Eid-ul-Fitr is here so let’s gear up our energies to celebrate it with all the biryanis, qormas, sweet vermicelli and the regular festive fare.
Usually the day after Eid though, we crave something light and healthy yet different to indulge ourselves and our guests.
Today’s menu, therefore, has all the healthy ingredients along with meat and assorted nuts (small portions though of almonds, raisins, coconut) — which can be a part of your daily diet with lots of vegetables.
1 chicken of 1 1/2 kg, cut in 8 pieces 1 cup yoghurt 2 medium-sized onions, sliced 1/2 cup peeled almonds 1 tablespoon pepper corns 2 tablespoons poppy seeds 1 tablespoon coconut, desiccated 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste 1 teaspoon cumin powder 1-inch cinnamon stick 2 cardamoms Pinch of saffron 3/4 cup oil Salt to taste
Dry roast and grind together almonds, peppercorns, poppy seeds and coconut. In a bowl, put yoghurt and add the roasted ingredients plus cumin powder, ginger-garlic paste, salt. Mix well and marinate the chicken in the mixture. Refrigerate for an hour.
In a pan, heat oil and brown the onions, with a cinnamon stick and cardamom. Add chicken and saffron. Cook on low heat — better still place cooking pan on a tawa. The chicken will become tender in its own juices, but if needed add half a cup of water. Remove from heat when oil separates. Serve hot with parathas or rice.
Tomatoes in Coconut Milk
6 ripe tomatoes 1 large onion, sliced 8 whole red chillies 6 cloves garlic, chopped 2 cups coconut milk (make from the coconut powder easily available in the market) 1/4 cup oil Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a pan, add garlic and fry till aroma comes out; do not brown. Remove from oil and set aside. In the same oil, fry onions till golden. Meanwhile heat water in a pot, put tomatoes in the hot water; take out from the water after a while and remove skin, but keep them whole. Keep aside. Add red chillies and garlic to the pan.
Pour in the coconut milk, and keep stirring to avoid curdling. Boil for a couple of minutes, add salt and pepper. Arrange tomatoes in the coconut milk. Cover and cook till tomatoes are soft but still whole. Remove from heat. Serve hot with daal bhari puris.
Daal Bhari Puris
1/2 cup gram daal (chana) 1/2 cup yellow moong daal 2 cloves garlic 3 peppercorns 2 black cardamoms 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 4 cups wheat flour (you can use half maida and half wheat flour, if so desired) 4 tablespoons oil Salt to taste Oil for frying
Wash and soak daals for at least three to four hours. Drain and blend to a paste using little water. Keep aside. Grind the spices. Put two tablespoons oil in a frying pan and fry the lentil paste till brown and aroma comes out.
Add a little more oil if needed, but remember that the paste should be dry. Add salt for taste. Add the remaining oil to the flours and knead out stiff dough. I added a pinch of baking powder while kneading. Roll out the dough into big rotis. Cut out small rounds using a cutter.
Place a little daal on one and cover with another round. Make as many as you can. Heat oil and fry to a golden brown. It’s a delicious accompaniment to this tomato dish.
For convenience and to save time, you can prepare daal and freeze it and take out and thaw at room temperature whenever you need it and fill inside the puris. It will soften as the puris fry so no need to rewarm it separately.
Don’t forget that repeated reheating food is hazardous for health.
Baigan Ke Chapli Kebab
1/2 kg eggplant 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced 1/2 cup onion chopped, finely 1/2 cup green chilli, chopped 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder 1 tablespoon green coriander, chopped 2 tablespoons gram flour, more if needed Salt to taste
Wash eggplants and roast them on fire till blackish. Put in a plastic bag and seal (not in coloured one,) and let it cool a bit. Rub lightly to take of the skin, clean any leftover skin and mash. Add all the ingredients and shape into kebabs. Heat oil and fry till golden brown. Serve hot.
Omali (Arabian Bread Pudding)
6 croissants, broken into big pieces 200 gm sugar 3 cups milk 1/2 tablespoon orange blossom (essence) 3/4 cup fresh cream 1/4 cup cashew nuts 1 tablespoon raisins 2 tablespoons almonds, coarsely chopped
Grease an oblong transparent baking dish and arrange croissants in it. In a deep pan boil milk and add sugar till it is dissolved. Pour over the croissants. Let it soak. Most of the milk will be absorbed. Sprinkle orange blossom, cover with cream and spread the nuts on top. Bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes. It can be served warm or cold.