Desi Cranberry Sauce

Desi Cranberry Sauce is a spicier take on traditional cranberry sauce. Layered with spices like cumin, curry leaves, garlic, and chili powder, you can enjoy desi cranberry sauce with your traditional holiday meals or use as a spread/condiment for crackers, cheeseboard, and more.

Desi is a word used to describe the people, cultures, and products of the Indian subcontinent and their diaspora.

Growing up in Nepal, I did not celebrate thanksgiving but being in the US for over a decade now, I have fully embraced this holiday in my own way. I love the idea of getting together with families/friends/neighbors to share a meal and be grateful for all things big and little. The boyfriend comes from a family who are big into thanksgiving and it’s been lovely learning about thanksgiving traditions and adding our own twists along the way.

Personally, I find traditional cranberry sauce to be too sweet so a couple of years ago, I purchased cranberry sauce at our local farmers market from Stone’s Throw Farm and decided to add a little desi twist with spices/seasonings from my pantry. You can make cranberry sauce from scratch or use your favorite store-bought cranberry sauce to make desi cranberry sauce.

Tempering spices and garlic in little oil makes the cranberry sauce more savory and add a great depth of flavor which I really enjoy. I hope you will add desi cranberry sauce to your holiday table this year. Use the recipe below as a guide and adapt the spices to your liking.

Desi Cranberry Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

2 tablespoon canola oil (or any neutral oil like grapeseed, avocado)

1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced into half
4-5 curry leaves
few dried red chilies
1 cup cranberry sauce (homemade or storebought)

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (add more to your taste)
salt, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a medium size skillet over low-medium heat.

  2. Add cumin seed and sliced garlic to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes until garlic turns slightly brown in color. Then, add curry leaves and dried red chilies. The mixture should have a lovely aroma of garlic, curry leaves and slightly smoky from dried chilies.

  3. Add cranberry sauce into the pan and stir everything together. Season with chili powder and salt to taste. Cook for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat.

  4. Once cooled, transfer into an airtight container and store in the fridge.

Dixya Bhattarai

Dixya Bhattarai

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