Spicin’ It Up This Eid

Eid-ul-Fitr, the first of two annual Muslim festivals, is a time to appreciate, share (with those less fortunate) and be thankful for what Allah has bestowed upon us. It marks the beginning of the month of Shawwal, the tenth month in the Muslim calendar, with Ramadan (the month of fasting) as its immediate predecessor. The months in the Muslim calendar are based on the appearance of the new moon, so the lunar month can either be 29 or 30 days and is mostly unpredictable until the eve of the 29th day. It’s this suspense, this element of surprise that makes this Eid extra special for me.

‘Mubarak ho. Chand ho Ggya. Ammi kal Eid hai. Yayyyyy!’

English: Congratulations. The moon has been sighted. Mom, it’s Eid tomorrow. Yayyyyy!

Eagerly awaited by adults and children alike, this Eid is also dubbed as the ‘Meethi Eid‘ (or ‘Sweet Eid’) as it is a sunnah (i.e. practice) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to start your Eid day by eating something sweet, like dates. For me, Eid is waking up to enticing aromas wafting from the kitchen, my mom deep-frying her amazing samosas and puris (deep-fried flat bread) to be served with the Sheer-Khurma (a milk-based sweet dish). That is pretty much all the sweet I can take on Eid day and I just hate being forced to eat desserts when I venture out to meet friends and family; savaiyaan (vermicelli), cakes, cookies, kheer (rice pudding), candies and mithai (sweet meats) are just some of the infamous items on this long list.

What I crave though is something spicy, something savory, that is fulfilling without being too overpowering. As a result, we make sure that the mehmaans (guests) who come to visit the Bawany household aren’t bombarded with sweets; instead, we serve them a platter of mouth-watering treats (appetizers, if you may) that are a refreshing change from all the ‘sweet madness’ in the air. Here are two cheesy recipes that will spice things up a bit and will leave your guests wanting more.

Cheese Balls

These mouthwatering treats are fun to look at and taste amazing. Don’t let the potato-ish texture of these balls fool you as these are perfectly round bread balls with a cheesy chicken filling that just melts in your mouth. Let me dive straight into the recipe without getting too much drool on my keyboard. This recipe makes about 30 to 35 cheese balls.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast (make 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4-5 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp green chilies (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ½ tsp ajino-moto (a.k.a. MSG or Chinese salt)
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 30-35 slices of large-sized bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups bread crumbs
  • Oil for frying

Method

  1. Take a pan, add water, chicken, black pepper, chilies, ginger paste, garlic paste, ajino-moto and salt, and put it on medium heat till the chicken is well-done and all the water dries out.
  2. Once the chicken mixture has cooled down, shred it with your hands.
  3. Add in both the mozzarella cheese and the cheddar cheese to the chicken and mix well.
  4. Take a slice of bread and place about a teaspoon of the chicken filling in the center.
  5. Apply a little water on all the edges of the bread slice and fold all four corners of the bread towards the center.
  6. Form the filled bread into a ball while applying pressure on it with both hands.
  7. Take a bowl and beat the eggs in it.
  8. Dip the cheese ball into the egg for about 3 seconds and roll it into the bread crumbs.
  9. Once all the balls are made, deep-fry in oil on low-medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the outside is nice and golden.
  10. Serve immediately with a side of ketchup, green chutney or nacho cheese sauce.

Smoked Rolls

Smoked rolls are the result of one of my wife’s culinary experiments so I can’t really take credit for this. The recipe itself is deceptively simple, but yields a wonderfully crispy cheese-based concoction with a rich smoky flavor; once you pop, you can’t stop (sorry Pringles). The quantities below will yield about 60-70 rolls.

Ingredients

  • I chicken breast (make 1-inch cubes)
  • 4-5 tbsp chicken tikka masala (I know its a cop-out but I had no time to deconstruct this)
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 60-70 samosa pastry sheets (filo pastry works too)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2-3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Oil for frying

Method

  1. Take a pan, add chicken, chicken tikka masala, yogurt, and garlic paste, put it on low-medium heat till the chicken is well-done and all the water from the yogurt dries out.
  2. Once the chicken has cooled down, mince it and add in the grated cheddar cheese.
  3. In a separate pan, take water and all-purpose flour, and mix it evenly on a slow flame until it turns into a thick smooth paste; add more flour if necessary.
  4. Take one rectangular samosa pastry sheet and lay it down vertically in front of you.
  5. Take about a half teaspoon of the chicken filling and spread it in a thin line across the top edge (see image below).
  6. Roll down the pastry sheet firmly all the way to the end and firmly seal the other edge using the flour paste.
  7. Once all the rolls are made, deep-fry in oil on low-medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the outside is crisp and golden.
  8. Serve immediately with a side of ketchup, green chutney or nacho cheese sauce.

As I mentioned earlier, Eid-ul-Fitr is all about sharing with those who cannot afford even the basic necessities of life. Please remember them when you wear new clothes or give your alms, and don’t forget to pray for me once your platters are licked clean.

Eid Mubarak to everyone!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Spicin’ It Up This Eid

  1. Pingback: Spicin’ It Up This Eid « poet4justicedotwordpressdotcom

  2. hey yousuf, are you sure just a single breast will make 30-35 balls :S ? and do I cut the edges of the bread or not? And what if I have a ginger garlic paste combined, how much of it do I add then? Reply soon

    • Assalamoalaikum Ayesha,

      Yes. You’ll get anywhere between 25-35 cheese balls depending on how much filling you put in. As for the bread, I prefer leaving the edges on, but if you wish, you can cut it out. If you have a 50-50 ginger-garlic paste, add two teaspoons.

      Hope you like these; don’t forget to let me know how they turn out.

      Best Regards,
      Yousuf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s