An Indian spin on the Christmas tree pull-apart bread

The holiday season is here, and I have an exciting idea for your holiday gatherings: Indian-style Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread! Yes, it isn’t your typical Instagram or Pinterest creation. It’s an Indian spin on the classic pull-apart cheese bread made by filling it with a spiced potato mixture, inspired by the popular Indian Batata Vada.

Indian-style Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread

Inspired by Maharashtrian Vada Pav

I think Christmas tree pull-apart bread is adorable and perfect for holiday parties and gatherings. It’s a quick and easy appetizer that undoubtedly serves as a stunning showstopper! The inspiration for my Indian-inspired Christmas tree pull-apart bread comes from the beloved Maharashtrian street food, Vada Pav.

Indian-style Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread

Vada a.k.a Batata Vada is a spiced mashed potato ball dipped in a thick spiced chickpea batter and deep-fried to a crispy golden perfection. It is then used as a stuffing for Pav, the Indian slider buns, turning it into an Indian version of the classic burger.

my quick and easy recipe

This delightful Indian-style pull-apart bread features a shape resembling a Christmas tree. The bread balls are generously stuffed with a flavorful spiced potato filling inspired by the beloved Maharashtrian deep-fried Batata Vada. The filling uses simple ingredients and can be made ahead of time! It stays fresh stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For the bread, I use a convenient store-bought shortcut, making it a hassle-free delight for the holiday season — Pillsbury Garlic Bread Pull Apart Kit that you can find in the refrigerated sections of most grocery stores. If you can’t find it, Pillsbury Pizza Crust can be used, cut into equal squares for the pull-apart cheese bread. Alternatively, homemade pizza dough or fresh store-bought options work equally well.

Get the whole family involved in making this festive treat, creating wonderful memories and having fun in the kitchen during the holiday season, especially with the kids.

Indian-style Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread

This easy recipe can be prepared in advance and baked just before serving. It’s equally enjoyable at room temperature, making it convenient to transport and perfect for bringing to potlucks as well.

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Indian-style Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread


  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: 24 1-inch diameter bread balls 1x

Description

An Indian-style Christmas tree pull-apart bread, made using store-bought refrigerated dough and stuffed with spiced potato filling inspired by Batata Vada.


Ingredients

Scale

The Filling (see Variations)

  • 1 large baking potato (Idaho or Russet potato recommended), boiled, peeled
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 12 tbsp neutral oil (canola, sunflower, corn, vegetable)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch asafetida
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp regular Indian red chili powder (optional – use 1/2 tsp or less if you prefer milder flavor)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 810 sprigs fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped, divided

Instructions

Making the Filling (see FAQs & Notes)

  • Mash the boiled potatoes slightly, leaving them a little chunky.
  • Heat oil in a deep sauté pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds along with the turmeric powder and pinch of asafoetida. When the seeds splutter, add the onion along with ginger and garlic and sauté for a few minutes till the onion is translucent.
  • Season with salt, red chili powder and garam masala. Give it a quick stir and let the spices bloom for 30 seconds. 
  • Then add the mashed potatoes, mix well and adjust seasonings. Add a little water, if it’s too thick and cook covered on low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Take it off the heat and mix in the chopped cilantro. Let it cool completely before using as a filling.

 

Making the Tree Bread

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C
  • Unroll the packaged dough onto a clean surface.
  • Use 2 of the perforated pieces at a time to make one bread ball.
  • Fold one piece over the other to merge into one thick piece.
  • Using your fingers, press to flatten and expand the size on all sides. 
  • Place about 1 teaspoon of the spiced potato filling in the center.
  • Pull the four corners of the dough and bring it together to cover the filling. Its okay if there are gaps.
  • Turn it over and place it onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Similarly, make the rest of the stuffed dough balls and line them onto the baking sheet in the shape of a triangle so it looks like a tree. Pro Tip: Start a new line by placing the prepared ball in the middle of the two balls from the row above.
  • Brush with 1 tablespoon of melted butter, reserving the remaining tablespoon to brush after baking.
  • Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
  • Take it out of the oven and brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
  • Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped cilantro/coriander.

Step-by-Step Details

Step: 1

To make the filling, mash the boiled potatoes slightly, leaving them a little chunky. Heat oil in a deep sauté pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds along with the turmeric powder and pinch of asafoetida. When the seeds splutter, add the onion along with ginger and garlic and sauté for a few minutes till the onion is translucent. Season with salt, red chili powder and garam masala. Give it a quick stir and let the spices bloom for 30 seconds.  Then add the mashed potatoes, mix well and adjust seasonings. Add a little water, if it's too thick and cook covered on low heat for about 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and mix in the chopped cilantro. Let it cool completely before using as a filling.

Step: 2

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Unroll the packaged dough onto a clean surface.

Step: 3

Use 2 of the perforated pieces at a time to make one bread ball.

Step: 4

Fold one piece over the other to merge into one thick piece.

Step: 5

Using your fingers, press to flatten and expand the size on all sides.

Step: 6

Place about 1 teaspoon of the spiced potato filling in the center.

Step: 7

Pull the four corners of the dough and bring it together to cover the filling. Its okay if there are gaps.

Step: 8

Turn it over and place it onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Step: 9

Similarly, make the rest of the stuffed dough balls and line them onto the baking sheet in the shape of a triangle so it looks like a tree. Pro Tip: Start a new line by placing the prepared ball in the middle of the two balls from the row above.

Step: 10

Brush with 1 tablespoon of melted butter, reserving the remaining tablespoon to brush after baking.

Step: 11

Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

Step: 12

Take it out of the oven and brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter.

Step: 13

Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped cilantro/coriander.

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

Can't find the refrigerated dough?!

If you can’t find Pillsbury Garlic Bread Pull Apart Kit or the Pillsbury Pizza Crust, homemade pizza dough or fresh store-bought options, can be used, cut into equal squares for the pull-apart cheese bread, work equally well!

Prep ahead!

You can make the filling ahead of time, it lasts in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Recipe Variations

Stir in peas and carrots in the filling for a boost of color and flavor.

Get creative with the filling. Use meat kheema or mushroom kheema or make a filling that you like – spinach and feta cheese, corn and cheese, etc.

Happy cooking
Vasanti

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



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