Kuswar is the traditional mouthwatering sweets and savories prepared as part of Chrismas celebrations by us Mangaloreans. Kuswar delicacies, having mainly the local flavor, could number over twenty varieties.
Let me give a brief introduction to some of the kuswar recipes. My favourite among the kuswar is Kokkisam or rose cookies having a thin layered flowery looks. A must in the kuswar plate, Kokkisam is my first preparation as it can be stored for many days. Next is Sweetish Kideos or Kulkuls which get their name because of their shape (Kideo literally mean worms, but forget the meaning). Kideos can be prepared as plain or can be sugar coated. Well, I like the plain ones.
Coming to Savories, we prepare the all time favourite banana chips or patecams as called in konkani, which are prepared from kerala Nendra bananas, Others in the plate are Chakkulis pepared with rice or moongdal,sheme,karrakadis and not to forget my favourite tukkudies.
Among sweets, varieties of ladoos like rice ladoos, teel ladoos, besan ladoos and rava ladoos, banana halwa, Goan special perad, coconut burfi, Mangalore special macroons also fill and decorate the Kuswar tray. More motivated people also prepare manni and mandas as part of Kuswar preparations.
However what completes the Kuswar is the plum cake enriched with rum soaked candied fruit, plums, currents and raisins. Though cumbersome and takes a long time to prepare, none of it counts when you finally get it right.
Kuswar is not only the ladies affair but all family members including children and men join hands in preparation. There is a feeling of unity and oneness in the family as the work gets distributed and finished faster. The beauty of Kuswar is that these delicacies are prepared and shared with friends and neighbours irresepective of religion and social status. The love and peace of Christmas thus truly shared and made meaningful.