Looming just around the corner is that time of the year again, where all the goodies are brought out, where all mothers leave no stone unturned in preparing that beautiful dish, the day when everyone is in high spirits after a month of fasting.
Selecting what to serve on the table on Eid day morning is a tough decision. It has to be something affectionate, yet something new. The time-honoured 'lassa shemai', and 'kheer' have seen their days. After a heavy dose of sweetened products, guests may even appreciate some savoury items, just to give a new sensation to the taste buds, if not anything else.
Be they almonds, cashews, pecans or the much familiar peanuts, they are all favourites as evening munchies or just as an on-the-go snack. For Eid however, it is time to give the age-old nuts a makeover. Toasted and coated in caramelised sugar, they are perfect candies for adults and children alike. Add them to romaine lettuce, peeled and shaved carrots, grilled slices of beef and a dash of olive oil to make an easy, healthy salad adding to your Eid spread. You can also opt to toast them and add alongside beef curries, adding another dimension to the typically hot and thick gravy.
This traditional hair-thin pasta is an Eid staple. Cooked in sweetened, reduced milk decked with slivered pistachios and almonds, they make wonderful desserts, but unfortunately done to death. Try cooking them in a savoury avatar this time. Cooked in oil tempered with spices, cubed chicken and lastly garnished with cashews and a handful of grated coconut, this should make an excellent snack.
Sultanas and apricots, as garnish, have been a mainstay in our 'polaos' and sweet desserts. A burst of sweet and tangy, in between the morsels of 'polao', they make for an excellent play of flavours. Apart from these, incorporating them in our savoury curries can result in a uniquely Middle-Eastern experience. Adding dried fruits such as sultanas, dried figs and apricots in beef recipes will go a long way in making your dish the most memorable one.
Sun dried fruits -- dried prunes, figs, apricots, peaches, apples and pears -- alone can make a wonderful, standalone side dish. And of course, we possibly cannot have a section on dried fruits without the ubiquitous date. Its position in Islamic culture makes this an addition to your wonderful assortments of dried goodies.
After a month of fasting, an early morning tea right after Eid prayers feels great. Along with crackers, make sure you have items like sliced Dhaka cheese, hummus or even a simple sandwich spread made form minced chicken. This will add to the flavourful tea and make a wonderful start to an auspicious day.
It's always tempting to eat pesto by the spoonful. It's so very fresh and so very green. And those flavours of basil, pine nut, parmesan, garlic, and olive oil just play so very nicely together. Spread it on sandwiches, toss it with pasta, or yes, treat yourself a single happy spoonful, but definitely absolutely positively make pesto any chance you get.
Having a fruit basket in your living room centre table will not only appeal to the eyes but also to the olfactory senses. Apples, bananas, grapes – red, green and black, mangoes, oranges, papayas, pineapples, pomegranates and strawberries…the list is endless and all make great additions to your food bouquet.
Eid is a special occasion with rewards in so many ways. This Eid, it is time to experiment. Take the tried and tested, give it a twist and make it quintessentially yours.