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, I now fully embrace 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.

Last year, the boyfriend and I made an conscious decision to visit our local farmers market and pick up as many local ingredients as possible for our Thanksgiving meal. One of the items I picked up was holiday cranberry sauce from Stones Throw Farm Co. Personally, I find traditional cranberry sauce to be too sweet so I decided to dress up the cranberry sauce with my favorite spices including cumin, curry leaves and dried red chili for a little desi twist.

You can make cranberry sauce from scratch (recipe included below) or, use a store-bought cranberry sauce for making Desi Cranberry Sauce. You can also play with different spices such as mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and fennel as they pair beautifully with tart cranberries.

Tempering spices and garlic in littleoil 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.

The recipe I am sharing below makes about 2 cups but you can scale up or scale down the recipe as needed. Desi cranberry sauce can be stored for 7-10 days and used with your holiday meal, with grilled cheese, or on your cheese board.

Desi Cranberry Sauce

makes about 2 cups


For the cranberry sauce, you will need:

3/4-1 cup sugar (I only use 3/4 cup but use more if you prefer)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
4 cups (one 12-ounce package) fresh or frozen cranberries


  • You can also do 1 cup water instead of orange juice

  • Add orange peel to the mix if desired

For the Desi Cranberry Sauce, you will need:


2 cups of cranberry sauce
1 heaping tablespoon neutral oil such as canola oil, avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 fresh curry leaves
4 dried red chilies
salt and red chili powder, to taste


  • In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange juice and cranberries to the pot and return to a boil.

  • Lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring every now and then until cranberries start to burst.

  • Remove the saucepan from heat and let it cool. Cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

  • In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds to the pan, followed by sliced garlic. Fry until lightly browned.

  • Add fresh curry leaves and dried red chilies to the pan and stir everything. Add cranberry sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and red chili powder to taste.

  • Remove from heat and let it cool. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.

More recipes for your holiday table:

Small Batch Yorkshire Pudding

Fall Panzanella Salad

Dixya Bhattarai

Dixya Bhattarai

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