pan for 30 seconds on each side. 

Aloo Masala
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Aloo masala, or spiced potatoes, are a staple of Indian cooking and can be served with nearly anything, even just wrapped in a roti.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 190 kcal
Author: Marbling and Marrow
Ingredients
  • 500 g potatoes
  • 1 tbsp rice flour
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 3/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into large bitesize chunks. Boil in heavily salted water until nearly done. Drain well and set aside. These can then be kept refrigerated overnight.

  2. Over a medium-high heat melt the ghee, and then introduce the mustard and cumin seeds. Fry until they begin to crackle.

  3. Add the chilli flakes, ginger, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds and cook out for 1 minute.

  4. Toss the cooked potatoes in the rice flour and shake off any excess. Add the potatoes to the pan along with the turmeric.

  5. Cook over a medium heat, tossing regularly until the potatoes are tender and cooked through, about 5 minutes. 

  6. Serve sprinkled with the coriander.

Cauliflower Sabji
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A spiced vegetable medley based around cauliflower. A great and simple accompaniment for most meals.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Vegetable
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 70 kcal
Author: Marbling and Marrow
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 fresh chilli whole
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 1 cauliflower cut into florets
  • 100 g frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds ground
  • 1 tbsp coriander finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat the ghee in a saucepan over a medium heat, and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Wait until they begin to pop.

  2. Introduce the hing, turmeric and chilli, and cook off for 1 minute.

  3. Add the carrot, cauliflower and peas, and stir to combine before adding the cumin and coconut.

  4. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook on medium-low until tender.

  5. Stir through the coriander to serve.

Mango Chutney
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
 

Sweet, sour and spiced. Mango chutney is a perfect accompaniment to meat, cheese, fish and nearly anything else. 

Course: Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: Christmas, Indian
Servings: 20 people
Calories: 60 kcal
Author: Marbling and Marrow
Ingredients
  • 2 mangoes
  • 2 tbsp salt uniodized
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 cardamom pods broken open
  • 1 apple peeled and finely chopped
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 300 mL white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Peel, stone and slice the mangoes. Sprinkle them with the salt and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Drain the mangoes and rinse with cold water to remove any remaining salt.

  3. Add the remaining ingredients to a saucepan over a low heat and bring to the boil, making sure the sugar has dissolved. 

  4. Once boiling, add the mangoes and simmer for 30 minutes until the mixture is thick and syrupy. 

  5. Seal in sterilised jars.

Recipe Notes

To sterilise jars, clean them thoroughly with hot soapy water. Transfer to an oven at 120oC for at least 20 minutes. You can then switch the oven off and then leave them inside until needed. If using ones with a detachable rubber seal/gasket, remove this before putting the jars in the oven and boil for 10 minutes in a pan.

Mint and Cucumber Raita
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

A great addition to any spicy dishes. Ideal for dipping.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 70 kcal
Author: Marbling and Marrow
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 250 g yogurt
  • 10 g mint finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds ground
Instructions
  1. Halve the cucumber lengthwise and remove the seeds. Coarsely grate before putting in a clean towel and squeezing as much of the moisture out as possible.

  2. Mix the other ingredients together well and add the cucumber. 

  3. Season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until needed.

Coriander and Mint Chutney
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

Herby, zingy and a little spicy. The Asian equivalent to pesto is here.

Course: Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 30 kcal
Author: Marbling and Marrow
Ingredients
  • 70 g coriander leaves and stalks
  • 25 g mint leaves
  • 25 g roasted pistachops shelled and peeled
  • 1/2 fresh chilli
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp cold water
Instructions
  1. Take all the ingredients and blend together in a food processor.

  2. Add the chilli in stages to ensure you’re happy with the heat.

  3. Add more or less water, until you reach the desired consistency. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *