Yummy Biryani for Eid Celebration!


Eid-Ul-Fitr which will be celebrated this weekend all over the world marks the gratifying end of month long diligent fasting from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadaan for all our Muslim friends. Actual dates of Eid and its 3-day festivities are based on moon sightings but as per the Gregorian calendar, it falls about 11 days earlier each successive year, giving fresh dates for celebration quite literally. These dates also regulate the pilgrimage cycle at Mecca known as "Hajj" and "Umrah".

Cresent moon sighting 

The festivities begin the night before Eid when the sublime thin crescent moon is spotted in the evening sky labeling the gleeful evening "Chandraat". Women and girls decorate their palms with henna and start preparing for a blissful breakfast feast made with milk, dates and dry fruits as tradition calls.There are joyous crowds of families as they shop at late night bazaars buying clothes and gifts for their loved ones. Excited children begin the countdown to getting cash and gifts from their elders in celebration of Eid which is also referred to as "Eiddie", traditionally all elders are required to treat their younger relatives with treats or pocket money. 

Sheer Kurma

The day begins with new clothes, fragrant perfume and a sweet breakfast of vermicelli called "Sheer khurma" which is a Persian word that literally means made with milk, dates and dry fruits. Then it is time to offer communal prayers referred to as "Eid al-Fitr Salat" to celebrate the end of the fasting. Sharing gifts of food and clothes with those less fortunate and donating 2.5% of family income to charity are mandatory practices for all Muslims which is known as "Zakat".

Early morning Eid Namaz " Eid al-Fitr Salat"

The next 3 days are spent meeting and greeting friends and family and sharing delicious food and gifts with all. Ramadaan is a pious month focused on strengthening the Muslims' bond with Allah and seeking his forgiveness and benevolence for the coming year. 

Below is the recipe for a simple vegetable Biryani created by Nupur Arora of Team Shokunin. Although Biryani is usually cooked with chicken, mutton or beef on Eid, she decided vegetable biryani would be an interesting route to get everyone involved in this exciting festival. Eid Mubarak everyone, let's get the feast started!

 

Simple Vegetable Biryani 

Ingredients 

Basmati rice   1 cup 
Mixed seasonal vegetables assorted (mushrooms, broccoli, carrots)  ½ cup 

For the vegetable curry base 

Oil  4 tbsp  
Large onion (chopped)   1 
Large tomato (chopped)1 
Garlic cloves (minced)7 
Ginger (minced)1”  
Cumin seeds ¼ tsp 
Salt to taste 
Paprika 1 tsp 
Coriander powder 1 tsp 
Turmeric powder ½ tsp 
Garam masala ¼ tsp 
Water ¼ cup 

For the rice 

Cloves (whole)2 
Star anise1 
Cinnamon stick ½” 
Butter 2 tsp 
Water 6 cups 

Method 

Wash the basmati rice till the water runs clear. Then soak it and leave aside. 
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add cumin seeds and allow to splutter. Then add ginger and garlic and sautee for a few seconds. 
Add chopped onions and sautee till dark brown. Add chopped tomatoes, salt and dry spices. 
Sautee till the tomatoes break down. 
Add vegetables and coat with the onion tomato curry. Put a ¼ cup of water and a pinch of garam masala. 
Cover and allow the vegetables to soften slightly about 5 minutes 
Remove lid and sautee further till oil separates from the vegetable curry. 

Making the rice

In a wide pan, boil 6 cups of water with 11/2 tsp salt, cloves and star anise. 
Drain the soaked rice and put into the boiling water. 
Allow to boil for exactly 6 minutes on a high flame. 
Drain into a colander, cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes till all excess water has drained off. 

Assembling the dish 

Start layering the rice and vegetable curry alternately. Top with lemon wedges and cilantro. With the back of a spoon, poke some holes around the layers and in the center. 
Drizzle butter into these holes. They will help to regulate the steam and flavor the biryani as that happens. 
Place a tea towel on the pot and cover with a tight fitting lit on top of the tea towel. Lower the heat to minimum and cook for 5 minutes exactly. 
Turn off the heat and let the biryani rest for a few minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving the delicate aromatic biryani to your guests for Eid. 
 
 

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