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Spice-glazed Goan style ham

One of the most special dishes to eat at Christmas in Goa, India is a small roasted piglet, marinated in Goan spices. Here, Chef Anjum has used the same spices to cook a Christmas ham and added an East-meets-West glaze that works so well (East-meets-West is actually a defining characteristic of Goan food). The ham is decorated with flaked almonds instead of the customary cloves and the crunch works really well and makes the ham feel special in its own way.



For the ham:

  • 8 large garlic cloves
  • 30 grams (2 tablespoons) finely grated root ginger (peeled weight)
  • 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 5 kilograms unsmoked, ready-soaked gammon joint (ideally bone-in)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 dried Indian bay leaf
  • 2 black cardamom pods (optional)

For the glaze:

  • 150 grams (generous 1/2 cup) jaggery or light muscovado sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon roast and ground cumin seeds
  • 2 rounded teaspoon garam masala (fresh if possible)
  • 3 teaspoon finely grated root ginger (peeled)
  • 3 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Large handful of flaked (slivered) almonds (optional)


  1. Start with the ham. Blend together the garlic, ginger, vinegar and powdered spices until smooth.
  2. Place the gammon in a pot large enough to hold it comfortably. Add enough water to cover the joint. Bring to the boil, then skim off any scum that forms. Once the water is clear, add the spice blend, onion, bay leaf and black cardamom, if using. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes per 500 grams  depending on your joint. In this case cook for three hours 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 68°C (155°F). Lift the ham out of the water and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together the ingredients for the glaze. It should be thick enough to hold its form, but easily spreadable.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.
  5. Slice the skin but not the fat off the joint, using a sharp knife. Place in a roasting tray, adding about two centimeters of the cooking liquor. Brush just over half of the glaze over the top and place in the oven. Bake for 20–30 minutes or until beautiful and golden, basting every eight to ten minutes or so with the pan juices. Sprinkle over the almonds and, once they brown, take out. Tent with foil and leave to rest as you make a light sauce.
  6. Heat up the rest of the glaze with a large splash or two of the roasting tray juices and bring to the boil. Allow to bubble, thicken a little and darken; it should be a bit thicker than a jus but not too thick. Taste and serve with the ham.

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