This recipe is as much about my Malaysian heritage as it is a celebration of Christmas in Australia. Like Australia, Malaysia is warm and sunny in December, and mangoes and chillies are plentiful. In south-east Asia mangoes and chillies are frequently teamed in savoury dishes. This is how the delicious glaze with rum and local honey was born. In Malaysia, we serve ham with salads and a host of condiments. I believe this tomato and mango sambal is the perfect accompaniment.
1 free-range leg ham, about 9kg
whole cloves for studding
1 large mango (about 600g), peeled and chopped
1 fresh red cayenne chilli, chopped
½ tsp chilli powder
½ cup white wine or water
2 tbsp dark rum
1 tbsp honey or to taste
Tomato and mango sambal
1kg tomatoes, sliced
2 mangoes, peeled and cubed
1 red onion, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp sugar
salt and pepper
chopped coriander to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional).
2. Put glaze ingredients in a jug and blitz with a hand-held blender until smooth. Set aside.
3. Remove the ham skin and score the surface of the ham fat into a diamond pattern using a small knife. Do not cut into the meat. Stud a clove into the middle of each diamond. Brush the mango-chilli glaze generously over the ham. Place ham in a roasting dish and pour over any remaining glaze.
4. Roast ham on lowest shelf of oven for about 1½ hours, basting occasionally with the glaze in the roasting dish until the glaze is lightly caramelised. Using a meat thermometer, test that the internal temperature has reached 65C.
5. When the ham has warmed through, remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving hot (or allow to come back to room temperature).
6. While the ham is resting, make the sambal. Toss all the ingredients together gently in a bowl and set aside for 15 minutes. Just before serving, add chopped coriander.
7. Serve the ham with tomato and mango sambal.
The wine match
Sutton Grange 2021 Fairbank Field Blend
Bendigo, VIC, $35, 12.5 per cent alcohol
There's an undeniable mango undercurrent to winemaker Melanie Chester's blend of white grape varieties viognier and fiano. The aromatics hit first; lemon zest and exotic tropical flowers encountered on a summer holiday. There's plenty of skin contact-induced texture and just a hint of salty ocean spray. A wallflower it ain't. The fresh, gutsy explosion makes for a fitting accompaniment to a flavour-packed Malaysian spin on the classic Christmas ham. Serve it icy cold and observe the flavours shift and change as the sun hits your glass. suttongrange.com.au
The wild card
Woolshed Brewery, Utopia Pink Lemonade
Riverland, SA, $8 a can, 8.1 per cent alcohol
This hard lemonade deserves a place on the table and is a great option for pals who shy away from wine. Think of it more like a bubbly white wine spritzer. It's beautifully executed and was made in South Australia's citrus wonderland. The ruby grapefruit steals the show (though grapes made their way in here too). The head-snapping tang is life affirming. Fill a glass with ice, pour it over, embrace the sediment (thanks to the real fleshy fruit used) and help yourself to another slice of salty, relish-topped ham. It's a winning combo. wilkadene.com.au