After the period of fasting to observe Lent, now’s the time to celebrate Easter. We invited some of Mumbai’s chefs and restaurateurs to take us on a nostalgia-filled traditional, homely Easter feast
Juliano Rodrigues Chef, Out of the Blue, Khar
EASTER is all about the family getting together. We are Goans. For Easter, we make simple Pork Vindaloo with rice and salad. We also make Sannas, which resemble idlis but are not.
With many Christians abstaining from meat during Lent, meats, especially red, occupy a prominent place on Easter menus. Representative pic
Rice is mixed with palm liquor, or tadi madi; it’s puffed all night. I don’t get a chance to cook at home because when I do, no one likes the food. As a kid, I would eat fresh Hot Cross Buns in the mornings. Easter buns had to have the cross on the top, then they would be blessed in church and we would eat them.
Chef Juliano Rodrigues loves his Pork Vindaloo and Hot Cross Buns on Easter. Pic/Satyajit Desai
Restaurants offer mechanical stuff. At home, we make simpler things that have a connect. The one dish I remember most is the Pork Roast. It was supposed to be the cheapest meat available, and what would remain would go into your sandwich or salad the next day. This was a way to maximise its use. We were brought up with such values.
Chef Juliano Rodrigues (in white T-shirt) shares an old photograph of a family Easter celebration
There was Beef Roast too. The Easter Bunny was a gum-based affair with an icing sugar crust. We would make wine at home, it would take a year to mature. Easter is a celebration of life with the family. It’s also in the middle of summer so it’s simple food with lots of flavour.
Meldan D'Cunha Chef, Restaurateur, Soul Fry: Bandra, The Local: Fort
Earlier, I would attend the Easter vigil (night) mass; I was also a part of the choir. But because of the restaurant, I can’t do all of that anymore.
The Easter service is important. The first meal on Easter usually is coffee and cake served at church, post service. Our parish also sells Hot Cross Buns. We bring holy water back and bless the house first, and then eat our meal.
A traditional home-cooked meal at D’Cunha’s home
This year, my menu is planned according to my 90-year-old mother-in- law’s favourites. The menu includes Crumb-fried Lamb Chops, Pork Roast, Chicken Vindaloo, Coconut Pulao, Peanut Butter Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Salad and wine. Our relatives, as well as a few neighbours drop by our home, and we celebrate together. We will end the meal with ice cream and Easter eggs bought from outside. The Holy Week precedes Easter, so Easter celebrations are more sombre than Christmas. In the evening, we will have a karaoke session with dinner.
Gresham Fernandes Chef, Salt Water Cafe, Bandra
I AM an East Indian. Easter for me is all about the family. It’s about getting together and eating together, and getting new clothes. We would go for mass. Those days, the mass started at around 10 so we would return at midnight.
There were no loudspeakers and time restrictions. You start eating non vegetarian after so many days of being vegetarian and fasting; you start drinking again and go fully berserk! My grandmother has five children, so it was five families coming together. In my previous home in Bandra, the biggest room was the kitchen. It would be full of people on Easter. Everyone would make a dish.
There would be pork, prawn, lobster and the works. We would make Stuffed Pig. the Vindaloo, Sorpotel, and sausages would be regular features. There would also be Easter eggs, marzipan and hard rock candies. We would break the Easter egg on that day and there would be goodies inside. This is something you don’t see much these days. It was mainly marzipan — loaded with sugar. Chocolate was never a part of Easter for us. We would make a Rava (semolina) Cake, and dodol made using jaggery. The mixing was done with hand. We had big wooden spoons that were used for batting practice sometimes, and we would get busted!
I don’t cook at home on Easter. There is too much pressure. There are people there with 60 years of experience, then they say ‘He’s trying to show off’ (laughs). I can shop for ingredients. All of this is Easter for me — a big table, lots of people and home -cooked food, and this cannot be recreated in a restaurant.
Ronnie D'Souza Owner, Uncle’s Kitchen, Malad
The restaurant staff is my second family and as we celebrate all festivals with family, Christmas and Easter are two festivals that I celebrate with my staff too. My father started this tradition. We cut a cake in the restaurant first, and for lunch or dinner, we take all the boys outdoor to eat.
Ronnie D’Souza of Uncle’s Kitchen
At home, my mom sends dishes that she has cooked and my wife also prepares food for Easter. We typically eat Mangalorean Chicken Curry with Kora Roti, biryani and Pork Sorpotel. My wife also sends home-made food to the restaurant for the staff. Earlier, we would eat beef too.
The staff of Uncle’s Kitchen having fun on their day out
Easter around town
A feast indeed
Gorge on a special Easter feast which will include dishes such as Carrot and Orange Soup, Chicken Consommé with stuff tortellini, Risotto with olives and sun-dried tomato pesto with herb ricotta and more.
On: April 4, midnight onwards, April 5 all day
At: Mangal Bhawan, 14th Road, off Linking Road, Khar (W). 3, Transocean House, Hiranandani Business Park, Powai.
A special morning
Speciality dishes such as Vegetable Chive Dumpling, Prawns and Seaweed Dumpling, and Szechuan Vegetable and Tofu Clay Pot and a select Easter dessert platter will be served at Yauatcha to celebrate Easter Sunday. Also on offer will be Easter eggs and bunnies.
On: April 5
At: First floor, Raheja Tower, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (E).
Easter’s incomplete without sweets and giving it a vegetarian twist are chocolate coated eggs, candies and sweets by The Rolling Pin. Indulge your sweet tooth.
Till: April 6
At: 12, Janta Industrial Estate, Senapati Bapat Road, Lower Parel.
A special treat
Your sweet tooth is in for a treat this Easter. Check out the special cupcakes and Easter eggs at The Sassy Spoon, who has rustled up sweet treats to celebrate this Sunday with your family.
At: The Sassy Spoon, Classic Corner, next to Holy Family Hospital, Hill Road, Bandra (W).
Call: 8655555555 / 26444777
Easter eggs in various exotic and delectable flavours, handmade chocolate, hot cross buns, Easter bunny, Easter rooster and a lot more is on offer this festive weekend at Goodrej Nature’s Basket.
Available at all Nature’s Basket outlets.
Birds and bunnies
Add fresh, sinful desserts to your celebration table. You can pick from a Chocolate Easter birdcage, chocolate bunnies or the multiple candy and creamy Easter eggs.
At: Bandra, Lokhandwala and Hiranandani Gardens (Powai) outlets of Love and Cheesecake.