Holiday Indian Flavors

Written by Rinku Bhattacharya. Posted in Pork.

Great Ham recipe
Pineapple and Ginger Spiced Ham

Ham is a holiday meat that works exceptionally well with Indian flavors. I tried many a variation on this recipe
and ultimately settled for this version. It looks quite beautiful with its vivid colors, and the meat tastes moist
with just the right amount of bite!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours (mostly unattended) Serves:10-14
1½ cups cubed fresh pineapple
2 cups pineapple juice
2 tablespoons red cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons chaat masala (see recipe on next page)
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
⅓ cup soy sauce
1 ham (3 to 6 pounds)
Method of Preparation
1. Heat the oven to 350ºF.
2. Place the pineapples, pineapple juice, cayenne pepper powder,
chaat masala, brown sugar, ginger, and soy sauce in a saucepan
and cook for 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
3. Place the ham in a roasting pan and pour the pineapple mixture
over it. Bake the ham for 3 hours, occasionally spooning the
pineapple mixture over it.
4. Turn off the heat and let the ham rest for 20 minutes.
5. Slice the ham and serve with the pineapple sauce spooned over it.

Winter Squash Stuffed with Walnuts and Paneer

This delicate preparation of winter squash stuffed with leeks, breadcrumbs, walnuts, and grated paneer. It makes a delicious holiday side dish or a nice vegetarian tree for those who prefer to go meatless.

Prep Time: 15 minutes 
 Cook Time: 45 minutes (mostly unattended) | Serves: 4 to 6
1 large or 2 small acorn or delicata
3 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 leek, finely chopped
1 cup walnuts or almonds, finely
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons grated paneer cheese
2 tablespoons cheddar cheese to sprinkle
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
2. Cut the squash(es) in half. Scoop out the seeds and remove the pulpy strands holding the seeds. Spread the cut sides with 1tablespoon of the ghee.
3. Heat the remaining ghee on medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the cumin powder and leek and cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until the leeks are very soft and beginning to turn brown at the edges. Stir in the walnuts, salt, and sugar and mix well. Stir in the paneer.
4. Gently fill the center of each squash half with the stuffing and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and return to the oven to let the cheese melt.
Serve hot.

Chaat Masala


1/4 cup cumin seeds
1/8 cup coriander seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1/2 cup amchur powder (Dried mango)
1 tablespoon red cayenne pepper powder
3 tablespoons black salt

1. Dry roast cumin seeds in a small skillet until fragrant and toasty, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan.
2. Add Criander seeds and black peppercorns to the skillet and dry roast for about 1 1/2 minutes, until they smell fragant and darken slightly.
3. Grind the spices in a spice mill or coffee grinder until smooth.
4. Stir in the amchur powder, cayenne pepper powder, and black salt.
5. Store in an airtight jar in a cool dry place.

Rinku Bhattacharya is a food writer, culinary educator and a mother of two young children. She specializes in a practical, sustainable approach to Indian cooking.  Rinku lives in a house with a vibrant backyard in Hudson Valley, New York with her husband, an avid gardener, and their two children. Rinku’s simple, sustainable approach to Indian cooking is showcased on her blog, Spice Chronicles (, and in her Journal News column “Spices and Seasons.”

Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years, and works extensively with local area farmer’s markets on seasonal demonstrations and discussions. Rinku is the author of two cookbooks, Spices and Seasons, Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors and The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles (Hippocrene Books, 2012), winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2013 for Best Indian Cuisine. She writes for the Poughkeepsie Journal, Zester Daily, the Journal News, and is a frequent guest on CT Style TV.
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