Sunday, 5 October 2014

The lip smacking tastes of Eid

It wouldn't be an overstatement to say the festivities of Eid-ul-Adha revolve around the dining table. From succulent lamb kebabs roasted over hot charcoals, platefuls of platefuls of biryani, mutton kandahari, shahi mutton qorma... an assortment of mouth-watering indulgences dominate the three-day long festivities.

Exotic flavours

Tradition dictates the goat, sheep or the animal of one's choice that's been sacrificed to be divided into three portions -one each for the family, friends and relatives and the poor. Homemakers begin stocking up on the seasonings and accompaniments days in advance. Zaitun Bano, a 45 year-old teacher residing at Banjara Hills, shares, "I started buying the spices required for my Bakrid cooking, days in advance. The right proportion of spice and the heat is what makes a dish stand out. I am going to prepare Sindhi biryani that has its origins in Pakistan. Dollops of yoghurt are used to marinate the mutton to help keep the taaseer (effect) cool on the stomach. I am going to cook Kandhari gosht the second day as we are expecting many guests. The mutton is cooked in pomegranate juice mixed with special herbs and condiments."

Bread time

While biryani accompanied by kebabs is ubiquitous on Eid, many love dipping chunks of breads of their choice - shirmal, nihari -in the shorba (curry) or simply stuff chunks of kebabs in the shirmal. Mehboob Ali, who runs a bakery in Masab Tank, informs, "Many have bought the usual shirmals, but they also took pita bread, garlic bread and multi-grain bread for Eid."

Mehnaaz Shibli, a resident of Ameerpet, has an array of dishes that go well with bread.She shares, "I am going to make nargisi koftas (boiled eggs wrapped in kheema and then fried) with garlic bread topped with dollops of cheese.It is still hot in the city so, I am going to prepare rezala, a mutton dish cooked with lots of yoghurt, juices of onion, garlic, green chilies and ginger and a bouquet garni. I will be serving it with pita bread for a change, and not the usual fried parathas."

Crazy kebabs

Eid-ul-Azha definitely is not about chicken, and most of the households grill, fry and roast the mutton kebabs. The most popular is seekh kebab marinated with spices and roasted over hot charcoals. In most households verandahs, balconies or rooftops double up as kebab corners as it's convenient to let out the smoke. However, those having gardens in their homes clearly have an edge. "We are going to grill kebabs. I am also going to make chaapli kebabs, shaami kebabs and gilawati kebabs. My plan is to serve the platter with a variety of dips and salads. Hummus is my favourite," informs Shaheen Ahmed Ali who has just shift ed to her Murad Nagar house after spending two decades in the Middle East.

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