Biryani, kebabs, sheer mal, kheer: Here are a few recipes that you can enjoy this Eid ul-Fitr
Marking an end to the Holy month of Ramadan, Eid festivities are in full swing, albeit in a subdued manner this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Eid al-Fitr means ‘festival of breaking the fast’ and it marks the end of 30-day Ramadan. Just like Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr starts with the sighting of the new moon, and Muslims around the world await to sight the crescent moon on Ramadan 29 or Ramadan 30 to be sure of the date. The dates for Ramadan and Eid change as per the Islamic calendar. Eid is not just a time for celebrations and feasts, but also a time when one remembers Allah and thank him for all his blessings. Zakat (charity) is offered on Eid as well as throughout Ramadan, so that we get the opportunity to share our joys with those who are less fortunate.
Food is one thing that binds everyone amid festivities globally. Family and friends get together, cook traditional recipes, and enjoy the feast with all their near and dear ones. From biryani, to kebabs, sheer mal and kheer, here are a few recipes that you can make to celebrate the festival.
Biryani is derived from the Persian word Birian, meaning ‘fried before cooking’. There are multiple theories about how biryani came to India, after having originated in Western Asia.
One legend has it that Timur, the Turk-Mongol conqueror, brought the precursor to the biryani with him when he arrived in India in 1398. An earthen pot full of rice, spices and all available meats would be buried in a hot pit. This was then dug up and served to the warriors in Timur’s army.
Another legend has it that the dish was first brought to the southern Malabar coast by Arab traders who were frequent visitors there. Records of a rice dish known as Oon Soru in Tamil literature have been found dating back to as early as the year 2 A.D. Oon Soru is said to be made of rice, ghee, meat, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and bay leaf, and was used to feed military warriors.
However, the most popular story traces the origins of Biryani Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan’s beautiful queen who inspired the Taj Mahal.
Traditionally, the dum pukht method (slow breathing oven in Persian) of cooking biryani used. In this method, the ingredients are loaded in a pot and slow cooked over charcoal, sometimes also placed on the top of the vessel to allow the dum or steam to blend all the flavours together. The pot is sealed around the edges with dough (atta) which allows the steaming meat to tenderise in its own juices while also flavouring the layers of rice.
Meat or chicken is often the main ingredient in biryani, although in some coastal varieties, fish, prawns, and crabs are also used. Vegetarians too have options such as mixed veggies, soya chunks in a veg biryani. Use of rose water, sweet edible ittar and kewra water is still prevalent in biryani cooking since the medieval era.
Mughlai biryani, Hyderabadi biryani, Calcutta biryani, Dindigul biryani, Lucknowi biryani, Arcot biryani, Memoni biryani, Thalassery biryani, Kampuri biryani, Tahari biryani, Beary biryani, Sindhi biryani, Bhatkali biryani, Bombay biryani, Doodh ki biryaniare the varieties that are cooked in India across regions.
Almond Mixed Grain Biryani
1/2 cup Barley washed & drained, 1/2 cup Brown rice, washed & drained, 1/2 cup Pearl Millet, washed & drained, 2 tsp Ghee, 1 tsp Garlic, Chopped, 1 tbsp Ginger, Chopped, 1 tsp Green Chilli, Chopped, 1/2 cup Baby carrots, diced 1/4 cup Onion red, sliced, 1/2 tsp Salt to Taste Black Pepper, Crushed, 7 cups Vegetable stock, 1 tsp Cumin seeds , 1½ tsp Chopped Coriander, 1½ tsp Chopped Spring Onion, 1/4 cup Almonds
Heat ghee in a large dutch oven/pot over medium heat. Add cumin seeds & bay leaf. As it crackles add onion, green chilli, garlic & ginger; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add carrots. Raise heat to medium-high, and cook, until carrots are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in all of the grains and cook for 12 minutes. Stir in stock; bring to a boil.
Add almonds. Cover the pot, and put in oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 180 degree celsius (check after 30 minutes; remove lid and cook a little longer if grains need to be softer). Fold in chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy The Almond Board of California
Chicken Shami Kebab
1 cup chana dal, 500 gram chicken thigh (boneless cubes), 2 tsp coriander whole, 7 cloves (laung), 10 clack pepper (whole), 2 small Cinnamon sticks, 1 tbsp red chilli (crushed), 7 pieces dry red chili (whole), 2 tbsp Salt, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp carom seeds (ajwain), 6 eggs, Coriander leaves (chopped), Mint leaves, (chopped), 6 green chilies, 1 tbsp ginger, 10 cloves garlic (Chopped), Oil (For frying)
Boil the chana dal along with the chicken thigh cubes and spices. Let the chicken cook. Strain and keep aside to cool. Then add 3 eggs, chopped coriander, mint, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Mix well and mince. Make round shape kebabs of the mixture. Coat the kebabs in the remaining eggs slightly, and pan fry them in oil.
Sheermal, a saffron-flavored traditional flatbread
3 cups maida, 1 cup milk, 2 tbsp extra milk, 1 tsp sugar, ¾ cup ghee and salt to taste and saffron strands.
Soak saffron strands in milk. Mix the flour, salt, sugar and add melted ghee. Rub in the ghee, add a little milk to knead a soft dough. Cover and keep aside for 2 hours. Knead again and keep aside for 2 hours. Roll into 6 inches round and ¼ inches thick and prick all over. Cool on a tawa over high heat and then lower to cook some more. Smear milk solution, cooking it a little and serve with ghee.
Almond and makhana kheer
2 cups Full cream milk, 4 tbsp sugar, ½ tsp Green cardamom powder, a pinch of Saffron strands, ½ cup Almond slivers, 1 cup Makhana (fox nuts), 2 tbsp Ghee
Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan, roast makhana and almond sliver till they are golden.
Heat milk and saffron strands in a heavy bottomed pan and bring it to a boil; keep stirring the milk, so that it does not sticks at the bottom.
Add the sugar to the milk, and mix well.
Add the whole makhana to the milk. Add the almond slivers to the mixture.
Keep cooking the mixture till the makhana becomes softs and milk thickens a bit.
Serve the kheer hot or chilled. Top it with roasted almond sliver and chopped roasted makhana.
Recipe courtesy The Almond Board of California
Sheer sewai or Sewaiyan kheer
250 grams roasted vermicelli, 4 tbsp ghee, 750 ml milk, 400 grams sugar, 1/2 tsp saffron strands (soaked in 1 tbsp of water), 100 grams khoya (crumbled), 2 tbsp raisins, 1 tbsp pistachio, 1 tbsp almond slivers, roasted, 2 tbsp cashew nuts, to decorate silver leaf
Fry vermicelli in hot ghee. Pour in milk. Allow it to simmer for two minutes. Add sugar and continue cooking until sugar dissolves. Stir in saffron, khoya, raisins and nuts. Decorate with silver leaf, remaining saffron and dried fruit. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.