Bored of the same ol’ bbq? Spice up your Eidul Azha with these mouth-watering yet easy recipes

Published: August 20, 2018
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All these recipes are simple, easy to make and delicious from the very first bite. PHOTO: ARHAMA SIDDIQA

Eidul Azha, more commonly known as Bakra Eid in Pakistan, is that time of the year when Muslims sacrifice cattle in the remembrance of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS). But alas, the majority of the population here is either immersed in a statement marathon or avails this festival as a money-making opportunity.

A growing trend has emerged nowadays, where people prefer to buy their animals a couple of days before Eid to avoid the costs and efforts required for maintenance of the animals. That doesn’t feel like it is in the Eid spirit. However, there is still a glimmer of hope. A few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there are still people here who take the traditional route. Purchasing the animals well in advance and fattening and caring for them for the big day.

When I heard about this, it evoked childhood memories of the excitement we, as children, felt when the goats used to come to our home. At first cautious, then slowly whole-hearted petting ensued. The way we used to feed them, bring them pails of water and even cover them with blankets in the winters are right up there in my (now-aging) memory log. We even had the time of our lives picking out names for them, Chikini and Chambeli were two favourites, Akkar and Bakkar were another two. Children these days rarely have these memories and this is a major cause for concern. They probably would never know the true Eid feeling.

Every family has its traditions. Ever since I can remember, it has always been a ritual in our household that we gather around the oldest members of the family (my grandfather and grandmother) and pray that our sacrifice is accepted. The kids (regardless of whether you were the help or not), according to their ages, are lined up and then eidi is distributed. No one is left behind.

After the meat has been sorted into packets, the children are bundled into cars, with grandparents calling shotgun, and driven out to the rural part of the city where we distribute the packets. I once asked my Nano (maternal grandmother) why we had to go there like this every year. She told me she feared that if we did not, we would grow ungrateful of our blessings and become desensitised to the poverty in which people live.

When the responsibilities are dealt with, we get to the fun part: the food! Meals have to be prepared for lunch and dinner for the Eid guests. In my household, spicy stir fried kaleji (liver), mutton stew and kheer are a must.

For the blog, however, I am going to make a three-course meal and bring in something close to Pakistan, close to my own home and then a little something from the Middle East. I hope these chapli kebabs, mutton stew and umm ali bring joy to your dinner table. All these recipes are simple, easy-to-make and delicious from the very first bite.

Beef chapli kebabs

The word kebab originated from the Arabic language, but the word is also used in Persian, Turkish and Central Asians cultures. Ibn Battuta mentioned that kebab was an integral part of the daily diet of Indian royalty as early as 1200 AD.  Kebabs are meant to be fried, burnt or cooked on a skewer by grilling or open fire cooking. In Pakistan, chapli kebabs are very famous and originally come from the northern areas, in particular the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) province.

Ingredients:

Beef or lamb mince: ½ kg

Onion: 1 medium, finely chopped and dried using paper towel

Tomato: 1 medium, finely chopped and without seeds

Green chillies: 3 to 4, finely chopped

Fresh coriander as desired, finely chopped

Fresh ginger and garlic: 1 tbsp, finely chopped

Cumin: 1 tbsp, roasted and crushed

Coriander seeds: 1 tbsp, roasted and crushed

Fresh anaar dana (pomegranate seeds): 1 to 2 tbsp

Red chilli flakes: 1 tsp, roasted

Chaat masala: 1 tsp

Garam masala: ½ tsp

Haldi (turmeric powder): ¼ tsp

Salt to taste

Gram flour: 3 to 4 tbsp

Ghee for frying: ½ cup

Method:

1.Mix in all the ingredients well into your meat and make round, flat kebabs. I don’t add eggs in my chapli kebabs but if your kebabs break, you can add half or one egg.

2. Shallow fry till golden brown.

Spicy mutton stew

One of those age-old and timeless dishes that will probably outlive mankind is the good old fashioned stew. No matter where you go in the world, every country has some version of a stew. Even if named differently or eaten differently, a stew is a stew. This is probably the easiest, most convenient dish to make when you are going to have a house full of guests and are pressed for time.

