The festival of Eid has finally arrived after a month-long wait and everyone’s looking forward to the grand celebrations and more importantly, the lavish feast that is enjoyed to mark the end of Ramadan. This year, Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated on 26th June, 2017. Eid al-Fitr is different from Eid al-Adha where, as a ritual, a lamb or a goat is sacrificed and shared with friends, family and the needy. On the other hand, Eid al-Fitr commemorates the end of the month-long fasting period and is popularly known as the Meethi Eid reflecting the significance of sweet treats. It is not surprising that food is central to all our celebration turning them into elaborate family feasts. Here are six quintessential Eid delights that the festival would be incomplete without.
1. Sheer Kurma
Seviyan and dates hold an importance place in the rituals of Eid. It is believed that Prophet Mohammad ended his fasts with three dates while the festival is almost synonymous with seviyan. Sheer means milk and Khurma refers to the dates. This essentially a type of rich kheer sweetened with dates and dried fruits that make it into a thick pudding. People usually enjoy this lovely dessert first thing in the morning after the first namaz (prayer) of the day on Eid.
Sheer Kurma by Chef Niru Gupta
2. Hyderabadi Dum Biryani
Interestingly, the biryani is believed to have originated in Persia but every part of our country boasts of its own delicious variety. Fragrant and robust, biryani is a dish of celebration bursting with succulent meat, spices and aged Basmati rice cooked over slow flame (dum) for hours till all the flavours are soaked in.
Hyderabadi Dum Biryani by Chef Hussain
Haleem is another festive favourite. It is believed that the Haleem was created back in the 10 century by the Arabs who called it the Harisah and they introduced this popular dish to the Nizam’s soldiers in Hyderabad. Meat pieces, broken wheat and lentils are blended with warm spices and also cooked for hours on slow fire. It is finally transformed into thick gravy which is garnished with sweet, fried onions and enjoyed with Moti Roti. It is full of protein, fiber and carbs and provides all the nutrition that your body needs after a daylong fast. If you want to give it an interesting spin, you could use the Haleem to make kebabs that can be served as a great snack.
Haleem Ke Kebab by Chef Arun Sundararaj, The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi
4. Nalli Nihari
Nihari is the star of Eid, and just like Sheer Kurma, it makes for a memorable breakfast on the festive day. Rumoured to have its origins somewhere in the lanes of Old Delhi, it became popular during the Mughal Era. The flavoursome stew is cooked with tender mutton pieces and the bone marrow which is known as Nalli. You’ll enjoy it the best with Varqi Paratha made with desi ghee.
Recipe of Nihari Gosht
5. Keema Samosa
While India enjoys hearty meat curries, Middle Eastern countries are known for their love for crisp delights. This is why you will notice a lot of use of pastry in their snacks. You may have not known this but our favourite tea-time snack, Samosa was actually invented in the Middle East where it was known as Sambosa or Samsa back then. It is believed that it either traveled with traders to India or was introduced by Middle Eastern Chefs to the rulers of Delhi. Browned pastry is loaded with a spiced keema mix and is usually served as an Iftar snack.
Keema Samosa with Yogurt Dip by Jitendra Kumar, Lake Palace Hotel
Another Middle Eastern delight, layer of delicate and flaky pastry are soaked in flavoured sugar syrup and stuffed with almonds and pistachios. Bakhlava is a delicacy when it comes to Eid sweets. Although the history of Baklava is debatable but its association with Eid is has been credited to the Sultan of Istanbul who presented trays of baklava to the Janissaries on the 15th day in the month of Ramadan in a ceremonial procession.
Bakhlava by Chef Joey Matthew
Each one of these treats holds a special place during Eid festivities, make them at home to celebrate your day. Eid Mubarak!