Eid’s no simple bite

2010-09-03 16:29

This week Muslims across the globe celebrate Eid ul Fitr. The celebration marks the end of a month-long dry fast during Ramadan, which is signified by the sighting of a new crescent moon in the evening of the last day of the fast.

The fast is meant to provide a closer spiritual connection to God by means of sacrificing, and is also a way to ask for forgiveness. During the month of Ramadan, special focus is given to charity and prayer.

The morning of Eid is usually spent in prayer before observers of the fast greet each other ­according to their respective ­traditions.

Some Muslims also visit the graveyard to pay homage to the dead.

Another important aspect of Eid ul Fitr lies in the distribution of charity on the day.

It can either be in the form of cash or basic foodstuff, which is distributed to those in need.

The festival of Eid is also meant to foster brotherhood and strengthen relationships, as people visit each other on the day of festivity.

Friends, relatives, neighbours and loved ones are greeted and offered sweets. Gifts are given to children, mostly in the form of money.

Generally, families and friends spend the day together rejoicing through delicacies and a variety of meals.

From breakfast, all the way to dinner and everything in- ­between, eating is a big part of the celebration.

While meals may vary from one household to the next, there are often common dishes which can generally be found being passed around on Eid.

Here are three of the more popular ones:

Mutton Biryani

»?1/2kg mutton (cleaned and cut into pieces)
»?2 cups basmati rice
»?Garlic flakes
»?3 tsp coriander powder
»?Dried coconut
»?1 cinnamon stick
»?3 green chillies
»?1 tsp chilli powder
»?1 cup chopped onion
»?1 piece ginger
»?1 tsp poppy seeds
»?3 cardamom pods
»?1 cup clarified butter
»?2 bay leaves
»?8 tbsp sunflower oil
Season to taste


Marinate the meat in the ­clarified butter in a bowl.

Roast the cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves.

Make a fine powder.

Grind the ginger, red chillies, green chillies, half the onions, garlic and dried kernel of the coconut.

Heat the oil in a pan.

Add chopped onions and ground spices.

Fry until onions turn golden brown. Add meat and fry well.

Add poppy seed powder. Add salt and the ­remaining curd. Cook until meat becomes tender.

Add spices to it and remove from the flame.

Fry the rest of the onions in a separate pan.

Add the cloves and bay leaf.

Fry and add rice.

Add salt to taste and double the quantity of water.

Remove from the flame when rice is cooked and no moisture is left.

Sprinkle saffron water over some of the rice.

Place the meat over it and cover with more rice.

Garnish with fried onions.

Grilled prawns

»?1kg prawns
»?125g butter
»?10ml crushed garlic
»?1 tbsp tomato paste
»?5ml red chili pepper flakes
»?1/2 tsp black pepper
»?25ml mayonnaise
»?25ml chilli sauce
»?15ml lemon juice


Wash and de-vein the prawns but retain the shell for flavour. Dry the prawns well.

Melt the butter and add the garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients to the butter mixture ­except prawns.

Marinate the prawns in half of this marinade for several hours.

Place the prawns in an oven tray and grill until done on 180°C, tossing them regularly.

Heat the rest of the marinade until thick then pour some of the sauce over the grilling prawns, and use the rest as a dip.

Serve hot.

Masala Roast Chicken

Ingredients :
»?1kg chicken
»?1 cup sliced onions
»?½ cup oil
»?2cm ginger
»?1 tbsp grated coconut
»?2 green chillies
»?2 tbsp, chopped coriander
»?½ tsp peppercorns
»?2 cardamom pods
»?3cm piece of a cinnamon stick
»?½ tsp chilli powder
»?½ cup clarified butter
»?salt to taste

Clean the chicken and wipe it dry.

Fry the onion slices in hot oil until they are brown and crisp.

Drain and reserve. Grind all the ingredients – from ginger to chilli powder – to a smooth paste.

Combine this paste with melted butter, salt and fried onions.

Rub some of this mixture inside the chicken.

Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.

Place the chicken in a baking dish. Cook in a 180°C oven, brushing regularly with the oil in which onions were fried.

Turn the chicken once. Serve hot with roti.

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