Ingredients:

Mutton: 1 kg

Ginger and garlic: 2 tbsp, chopped

Onions: 3, chopped

Tomatoes: 3, chopped

Green chillies: 4 to 5

Crushed chilli flakes: 1 tsp

Chilli powder: 1 tbsp

Garam masala (Cloves, Cinnamon sticks, Black Cardamom) according to preference

Salt: 1 tsp

Method:

1. In a pot, heat oil and add the washed mutton, chopped garlic and chopped ginger.

2. Then add crushed chilli flakes, garam masala, chilli powder, salt, onion, tomatoes and green chillies.

3. Then add in one and a half glass of water and cook till oil floats on top.

4. Garnish with fresh coriander (optional) and serve.

Umm Ali

Umm Ali is an Egyptian dessert, almost like a bread pudding. It originates from lower Egypt “falaheen” (peasants) and has many stories attached to it regarding its invention. While some say it was made to celebrate the tragic death of Shajarat Al-Durr, who was the first and last woman Sultana to rule Egypt.

Others say Umm Ali, which means the mother of Ali in Arabic, was a life saver for her village. She made a good example of the saying “necessity is the mother of all inventions” by conjuring up a dessert when the Sultan demanded she make a dessert with whatever she had in her house.

Ingredients:

Bakarkhani (puff pastry): 6 pieces, unsweetened

Milk: 1 litre

Sugar: 1 cup

Heavy cream: ½ cup and some for garnish

Rose water: ½ tsp

Ground nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashew): a handful

Method:

1. Preheat the oven on 180°C.

2. Crush bakarkhani and spread in a pyrex dish.

3. In a pan, dissolve milk and sugar, and cook for five minutes.

4. Add rose water in the mixture and pour in the dish.

5. Pipe cream on top and add the nuts.

6. In a preheated oven, bake for 20 minutes and serve hot.

Eid Mubarak!

All photos: Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

The author is a LUMS and University of Warwick Alumnus and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). She calls herself a bibliophile,a dreamer and an avid foodie. She also has a Instagram food blog: @chakhoous (www.instagram.com/chakhoous/) . She tweets @arhama_siddiqa (twitter.com/arhama_siddiqa)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    That was a long hiatus……I expected you to come up with something reflecting the elections and result …..a khichri, followed by a meetha.
    I liked the explanations and the pictures. I must say the picture of your chapli kebabs was exactly like the ones my friend’s wife makes…..and I have yet to taste chapli kebabs like that. Even the ones on the road to Swat, which were reputed to be out-of-this-world, were no match.
    Your dessert was something new ….. never tried it.
    I liked your description / explanation of the spirit of this EID and how and why the meat is distributed…..and the fact that this event has degenerated into something other than what it is supposed to signify.
    Almost forgot …… Eid Mubarak in advance to all.Recommend

  • Patwari

    There, right on schedule. A troika of dishes this time, for Bakr Eid.
    With a dessert the Pharoahs themselves tasted.
    Chappali kababas are a favorite. Ate one of the ones near the
    Karachi Zoo area, in a small nameless dhaba/restaurant.
    The cook would take a palm full of qeema, add crushed red
    chili, coarsely grounded coriander seeds, salt and anaar dana,
    knead it, slap into a round shape and into the oil. Doubt it very
    much if it was ghee. Viola! There, you have the bare bones,
    primitive version of chappali kababs. Heavenly with tandoori nan.
    Of course, also ate them at the Mother of all Chappali Kababs,…
    Qissa Khawani Bazaar. Tasted them in Gawal Mundi, Lahore, too.
    In each place the kababs tasted different. Had a unique somewhat
    different flavor. Obviously, it had to do with their blend of spices.
    In some places, eggs were added to the beef/spice blend.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    Too too long, I let insignificant beings (office hawai makhlooq) get in the way of my thinking process unfortunately
    Hahaha an election food blog would have been an amazing idea, but alas (hopefully) after 5 years I’ll write one IA!
    I love chapli kebabs, with as Patwari mentioned a hot rogni naan and a cup of mixed tea! Pure heaven
    The dessert was something I wanted to do a solo blog on it is so amazing, had it in Saudi Arabia the first time and it has many stories attached to it- I had to sum them up. But its so easy I would say surprise your wife with it!Recommend

  • Hamsid

    Eid from when I was a. kid has lost its charm . I am sure you would say the same about how it was celebrated with more vigour and zeal before.

    Oh shoot I could have done an independence day blog- so the ideas have started flowing albeit too late =/Recommend

  • Hamsid

    and a wonderful eid mubarak!Recommend

  • Hamsid

    haha sorry for the long break…
    that is interesting that bit about chapli kebabs having different tastes. I have only ever had them in Islamabad (Sufi’s makes the best one here )! But if provincial variation applies then KP should have the best ones since they originated from there no? Lahore kebabs should be more spicy?

