Feast after the fast

, Leisure

Eid al-Fitr is the feast day for Muslims around the world. It marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan by breaking the fast and feasting on scrumptious food

Ramadan is nearing and at the end of the long month of fasting, it will bring the much-awaited Eid al-Fitr. For devout Muslims who fast all through the month, heavy food on the day of Eid often tends to throw the digestive system off a little bit. But as they say, what’s love without a bit of risk! Here’s us, listing out the best loved foods that make Eid a journey of sheer delight. Possibly the only time you will have with your family before the first of the guests start tricking in, breakfast is a time to relish…

Shemai

Shemai is vermicelli boiled in clarified butter and milk. Dried fruits like pistachio, raisins and almonds are used to garnish the dessert, and saffron is used optionally for flavour and colour. Although a dessert, it is eaten for breakfast on Eid day, before going for the Eid prayers, or enjoyed after prayer.

Luchi and alur dom

Another popular Eid breakfast food is alur dom, a tangy, spicy potato gravy scooped up with luchi, a deep fried bread. The crunch and chewiness of the hot luchi and the savoury, melt in the mouth goodness of potato gravy wakes up your tummy and kickstarts the day of Eid.

Chotpoti

Chotpoti is a Bengali’s go-to snack for any occasion. Due to the ease of preparation and popularity, chotpoti is a staple snack for any time you are short on time and Eid is one such occasion. A mix of small, diced potatoes, boiled chickpeas, tamarind juice for the tangy, gravy base and a lot of spices, one plate of chotpoti will have you licking your spoon. Add some grated boiled egg and some crunchy puchka puri for deliciousness.

Once breakfast is over and friends and family start arriving, you are often left wondering how it’s already time for lunch…

Polao and roast

Unlike breakfast, lunch takes a while to prepare and serve so preparations for the main dish of the main course usually starts a night before. Chicken is marinated in spices and left overnight for the flavour to seep through the meat. It is then slow cooked in a sweet, whitish gravy until it is thick and flavourful. Polao is simply flavoured long grain rice with peas and fried, caramelised onions.

Beef bhuna

No elaborate Bengali meal is complete without beef. Small pieces of tender meat, cooked in a spicy, reddish curry lends a royal flavour to the kingly feast. Something about this regular beef curry hits the right places of the tummy, making it a favourite among all age groups.

Kebab

We Bengalis pay attention to detail! If there is a main dish, there must be a side dish too! In this case, it is the beloved kebab or tikia. Be it mutton, beef, chicken or fish kebabs, it is the chosen accompaniment to anything with rice. Fish kebabs are a major hit because of their distinct aroma and mashed texture when mixed with rice. These meat cakes are fried with green chili pieces and fried onions
until it is dark brown in colour and crunchy on the outside.

Payesh

Payesh or kheer is another milk based dessert, made with broken wheat or rice, coconut shavings and a generous amount of jaggery. Although popular the year round, payesh is another sweet that goes well with Eid food. A favourite with children and adults alike, payesh is served cold after meals as a well-loved dessert.

Zarda

Be it a wedding or Eid, no occasion is complete without the ultimate dessert, zarda. We love zarda so much, we could devote an entire book praising its worth! This royal concoction is basically sweetened rice, mixed with small balls of kalojaam and chomchom (sweet, deep fried balls of dough), raisins, dried fruits like almonds and cashews, and crystallised pineapple. Truth be told, this jambalaya of sweet goodness is a meal, all on its own!

By: Munira Ahmed Fidai

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