As the holiday season approaches, kitchens come alive with the hustle and bustle of Christmas dinner preparations. Families and friends gather to create (or indeed indulge in) something magical, more than just dishes: new memories.

Embodying Christmas’ spirit of giving, we have asked several of Jakarta’s most prominent chefs to share personal Christmas recipes, and the stories that surround them. May this serve as inspiration for your own Christmas meals this season, an invitation to create new meals and thus new memories in your own homes! Of course, if cooking’s not your thing, you’ll know where to go out for dinner if you’re after a special Christmas meal.

Download the complete Ingredient Lists & Detailed Recipes here

1. Slow Baked Lamb Leg by Chef Gilles Marx (AMUZ Gourmet)

Chef Gilles Marx from AMUZ Gourmet

Since the opening of AMUZ Gourmet Restaurant in 2010, Chef Gilles has consistently earned accolades and acknowledgments for his outstanding culinary creations. With over three decades of culinary experience, Chef Gilles still stands close to his Alsacean roots. This is proven when he shared with us his own beloved Christmas feast: ‘Slow Baked Lamb Leg’. 

It is a dish that’s deeply rooted in family tradition, one that his grandmother and mother always made for Christmas. Growing up in the countryside of France, where the residents had direct access to organic lambs from their own farm, the freshness of the ingredients are very crucial, as they elevate the flavours of this Christmas dish. So, make sure to get the freshest ingredients if you can! 

Chef Gilles' Lamb Leg

In this recipe, a whole lamb leg is prepared by making incisions and inserting garlic cloves. Then the lamb is seasoned with a mix of Dijon mustard, and aromatic herbs and then roasted until it achieves a golden-brown perfection. Rest the lamb before carving, and serve with natural jus and garlic confit from the roasting process. Make the sauce to serve the lamb with by deglazing the roasting tray with water or stock to enhance the flavour. 

This dish is accompanied by several side dishes. First is the sautéed French beans; start by blanching them, then sautéing baby shallots in butter with parsley. The beans and cherry tomatoes are added, seasoned, and heated through until cooked well. For the Provencal tomatoes, halved and baked with a crunchy breadcrumb mix, this side dish will add a burst of Mediterranean zest to the meal. Lastly, the garlic herbed roasted potatoes are boiled, then roasted in butter until golden brown. In the final minute, chopped garlic and parsley are added, coating the potatoes in a garlic-herb butter before serving.

2. Rotolo di Spinaci e Ricotta by Executive Chef Claudio Rossi (Park Hyatt Jakarta)

Despite his 40 years of experience in the culinary world, conquering hotels from Manila, Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei, Chiang Mai to Toronto and Damascus– it seems that Chef Claudio Rossi still believes that nothing beats a mother’s cooking. We have been so lucky to receive not just a recipe for a dish, but a legacy. 

‘Rotolo di Spinaci e Ricotta’ is a family heirloom passed down from his mother, Pia. This recipe has travelled across continents as Chef Claudio always makes it for Christmas with his loved ones, wherever he might be at the time. This dish embodies the essence of celebrating love, tradition, and joy through cooking with family and friends. 

Rotolo di Spinaci e Ricotta by Chef Claudio Rossi

This recipe crafts a flavorful Italian pasta roll filled with a mix of sautéed spinach, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan. To begin, a dough comprising flour, whole eggs, and egg yolks is prepared and rolled into thin sheets. The filling is made by sautéing spinach with butter, onions, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and then combining it with ricotta and Parmesan, and is spread evenly over the pasta sheets. These sheets are rolled into a log, boiled in salted water, and sliced into rings. After the rotolo is then cut and served, a creamy sauce made with sage, butter, cream, salt and pepper is poured over the pasta rings and sprinkled with grated parmesan. Best served while still warm, of course!

3. Mauritian Lamb Roast Leg by Executive Chef Yogesh Kevin Rambhujun (LDS Lifestyle Group)

Chef Kevin Yogesh’s culinary roots are deeply embedded in the vibrant culture of his homeland, Mauritius. His experience as a chef has taken him to Australia, UAE (Dubai) and now to the diverse culinary landscape of Jakarta. Yet to him, nothing beats the taste of home. Chef Kevin has very generously shared with us his “Mauritian Lamb Roast Leg” recipe– a family tradition from coastal East Africa, passed down through generations. This Lamb Roast is a labourof love for the family that carries fond memories, where everyone must take part. From marinating the meat on the day before Christmas, to waking up very early the next morning and roasting the lamb in a clay/dutch oven in the backyard to cook. The entire clan then attend church, to pray for a prosperous life (and a perfectly cooked lamb) and finally marching home to the awaiting feast.

The recipe begins by marinating a 1.8kg lamb leg with a mixture of olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, Dijon mustard, and various ground spices. After 24 hours of marination, the lamb is seared to a golden brown in a hot pan. It is then transferred to a baking tray, covered, and roasted in a preheated 180°C oven for 1 hour. The roasting process involves covering the lamb with foil for the first hour, then uncovering it, basting with its own juices, and adding a variety of prepared vegetables and herbs to the baking tray. The dish continues roasting for an additional 25-30 minutes until the lamb reaches the desired doneness and the vegetables turn tender. 

To complement the roast, a rich gravy is made using the cooking juices, chopped sage, and chicken or lamb stock. For a thicker consistency, a slurry of flour or cornstarch mixed with water can be added to the simmering juices. The lamb is then carved, arranged with the roasted vegetables, garnished with fresh rosemary, and served hot.The dish is traditionally prepared in a Dutch oven inside a wood clay oven for two hours, imparting a delightful char and crisp texture.

4. The Grinch Cake by Pastry Chef Ketut Suyarsa & Pastry Consultant Chef Kim Pangestu (InterContinental Jakarta Pondok Indah)

Pastry Chef Ketut Suyarsa is a very passionate patissier who embarked his culinary journey in 2008, with his talent and dedication he has climbed the ranks and showcased his unwavering commitment to the art of patisserie. Now, he is a prominent figure at the InterContinental Jakarta Pondok Indah. Along with Pastry Consultant Chef Kim Pangestu, they have come up with a very creative sweet treat inspired by the infamous Christmas character, The Grinch. “The Grinch Cake” consists of several components that will be assembled into one delectable sweet delight.

To start, there’s the Midori White Chocolate Mousse, prepared by dissolving gelatine in a warm blend of Midori Liqueur, sugar, and rum. Whipped cream and green food colouring are delicately folded in, creating a vibrant, flavorful mousse. The Passion Fruit Curd follows, a mix of passion fruit puree, sugar, eggs, and butter, cooked to perfection and set with gelatine. 

The dessert’s foundation is a Joconde Sponge, baked by combining eggs, almond meal, icing sugar, and melted butter, whipped into a smooth batter and baked into thin circles. These sponge layers are alternated with the mousse and curd. Additionally, a crisp Sable provides a crunch and is made of flour, salt, icing sugar, cold butter, and egg, cut into circles and baked until golden. Lastly, the cake is adorned with a vibrant Green Glaze, a glossy mixture of water, sugar, glucose, gelatine, white chocolate, condensed milk, neutral glaze, and green food colouring, creating a visually striking finish. The final assembly involves layering the components, garnishing with Sable cookies and decorations, to resemble The Grinch.

Dinda Mulia

Dinda Mulia

Dinda is an avid explorer of art, culture, diplomacy and food. She is also a published poet and writer at NOW!Jakarta.