Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 14, Tuesday October 25, 2005



Dearest Diary,
HOwever old I become, or however blasé I become with life, I will never be too old or too sophisticated for Eid. I just love the whole build-up for Eid-day although the actual day is always quite boring. But, as I said, the pre-eid frenzy days are absolutely cathartic for me.
I love shopping for family and friends, I love the way my staff go out to do their Eid shopping, I love the way my friends and family pool in for the orphanage drive, I love my own little shopping expeditions with my close friends, I love my last minute fights with my tailor, I love pushing and fighting with my son and hubby for their punjabi shopping. Basically, the good, the bad and the ugly all put together is absolute mind-boggling fun for me. But what surprises and saddens me is, I don't see the “enthu” in today's children regarding Eid. There may be flickers of joy when they get eidi but other than that they seem so ----- grown-uppy. I remember one particular Eid when I was, I think twelve years old, my mother had gotten me a lovely baby pink Shalwar-Kameez suit with white sandals from “Dipali shoes” in a semi crumpled box. I think I can still smell the leather from those sandals. I must have smelt those sandals at least a hundred times. And how I tried them on the bed (God forbid the sandals should touch the floor), and how many times I took it out of that box just to take another peek in case it disappeared into thin air.
I don't think children now even dream along those lines. In their over abundant lives, I must seem so... un-cool. Another particular incident which still brings a smile to my face is, when I used to fast, while being twelve years old, I used to get so hungry and grumpy right before iftar, (come to think of it, I still do) my sweet, ever energetic nanu (may God rest her soul) would take me to Baitul-Mukkaram couple of hours before iftar and take me to each and every savoury and pastry shop. She would buy one of each item that my hungry soul would desire. For example the gooey, creamy, conical cream roll, beef-patties, vanilla pastry, samosas etc. She would then put all these on a huge serving plate and make me sit in front of it with sweet anticipation. When you have 27 grand children and you do this kind of thing for one of them in particular, I believe, I truly was loved. So diary, enough reminiscence from the past for today. Earth calling Sam. Still have some shopping left to send gifts to relatives. Still have some people to send iftar to. Still have to collect my son's shirts from Ferdous. Still.... still.... and more still... Eid Mubarak! Have a good Eid the Sam Q way.
Some recipes for Eid day.

Roast LEG of Lamb, Kashmiri Style
Serves: 8
1X 2.5 kg (5 lb) leg of lamb
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cummin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon chilli powder, optional
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ cup yoghurt
2 tablespoons each blanched almonds and pistachios
¼ teaspoon powdered saffron or
½ teaspoon saffron strands
3 teaspoons honey
With a sharp knife remove skin and any excess fat from lamb. Using point of the knife make deep slits all over the lamb. Combine ginger, garlic, salt, ground spices and lemon juice. (If mixture is too dry to spread, add very little oil.) Rub spice mixture well over the lamb, pressing it into each slit.
Put yoghurt, almonds, pistachios and saffron powder into blender container. If saffron strands are used, soak for 10 minutes in 2 tablespoons hot water and use water as well. Blend together until smooth, then spoon the puree over the lamb. Drizzle the honey over, cover and allow lamb to marinate at least overnight in the refrigerator or two days if possible.
Allow 30 minutes per pound cooking time. Preheat oven to very hot, 230ºC (450ºF), and roast lamb in a covered baking dish for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to moderate, 170ºC (350ºF) and cook for a further 1¾ hours or until lamb is cooked through. Uncover lamb and cool to room temperature.

Serves: 6
1 kg (2lb) farm chicken
2 medium onions
2 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic
2-6 dried chilies, seeded
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon saffron strands
2 tablespoon ghee
2 tablespoon ghee
1 tablespoon ghee
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup yoghurt
Cut chicken into large cubes, trimming off excess fat if any. Peel onion, slice one finely and set aside. Chop other onion roughly and put into container of electric blender with ginger, garlic, and chillies. Add half cup water to blender jar, cover and blend on high speed for a minute or until all ingredients are ground smoothly. Add all the ground spices and blend for a few seconds longer.
Put saffron strands into a small bowl, pour the boiling water over and allow to soak while starting to cook the masala (ground spice mixture).
Heat ghee and oil in a large saucepan and when hot put in the sliced onion and fry, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until soft and golden. Add the blended mixture and continue to fry, stirring constantly until the masala is well cooked and the oil starts to separate from the mixture. Wash out blender container with an extra ¼ cup water, add to pan together with salt and continue to stir and fry until the liquid dries up once more. Add the meat and stir over medium heat until each piece is coated with the spice. Stir the saffron, crushing the strands against side of the bowl, then add to the pan. Stir to mix well. Add yoghurt and stir again until evenly mixed. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at a gentle simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender and gravy thick. Stir occasionally taking care that the spice mixture does not stick to base of pan. Serve hot with rice.

Chicken and yoghurt curry
Serves: 4
1 kg (2 lb) farm chicken
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
½ cup fresh coriander or mint leaves
1½ tablespoons ghee or oil
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1½ teaspoons garam masala powder
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon chilli powder, optional
½ cup yoghurt
2 ripe tomatoes, diced extra chopped mint or coriander leaves to garnish
Cut chicken into serving pieces, or use chicken pieces of one kind drumsticks, thighs or half breasts. Put into container of electric blender the onion, garlic, ginger, fresh coriander or mint. Blend to a smooth puree. Heat oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the blended mixture, stirring, for about 5 minutes. And turmeric, garam masala, salt and chilli powder and fry for a further minute. Stir in yoghurt and tomatoes and fry until liquid dries up and the mixture is the consistency of thick puree. Add chicken pieces, turning them in the spice mixture so they are coated on both sides, then turn heat low, cover tightly and cook until chicken is tender. If liquid from the chicken has not evaporated by the time the flesh is cooked, uncover and raise heat to dry off excess liquid, stirring gently at the base of pan to prevent burning. Garnish with chopped herbs and serve with rice or chapatis.


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2003 The Daily Star