Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramzan, which sees Muslims fasting during the day and feasting during the night, especially on sweets. And since sweets are also used to celebrate the fulfillment of Ramzan, a representation of Allah’s mercy, this festival is also known as ‘Sweet Eid’. So, on the sweet occasion of Eid, here are 7 delectable dishes you absolutely must try in India.
Celebrated by Muslims all over the world, the festival of Eid is also a favourite with people of other religions who visit their Muslim friends’ homes to partake in some of the yummy festive delicacies. In India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Iran, Brunei and Indonesia, Muslim families use traditional recipes, which have been handed down from generation to generation, to create special dishes for the festival. For example, households in Turkey spend hours creating perfect Baklava and other pastries that melt in the mouth, while Indonesians and Malaysians serve a delicate dumpling, with a rice filling that is covered with colourful woven palm leaves called Ketupat. If you are in India during Eid-ul-Fitr (25-26 June, 2017), then you absolutely have to binge on these dishes.
#1 Sheer Khorma
In South Asia, Eid-ul-Fitr is synonymous with the delicious Sheer Khorma, which literally translates to a dish of ‘milk with dates’ in Persian. This sweet dish is traditionally served as breakfast to the family members on Eid, and is offered to all the guests who stop by through the day. Highly popular in Arab countries as well as India and Pakistan, Sheer Khorma originated in Herat, Afghanistan. However, the Indian city of Hyderabad has its own delectable version of the dish which will leave you drooling.
Generally cooked with delicate and thin sevaiyan/vermicelli, whole milk, and plenty of dates, some versions of Sheer Khorma also use cardamom, almonds, saffron, rose water, etc. If you have never eaten a bowl of Sheer Khorma, you have been missing out – this melt-in-your-mouth delicacy is a joyful celebration for your palate.
#2 Nawabi Biryani
Also known as the Lucknowi Biryani, this delicacy is another one of India’s all-time Eid favourites. It is inspired by the Persian dum pukht cooking style, where instead of cooking the entire meat and rice separately, the gravy meat and rice are only partially cooked in separate vessels. After this, the meat and rice is carefully layered in a sealed vessel and slow cooked in the oven in the traditional Awadhi dum pukht cooking style so that the flavours can be absorbed and mix well. Compared to other biryanis in India, the Nawabi Biryani is not spicy, and has dry fruits like apricots, cashew nuts, almonds, and raisins, which are used freely to add the Nawabi/nobleman component.
Other than the fact that it is incredibly delicious, Haleem is also the chosen dish for Muslims to break the Ramzan fast because it is high in both nutrition and calories. Invented in the 10th Century by the Arabs, Haleem was brought to India by Sultan Said Nawaz Jung, who regularly served it to his chosen noblemen at royal dinners in the Nizam state of Hyderabad. The dish has a melt-in-the-mouth consistency, and is made of wheat, lentils, and choice cuts of mutton, that is then topped with caramalised onion, sliced lemons, roasted cashew nuts, and tasteful soup. Traditionally, there are two different types of haleem – one made using lentils and one without – but you will find many other variations, such as chicken, vegetarian, and fish haleem, in India.
#4 Bhuna Gosht
What makes the Eid-special dish Bhuna Gosht a delicacy is the ‘bhuna’ or roast part, where the word ‘gosht’ means meat that is made tender after cooking it for a long time. To make this flavourful dish, chunks of meat are roasted with spices, and this pan-frying or roasting is what gives it the traditional reddish-brown tinge. Generally made with lamb or goat meat, Bhuna Gosht serves up chunks of meat slow cooked in a thick red curry, with fenugreek leaves and caramelised onions, which are a textured, spicy, absolutely amazing dish. This curry is best mopped up with Indian flat-breads like naan, chapatti, and roti.
#5 Sufi Malpua
Eid-ul-Fitr is a festival centred on desserts, and the Sufi Malpua is a worthy entrant on this list of must have foods. While conventional Malpua is made with flour and khoya/thickened milk of fresh cheese consistency, the Sufi Malpua uses more rich ingredients. You will often find Sufi Malpuas made with saffron, rava/semolina, condensed milk, and slivers of dry fruits. Popular amongst Muslims and non-Muslims alike, this sweet Eid preparation beckons you with a fragrance that will automatically make your mouth water.
#6 Almond/Badam Phirni
No one with a sweet tooth could possibly fail to like the Almond/Badam Phirni! An indulgent dessert made with plenty of almonds and milk, this phirni or rice pudding has a rich creamy texture. This extremely healthy sweet dish is traditionally made for festivals across India, from Eid to Diwali, Karwa Chauth & more. Served in small clay bowls, to keep them cool, Badam Phirni is one dessert that Indians everywhere are in love with.
The Falooda is a dessert beverage that is a consistent favourite during Eid-ul-Fitr. It is colourful, quirky and delicious – reasons enough to make it the perfect end to any Eid meal. Made with soaked basil seeds, vermicelli, milk, and ice cream, Falooda could be favourably compared to a western Sundae with a twist! The healthy ingredients are layered in a glass and topped with dry fruits, fruit pieces, jelly cubes, or rose petals, making it a delight for the eyes and for your tastebuds.
In India, Eid-ul-Fitr is a festival of thanks and a celebration of God’s infinite blessings. It is best celebrated with a grand feast in the company of friends and family members, so make sure you add these items to your plate this year.
Interested in trying these delicacies? Plan a visit to India!