It’s December already! That means it’s time for all the holiday cheer and holiday gluttony! Tis the season to bake all the sweets to tempt Santa Claus to the house! What brings more warmth and holiday spirit than cozying up next to a good book, Christmas songs, and some Christmas snacks?
Even better, treat your family to something sweet this Christmas with this collection of the best decadent Christmas snacks with a hint of Malaysian touch. Let’s make Christmas in Malaysia like no other!
1. Cheese and Fruit Platters
When it comes to a party, everyone will ask for fruit and cheese. It’s all the rage right now! Why not add a little twist by making a Christmas Tree fruit and cheese platter to spruce up your holiday table? Everyone loves a good pair of cheese paired with the right stuff. That being said, when choosing your fruits, do bear in mind that not all fruits pair well with cheeses, such as bananas and oranges.
Include a lot of cheese varieties – sharp and mild, firm and soft, such as parmesan and mozzarella. Only then do you shape the tree from the bottom to the top layer, before filling it to make it fuller later. Garnish it as you like, but parsley and rosemary works wonder! Your goal is to highlight and complements both elements equally, without overwhelming the other.
2. Candy Cane Hot Chocolate
What is it about a mug hot chocolate in the Christmas vibes that brings a smile? Well, for one, the taste and feel of drinking hot chocolate is a pure indulgence. It’s decadent, thick and silky! The next is… do we even need a reason for it though?
For a hot chocolate that will never be forgotten, add a tablespoon of blended peppermint candy powder to the hot chocolate. What you get is a rich taste of chocolate that is perfectly balanced with the peppermint – a flavour you couldn’t have imagined before. Easy peasy to make but hard to forget for your guests.
3. Chai Eggnog
Why do we drink eggnog on Christmas? According to food historian Frederick Opie, eggnog has its roots in British aristocracy wherein the wealthy would drink warm milk and egg beverages seasoned with spices from the east and expensive liquors to keep it from spoiling on the winter. Malaysia has no winter, but that shouldn’t stop us from sipping them through the holiday, should it?
Also, please don’t fear the raw eggs in eggnog. The eggs are gently cooked to kill all harmful bacteria, and you do not need to add alcohol to it to make it enjoyable. It’s even better because kids will enjoy it just as much as the adults. The secret ingredient to make a great eggnog is a dash of my chai masala mix – people will be asking you for the recipe.
4. Gingerbread House
“Run, run, fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man,” said the gingerbread man in the fairy tale. No cookies symbolise the holiday quite as the gingerbread man does. Although the first gingerbread recipe came across from Greece in the 2400 BC, it only became associated with Christmas tradition on the 16th century in Germany.
The Brothers Grill fairy tale Hansel and Gretel played a significant role in giving us our beloved gingerbread house which was made with honey, ginger, and breadcrumbs. It’s very different from today’s gingerbread which includes molasses, spices, and ginger, of course. There’s no right or wrong; you can make it however you like it will still be loved. So that’s how we have gingerbread houses today!
5. Christmas Pudding
It’s not every day we can eat Christmas pudding, so why not make the most out of it this festive season? For one, it definitely does not resemble our silky pudding! The traditional British dish originated in the 14th century as a porridge made of beef, mutton, raisins, prunes, currants, wines and spices.
Over the years, people start adding eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruits to add more flavour and texture and by the Victorian times, it has changed into what we eat today. With the right recipe, it doesn’t have to be dry, dense and alcoholic. In fact, the traditional favourite may be moist and sticky, meltingly light and without any traces of alcohol!
6. Christmas Curry Puff
If you’re going to make this, you better make it quadruple the portions because you’re going to watch these pastries fly off the platter. It is safe to say that all Malaysians love the deeply fried crescent shaped king of snacks. You can find them freshly fried at many food stalls, but nothing beats homemade curry puffs! Like fashion, make your curry puff to the occasion.
Instead of the usual meat and potatoes fillings, use Christmas stuffings such as sausage and bread, wholegrain with apples, sausages, and pecans, mushroom and chestnuts to name a few. The options are endless and for once a year, go crazy with it. All handmade and bursting with flavour, they perfectly represent the fusion between Malaysian and the festive season.
7. Sour Cream Sambal Dips
Whether you’re hosting or visiting, you can always expect an impressive, simple dip to nibble with. The creamy hit dip with a tanginess from the sour cream and bursting with flavour from your sambal will undoubtedly be the first thing gone at the party, and it isn’t famous for nothing!
Let your taste buds take a walk on the wild side with this flavourful and fun sour cream sambal dip. If you can’t take spicy food, perhaps a wonderfully hot and cheesy parmesan and broccoli dip with salted egg yolk and buttermilk sauce will make the party worth going to (or even the best thing about it!)
8. Roasted Chestnuts
Sing with me, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….” Do you hear what I hear? Do you smell what I smell? and do you see what I see? It’s time to roast some chestnuts! I guess it’s time of the year again, although as it turns out, roasting chestnuts date back to the 16th century when vendors sold the treat on the streets of Rome.
The raw, nutty taste with a hint of bitterness balances the overindulging of sweets in the season, which makes it perfect for an after dessert snack. If you’ve never tried it before, you probably should give it a shot!
9. Fruit Cake
No Christmas is complete without the traditional fruitcake. Apparently, the fruitcake can be traced back to the ancient Egypt when it is placed on tombs as food for the afterlife. In Malaysia, people love to add their spin to the traditional cake, lacing them with rose essence for an alluring aroma. The charm lies with the surprises it brings every bite – sometimes it’s citrusy, perhaps very berry or often nutty.
The classic cake is dense, which can last for a more extended period due to the usage of dried foods. Substitute the alcohol with your orange or grape juice, and the longer you soak them, the better it is! A wise tip is to use a low temperature when baking the cake to prevent the dried fruits from being bitter and keeping it moist.
10. Beef Rendang Christmas Pie
Christmas and pie go together like a Christmas tree and the vibrant lights that adorn it – it just won’t be the same without one another. A perfect Christmas pie isn’t just about the taste, but also the beautiful presentation of a lattice crust or the perfect edges.
There is always something jolly about bringing them to the table, especially when the filling is your killer beef rendang recipe. If anyone tells you that beef rendang doesn’t suit the season, prove them wrong by just giving them a bite of this pie. The only words they will say will be “can I have another bite?”.
Talking about Christmas, how do you celebrate Christmas at the dining table? We would like to know your dining tradition and what makes your favorite rendition of the Christmas snack so unique. Start planning and start prepping – it’s less than a month away!