With the ongoing pandemic, the trend seems to have shifted to an entirely homemade Eid menu, with kebabs such as shami, seekh and dhaga being whipped up in the home kitchens
Every year, during Bakr Eid, the crammed alleys of old Delhi would come alive with kebabchis (kebab stalls) doing brisk business. This year, though, things have altered dramatically. “Now, they are selling vegetables," says Sadaf Hussain, former MasterChef India contestant and author of the book, Daastan-e-Dastarkhān: Stories And Recipes From Muslim Kitchens. Purani Dilli’s well-known caterers are willing to deliver ready-to-eat or fully-prepared kebabs, but they too are seeing a downward spiral. With the ongoing pandemic, the trend seems to have shifted to an entirely homemade Eid menu, with kebabs such as shami, seekh and dhaga being whipped up in the home kitchens to be shared generously with family, friends and neighbours.
Thankfully with the many changes taking place around us, the meal plan for Bakr Eid has remained the same: kaleji (a delicious offal recipe made with goat liver) served with naan for breakfast, mutton biryani, raita and kachumbar for lunch, and finally rich gravies like korma and nihari with heavier breads such as sheermal for dinner. The dessert platter features sevaiyan, halwa and fruits.
The menu, of course, varies as we move from region to region, with each community having its own specialities. For instance, blogger Poorna Banerjee, who runs Presented by P, specialising in the diverse community cuisines of Kolkata, points out that the Muslim community in the city can largely be divided into two: Bengali Muslim and those who settled in the city from Uttar Pradesh. While the mutton curries by the former are like jhols or slightly soupy, that of the latter are thicker. Since it is quite muggy this time of the year in Kolkata, most preparations are light. “There will be falooda for dessert which is believed to be cooling," she says.
However, this year, the key ingredient seems to be hard to get by. Banerjee informs that the goats for Bakr Eid are especially brought into the city from Uttar Pradesh and Bhopal. But this year, there has been a distinct short supply.
As per tradition, after the ritual of sacrificing the goat, the meat is divided into three portions—for family, relatives and friends and the needy. In Bengaluru, with stringent lockdown rules, people have now come up with innovative ways to serve the needy. “Meat sellers have pitched in. People are giving extra money to them so that mutton can be distributed to those who need food," says Himayath Khan, founder of the Afghani-Pakistani home-dining experience, Ghiza Kitchen in Bengaluru, who makes two kinds of biryanis at home—with Basmati rice favoured by his Pakistani wife and another with seeraga samba preferred by Khan.
It seems that there is no recipe impossible to recreate at home. Chef Hussain, who has been generously parcelling homemade kebabs to his friends, shares two recipes to help you embrace the spirit of Bakr Eid:
In a pressure cooker, boil mutton, chana dal, dried red chillies, coriander and cumin seeds for 3-4 whistles.
Let it cool.
In a blender make a smooth paste without adding any water. The mixture has to be dry.
Take it out in a bowl, crack in an egg, add garam masala, ginger garlic paste and freshly chopped coriander leaves. Adjust the salt and seasoning.
Mix the stuffing together in a separate bowl.
Make small patties, and create a hollow in the middle to stuff in the hung curd mix. Roll into balls and make them flat.
In a shallow frying pan, heat ghee/oil and pan-fry the patties for 3-4 minutes on each side on low to medium flame.
Serve with chutney.
800 gms minced mutton
200 gms kidney fat
2 tablespoons prepared kebab ka masala
2 tablespoons brown onion paste
2 tablespoons ghee
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon ginger garlic juice
1 tablespoon green chilli paste
3 tablespoons raw papaya (with peels) paste
1 teaspoon rose water
1 teaspoon of red chilli
Kebab ka masala
1 betel leaf root
20 gms khush ki jad
10 gms pipla
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon black cardamoms
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 inch cinnamon
5-6 green cardamoms
1 star anise
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dry rose petals
1 tablespoon stone flower
One-fourth teaspoon nutmeg
One-fourth teaspoon mace
One-fourth teaspoon long pepper
A pinch of saffron
Ghee to fry the kebabs
Mix minced mutton and kidney fat in a mincer or in a mixer grinder, repeating the process at least 4-6 times.
Dry roast all the spices till they are fragrant. Towards the end, grate the nutmeg in the pan, add in dry rose petals and let the spices cool down. Grind the spices to a fine powder.
Mix this kebab spice powder and the minced mutton with brown onion, papaya and chilli paste along with ghee, ginger garlic water, rose water and salt. Let it rest for at least 6-8 hours. Leave it overnight for better flavour.
To fry these kebabs, heat some ghee on a flat tawa/pan
Wet your hands and make small balls of meat mixture; place them directly on the hot pan. Don’t worry about the shape. These will not have a perfect round shape.
Shallow fry till both the sides are nicely brown and well cooked.
Now, place the kebabs on absorbent paper to remove the excess fat.
Pair them up with green chutney or roti/paratha.
(In case some ingredients for the kebab masala are hard to find, one can skip them. For a vegetarian version, substitute mutton with soya, jackfruit or rajma.)