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Fire and umami: a very different Christmas dinner

Fire and umami: a very different Christmas dinner

by Great British Chefs 16 December 2019

Tired of tradition? Take a look at these three alternative festive recipes that bring a bit of Asian flavour to the Christmas dinner table.

Few meals are awaited with more eager anticipation than Christmas dinner. There’s something special about getting the whole family around the table to indulge in an impressive spread of side dishes, surrounding the centrepiece (be it turkey, another meat or even a nut roast). Many of us, however, begin to grow tired of the traditional flavours year after year. A classic Christmas feast has little in the way of spices and aromatics – at best there’s some clove in the bread sauce, sage in the stuffing and a few herbs in with the potatoes and carrots – and while there’s something comforting about a traditional roast dinner, some of us want a bit more excitement during the colder part of the year.

For bright, in-your-face flavours full of deep umami savouriness and fiery heat, look no further than China. Soy sauce, oyster sauce and chilli oil are three store cupboard ingredients which can absolutely transform humdrum ingredients into flavourful masterpieces. If you’re getting weary of the classic flavours associated with Christmas, try serving the three dishes below on 25 December. Tradition is all well and good, but sometimes it’s fun to switch things up a little!

Tartare with a twist

Christmas is a time of luxury, so what better way to kick things off than with a beef tartare made with the best sirloin you can find? Once finely diced, it’s mixed with pickled ginger, pine nuts, spring onions, lime juice and chilli oil for a unique flavour profile. Topped with a soy-cured egg yolk, ribbons of salted turnip and deep-fried Jerusalem artichoke crisps, it’s a wonderful way to kick off the festivities in a completely new way.

A goose like no other

A whole roasted bird is a must at Christmas, and while turkey is the most popular choice, it’s hard to beat the decadence of a goose. Because of its bold, deliciously rich taste, it can stand up to other intense flavours incredibly well. Amp up the umami factor by brushing the skin with plenty of oyster sauce, which not only gives the meat a deeper flavour – it also helps the skin to crisp up beautifully. Roasted on a bed of chillies, garlic and onion swimming in chicken stock results in a wonderful gravy to serve with the bird, and whipping up a simple Brussels sprout slaw flavoured with chilli oil, sage, lime and soy sauce results in a fresh new take on the love-them-or-hate-them veg. The rest is up to you – go traditional with the trimmings, or serve the goose with steamed rice and seasonal greens.

Something completely different

If you’re after a starter which will be nothing like what your friends and family have had during the festive season before, look no further than this savoury egg custard. Eggs are mixed with vegetable stock and soy sauce, before being gently steamed in the oven until just set. They’re then topped with slivers of cod roe, a sweet maple syrup whipped cream and a drizzle of chilli oil. It might sound like a strange combination, but trust us, it works – the savouriness of the eggs and roe plays against the sweetness of the cream, with the heat of the chilli oil balancing everything out.

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Fire and umami: a very different Christmas dinner

 
 

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