I am not a Christian, but I do believe that Jesus Christ was a Messenger of God just like Krishna or Buddha or Moses or Muhammad. So when someone asks me if I celebrate Christmas, I reply in the negative. I have been asked this question more and more in the past few days. Inquisitiveness taking the better of me, I wanted to know what the regular Christians do during Christmas here in Belgium. So when I was asked this question again, “Do you celebrate Christmas?”I responded with another question, “What is ‘celebrate’ and how do you celebrate Christmas?” The answer I got was, “We eat and drink together with the family and exchange gifts.” I had to ask, “What about the Mass at Church? What about giving to the poor?” I received blank and surprised stares from my friend and all those with him who were hearing the conversation. I realized I had asked something stupid and perhaps outrageous to some. So if people in Belgium celebrated Christmas by having dinner and drinks together and gift giving, I too was in effect celebrating Christmas like everyone else. And so were all the Moroccans and Turkish living in Belgium, albeit unknowingly. We were all eating and drinking (perhaps not wine, but nonetheless drinking something!) on Christmas Eve. I even had a small plastic Christmas tree all decorated by my daughter. I was indeed celebrating Christmas!
Now in India, on Christmas Eve you would see 100s of people headed to the cathedrals and churches for the midnight mass. On Christmas morn, our Christian neighbors brought us sweets and cakes, cookies and savories to celebrate the birth of Christ. I thought Christmas was all about that – sharing and giving. But Christianity had always been strong in the West – perhaps the believers in the East have got it all wrong!
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 cutlets
750 grams minced chicken
2 red onions, grated
2 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves
1" piece ginger
8 cloves garlic
2 green chilies
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup blanched almonds
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup corn oil for frying
- Coarsely grind the almonds and mix it in a large bowl along with the chicken mince.
- Soak the bread crumbs in milk and keep aside.
- Coarsely grind the ginger, garlic, coriander leaves and green chilies and add to the chicken mixture.
- Add the nutmeg powder along with the salt, pepper, bread crumbs and eggs to the mixture.
- Divide mixture into 12 equal parts and shape into cutlets.
- Heat oil in a deep pan and when hot, deep fry the cutlets till golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with salads and/or grilled vegetables.