    Eggs are added in many cases to hold the mixture together especially if the qeema has been washed previously and is too wet.Recommend

  • Patwari

    That was supposed to be “ate one of the best ones near Karachi Zoo.”Recommend

  • Parvez

    Having spent some three plus decades pushing a pen behind a desk, I can relate to the ” Office hawai makhlooq ” …… I liked that.
    If I did actually come up with an Umm Ali my wife would actually drop dead with surprise……ummm !Recommend

  • Parvez

    Today being Eid day we went visiting my Pathan friend of some fifty years and I asked his wife who as I said makes the best chapli kebabs,….and I received a bit of an education. First, up in KP which as you say is the home of the chapli kebab, its also called chapri kebab ( flat kebab ) and its not cooked in ghee, its cooked in fat.
    My friend claims the best ones can be found in roadside stalls after passing Nowshera travelling north.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    hahahah touche Mr. Parvez touche =pRecommend

  • Hamsid

    thank You for adding to my foodictionary as always , if given the chance ever I would love to try these out!Recommend

  • AJ

    Simple yet outstanding as always. Your blogs are a very good source of information, history, beautiful photos, recipes all in one. ThanksRecommend

  • Hamsid

    Thank You!Recommend

  • Parvez

    We’ve said something about chapli kebabs, Umm Ali but nothing about
    the humble stew, so that made me think back to my childhood days when we had a brilliant cook and every now and then he would come up with something called White Stew which I liked…..it was with veritables, mutton or chicken in a white sauce. My brother always pulled a face when this was served because he had and still has a taste for spicy stuff.
    Then there was Irish Stew which looked exactly like the picture of yours……but for some reason he called it Irish Stew…..now I’m rambling….sorry.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    I googled Irish stew and it DOES look like paki stew ! , but I bet the spice level is little to none. Gora people are akin to changing traffic lights – yellow to red – when it comes to spicy stuff – personal experience hereRecommend

  • Patwari

    Now, now, now,… that was uncalled for. Did you use the word Paki?
    Be careful. Could be you got carried away, did not realize it. Happens.
    Only British skinheads, trailer trash and neo Nazis aligned with Geert Wilders and Hindustanis [the ones with the dots on the forehead] use that above term.
    And proxies of Boris Johnson, the thug…and Trump’s Shih Tzu, er… poodle Theresa May.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Actually, you are comparing your perspective of Eid from when you were a kid.
    To your perspective now, which is as an adult. So, yes, sure there are changes,
    as they say, time passes.
    One of the biggest changes might be the price of a bakra. Not sure what the
    current going rate is, but it has to be astronomical. The gauging alone…..
    [Not to mention that the neighborhood, where ‘yours truly’ stays on visits to
    Pakland, the neighbors [every fifth one] have 4 to 5 qurbani animals….per household. Goats, lambs, bulls are penned, in front of the houses, for days.]Recommend

  • Patwari

    Actually things start to get hairy beyond Risalpur. Meaning dangerous.
    If you are going towards Bannu….Mardan.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Just when it starts to get interesting ET dumps us off the screen. Yes in the old days the Gora could not take the spicy stuff but today, I hear in England ( I haven’t been there for a long time ) they love it….ChickenTikkaMassala ( all one word ) is today their national dish.
    Ok…bye for now.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    Gora people love Subcontinent food ! they can’t get enough of it =p
    omg I thought you were joking , I actually googled it and its TRUE ! it is their national dish ! but but but…Recommend

  • Hamsid

    oh my bad I didn’t realise it had such a negative connotation?Recommend

  • Hamsid

    I thought the trend for having animals at home had died down quite a bit? People prefer to just give money in slaughter houses at least in Lahore and isbRecommend

  • Hamsid

    OK I have to say it again LOVE love writing these food blogsRecommend

  • Patwari

    Will take a Shepard’s Pie, for lunch, in Connaught Place, or in any self respecting British pub or inn. The Bingley Arms, the Black Swan, Drunken
    Duck, the Red Lion,…ahhh,…nirvana.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Yup Fish-n-Chips went out the window some time back…..and it was a logical progression. My theory is that the good common Britisher is a beer drinking type and one day one of our desis offered him a desi style chicken tikka along with his beer and the rest is history….. :-)Recommend

  • Parvez

    ….and your readership is increasing by leaps-and-bounds. You now have all of 4, yes FOUR ….. me, Patwari, the faithful AJ and now P-nut.
    Keep at it ……. you have to be doing something right.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    that makes sense actually ….Recommend

  • Hamsid

    I haave heard down in Sheffield one can get the BEST shepherd’s pie. Is that true? That actually makes for a great blog ideaRecommend

  • Hamsid

    Nahh its not me its the information you guys keep adding to well everyones foodictionary!
    I just hope I can pull off what I am aiming for next then Imma take a break!Recommend