Creamy seviyan with loads of dry fruits hidden inside, smoky succulent kebabs, fragrant biryanis and curries — the dastarkhan (traditional tablecloth), laid out on Eid ul Fitr, is always lavish. The festival gives you a tempting excuse to toss your diet plans out of the window and indulge in a hearty treat. We have three food enthusiasts from different states sharing the traditional family recipe of their favourite Eid delicacy. So, burn those calorie charts and let your taste buds loose to savour these authentic treats topped with a dollop of tradition.
By Nilofar Wani,party regular
1/2 kg mutton
1 kg yoghurt
1 tsp fennel seeds (sauf)
3 tbsp ghee
2 cinnamon stick
Salt to taste
Boil mutton in 5 cups of water, salt and fennel seeds. In a pan, fry onion till it turns brown. Blend the onion by adding some water in a blender. In a separate pan, put ghee and add yoghurt, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Keep stirring and bring to boil. Now add fried onion paste to the mixture. Keep cooking without covering to reduce volume to half. Add this yoghurt mix to the mutton. Cook, mix well and serve piping hot along with rice.
‘Eid was always a grand affair’
Back home in Kashmir, Nilofar would start preparing for Eid weeks in advance. There used to be huge shamianas where dastarkhans would be laid out for dinner. “Our waza (head cook) would cook for some 50-70 people that included family and neighbours. The menu used to be lavish — Rista gushtaba, mirchi korma, seviyan, meethe chawal and many other dishes that we would wash down with kahwa prepared in samovar (brass kettles),” she recalls.
Hyderabadi veg biryani
400 gm long Basmati Rice;
250 gm carrots; 250 gm potatoes; 150 gm onions; 3 green chilies; 40 gm ginger; 30 gm
garlic; 1 tsp chili powder; 1/2 tsp turmeric powder; 1/2 cup yoghurt; 1 tsp saffron; 1 tsp kewra; 2 tbsp milk; 60 gm cashews; 30 gm raisins; 150 gm ghee
Salt to taste
Whole garam masala:
1 tbs cumin seeds; 1 tsp black peppercorns; 5 cloves; 1 tbs coriander seeds; 1/2 tsp fennel seeds; 1/2 tsp cardamom;
2 cinnamon stick; 2 bay leaves
Soak rice for 20 mins. In a vessel, put rice, water, half whole spices and salt. Cook until the rice is done. Drain water. Now, cut potatoes and carrots into small cubes. Beat yoghurt in a bowl and divide in two parts. Dissolve saffron in milk and mix in one portion of beaten yoghurt and keep aside. Heat ghee in a vessel, add the remaining whole spices and fry until spices crackle. Now add onions and fry until golden brown. Add chopped chilies, ginger, garlic and stir. Add turmeric, chili powder and chopped vegetables. Add the leftover portion of yoghurt. Add 2/3 cup water and let the vegetables cook. Mix dry fruits. In the handi containing cooked veggies, add saffron flavoured curd and coriander. Spread half of the rice and sprinkle the remaining curd. Layer with remaining rice. Cover with lid and seal edges with atta dough. Place the handi on dum and cook for 15 min on low heat. Do not open the lid for 15 min after biryani is cooked . Serve hot with mint raita.
'The house smelt of mogras on Eid'
Nilofar Currimbhoy’s fondest memories of Eid are of celebrating the festival at her grandmother’s place in Hyderabad. “All the hundred rooms of Rahat Manzil — my granny’s house would be lit up with beautiful chandeliers, and there would be mogra curtains on each door. Grand-mom personally supervised the grand feast that would be made by our khansama,” she recalls. The meal would be typically Hyderabadi — mirchi ka salan, murghi korma, kachche gosht ki biryani and an array of desserts.
Lucknawi Kimami Seviyan
By Nida Mahmood, fashion designer
1 kg seviyan
1/3 litre milk
1 kg khoya
Sugar according to taste
Dry fruits and chandi ka warq
(silver leaf) to decorate
For sugar syrup: Put 1 cup of water in a deep pan and boil. Add sugar and keep stirring and boiling until the syrup reduces and forms a thick, sticky consistency. Crush seviyan into bits. Roast a little in very little oil, till it is bright red. Add grounded cardamom and stir for a while on low flame.
To this, add a cup of boiled milk and little bits of khoya and roast further in several successions. Once all the ingredients blend in, add sugar syrup according to taste and keep stirring till it mixes well. Now, add pre-soaked chopped dry fruits. Stir for a few minutes on low flame. Keep the seviyan on low flame for a few minutes with the lid closed. Once off flame,garnish with silver warq and chopped dry fruits.
‘Eidi made Eid sweeter for me’
Nida Mahmood recalls how her close and extended family would get together for the festival and the celebrations would never seem to cease. “There would be several feasts in everybody’s homes for days at a stretch,” she recalls. What excited the kids the most was the Eidi — a tradition where the elders would give money and gifts to the younger lot. “Memories of shopping for clothes and gifts brings a smile every time I think about Eid,” says Nida.