Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ramadan Special- Eid Menu

The holy month of Ramadan is going on . On the 30th day of fasting with the appearance of moon in the sky Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid-ul-fitr.
India is all set to Celebrate it with pomp and show. The Eid markets all over India is flooded with eateries and new clothes. The special eateries being Dates, different varieties of sewai(Vermicelli), sweets , Bakery, falooda and Mughlai cuisines.

The celebration varies from region to region. However one thing that remains common amongst all is the celebration of brotherhood. This is marked by meeting of all the Muslims in either Eidgah or mosques(Masjid) early morning dawn for offering the Eid ki namaz (Special prayers for Eid).
However before Namaz(Prayers) one thing that is quite popular is the sacred bath. This is the usual bath however its significance is that the earlier you bath in the dawn the more you cleanse your soul with something pure like milk. The preparation  and drinking of "pyala" (Milk, sugar and coconut )  or (Milk with dry fruits) takes place just after bath.

With the offering of prayers during the early morning hours the celebration comes to it full show. Greetings , offerings , meetings and grand lunch followed by grand dinner.
Eid-ul-fitr as the name suggest is the sweet celebration marked by offerings to fellow beings(Fitr). Indian Muslims come forward to offer food, clothes whatever they can according to their capacity to the poor. Some offer in proportion to their size of family. For eg. If you are a family of 5 you offer 5 kilos of rice or whatsoever to the poor signifying each kilo by each of the family members offering.

I received so many amazing facts about Eid by my close friends. As per one of them the appearance of the moon which is so thin to get noticed by naked eyes is a beautiful phenomenon in the sky. It is said that if you try to look at the moon through a netted cloth it appears as series of pearl beads in the sky. 

While my other Friend emphasizes on the morning prayers and then describes that "Sewai" is traditional dish of Eid and we will find several varieties of it. Almost all the Muslim families in India prepares sewai compulsarily and serves it to their friends and families whosoever visit them along with all other mouth watering dishes. He also tells me that its a party day and everybody is self invited to every ones house which means people are expected to visit each other without any formal invitation or appointment. He talks about "Eiddi"(Gifts from elders) which is what children's are mostly excited about. "Eiddi" can be either money or any gift which children Receives from elders.

Two beautiful friend of mine describes preparation of wide varieties of mouth watering dishes and then visiting and exchanging greetings with friends and family. The dishes which they mentions are "4 to 5 varities of Sewai", "chole(Cheak pea curry)", "Dahi bade(Lentil fritters in spiced yogurt)", ,"Biryani","pulao","puri(puffed bread)" ,"chicken curry", " mutton curry", Makuti," Nan bread", Bakarkhani," kebabs", koftas, tandoor......and the list goes!!! someone please invite me......and then it all becomes a grand feast where all people are dressed up in brand new dresses.

A friend from south India and says that along with Biryani(which can be either made with chicken , mutton or beef), delicious sweets and paysam(Traditional South Indian Pudding) is prepared. 
While the other friend describes how a pyala is prepared in a clay bowl by bringing together milk, sugar and coconut.

India is a diverse country and so we find the diversity in the celebration of the same festival. 
Both North and south India have their unique way of celebrating Eid. The one cuisine that remains common throught the country is the preparation of  "Biryani".

A look into history.
Biryani was a gift from Mughals to India. The Mughals usually used to go on war far and wide. They always needed a food that was filling yet would provide with lots of energy. Thereby cooks(Bawarchi's) formulated the concept of Biryani.
Biryani is of two types 1) Kachi Biryani(Cooked with raw meat) and 2) pakki Biryani(Cooked with ready to eat meat). In the northern part of India previously known as "Awadh" (now known as Uttar prades , u.p) Pakki biryani was more popular. However in the south, Hyderabadi nizams preferred the Kachi Biryani. If you ever get a chance to be in Hyderabad , you can go to the Paradise restaurant to taste the best Biryani's. Else you can also try out my authentic Recipe at your home.

The key to prepare the best Biryani is to pick up the best quality of Basmati rice.

To prepare Biryani in Hyderabadi style : Hyderbadi Biryani
To preprae Biryani Lucknowi Style: Lucknowi Biryani

By- Sushmita Pandit