(THE DAILY STAR/ANN) - During the month of Ramadan, Muslims observe strict fasting and cap it off with a three-day joyous celebration of Eid on the first day of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar. In Singapore, the day is also known as Hari Raya Puasa.
Before Eid, each family donates a certain amount of food to the poor so that the latter are not left out of the celebrations. This donating of food is known as Sadaqah al-fitr, od Fitra (charity of fast-breaking).
On Eid, Muslims gather early in the morning at outdoor locations or mosques to say their prayers.
Afterwards, they usually wish one another Eid Mubarak. The day is an occasion to visit family and friends and exchange gifts. In Bangladesh, the entire three days are observed as official holidays.
This is also the time when Muslims showcase their recipes or try something unusual to add to the celebrations. The spreads usually feature satisfying meals that are heavy on sweets.
MINT GOLD DRINK
This drink is served in a small glasse at the start of a meal to perk up one's appetite. Pudina (mint) and cumin are also known to help in digestion.
2 Tbs tamarind, seedless pulp
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black pepper
3 Tbs pudina (mint) leaves
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black salt
1. Soak the tamarind pulp in one litre of water for two hours. Knead the pulp and dissolve it in the water. Strain and pour the tamarind juice into a jug.
2. Heat a tawa (griddle) and dry roast the cumin seeds and pepper. Transfer them to a mortar and pound until fine.
3. Put the mint leaves, one cup of tamarind juice, cumin-pepper powder, sugar and salt in a food processor and blend until the sugar dissolves.
4. Pass the blended spice-mixture through a fine sieve or muslin and discard any impurities. Pour the spice-mixture into the jug containing the tamarind juice and swirl vigorously to mix the contents thoroughly. Chill before serving.
2 Tbs almonds, blanched
2 Tbs pistachios
20 green cardamoms, seeds only
½ tsp turmeric power
¼ tsp nutmeg, grated pinch of saffron, soaked in 2 Tbs milk
2l chilled milk
1. In a food processor, add ¼ cup of milk, grind the almonds, pistachios, cardamom seeds, turmeric powder, nutmeg and saffron. Blend to make a smooth paste.
2. Pour two cups of milk and sugar and blend again until the sugar dissolves.
3. Pour the remaining milk into a jug, add the contents of the food processor which has been passed through a fine strainer and mix well. Pour drink on ice cubes and serve.
2.5kg lamb, cut into 5cm pieces
½ tsp black cumin seeds
½ tsp cubeb pepper
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp mace
1½ cup ghee
6 onions, diced
750g tomatoes, diced
7 tsp salt
8 cardamom pods, gently cracked
10 dry red chillies
4 cinnamon sticks, each 2.5cm long
4 cups kalijira rice, washed and drained
1 Tbs lemon juice
½ cup slivered almonds, for garnish
1. Buy karolir gosht (lamb shank) or leg of lamb and cut into 5cm segments.
2. Heat a tawa (griddle) and roast the black cumin, cubeb pepper, cumin seeds, black pepper, nutmeg, mace and cloves for one minute. When done, grind to a fine powder.
3. Heat ½ cup of ghee in a heavy pot, add the onions and saute until they turn golden, then add the lamb pieces and saute until well browned on all sides. Add the tomatoes and pour enough boiling water to just barely cover the lamb pieces and let simmer over a medium flame for about two hours or until the lamb is tender.
4. Stir in the salt, cardamom pods, red chillies, cinnamon and the powdered spice mixture prepared earlier. Pour the rice into the pot containing the lamb and stir with a wooden khunti (wooden spatula).
5. Pour the lemon juice with enough water to cover the rice and lamb. The liquid should come up to 4cm above the level of rice and lamb mixture. Cover the pot and cook over medium heat for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
6. Saute the almonds in one teaspoon of ghee until lightly browned. Garnish with almonds and serve hot.
WHOLE CHICKEN ROAST
5 cardamoms, seeds only
1 chicken, 2kg
3 Tbs ghee
1 tsp black pepper, pounded
½ tsp jaiphal (nutmeg) powder
½ tsp joittri (mace) powder
2½ tsp salt
2 Tbs onions, sliced
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
250g chicken, minced
1 apple, cubed
1 Tbs raisins, rinsed
2 Tbs pistachios, chopped
1 Tbs pudina (mint leaves), chopped
6 boiled eggs, halved
1. Grind the cardamom and cloves to a fine powder. Set aside.
2. Clean the chicken thoroughly and dry with a kitchen towel. Grease the chicken inside and out with one tablespoon of ghee. Sprinkle the black pepper powder, nutmeg powder, mace powder and two teaspoons of salt on the chicken and set aside.
3. Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a korai (wok), toss in the powdered cardamom and cloves and saute. Quickly add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the ginger paste and garlic paste and stir. Saute the mix, stirring vigorously until the flavours are released.
4. Add the minced chicken and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir-fry until cooked.
5. Take the wok off the flame and let the minced chicken cool down to room temperature.
6. Add the apple cubes, raisins, pistachios and mint leaves to the minced chicken and mix well. Stuff the chicken with the minced chicken and eggs. Sew up the rear end.
7. Grease a large casserole tray with one tablespoon of ghee and place the chicken in the centre. Make sure there is space between the chicken and the sides of the tray.
8. Cover the casserole tray with a tight lid. Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C and bake for 90 minutes.
9. Remove the tray and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve over a bed of pulao.