A Stomach-Friendly Approach to Eid-al-Adha

Eid-al-Adha, one of the two festivals celebrated by all Muslims globally, marks the remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham – peace be upon him) commitment to sacrifice his own son Ismaeel (peace be upon him) to please Allah. Allah, impressed by this gesture of utmost devotion and unwavering loyalty, made it immortal by incorporating it as part of Hajj, an annual pilgrimage that brings millions of Muslims to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It gives me chills just to think what we would be sacrificing had Allah not replaced Ismaeel with a sheep/ram.

Sacrifices aside, the thing we all look forward to most is the food and the endless BBQs that are sure to follow. However, after a few meat-eating days, one (or shall I say ‘the stomach’?) finally deserves a refreshing break from all the heaviness. Its often difficult to find the right balance between light and delicious; fortunately, there are a few middle-eastern staples that fit the bill. I decided to take an Arabian approach to this post as an homage to the roots of this festival.

As usual, I added a Pakistani twist to both recipes, so instead of a traditional Shawarma and Shish Tawook, I present to you the Roast Beef Shawarma with Hummus and Shish Malai Boti with Vegetables.

Roast Beef Shawarma with Hummus

Ingredients:

  • For Roast Beef
    • 1/2 kg beef (single lean cut)
    • 3 tbsp ginger paste
    • 2 tbsp green chili paste
    • 1/2 cup vinegar
    • salt to taste
    • 2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp red chilies (ground)
    • 4-5 cups water
  • For Hummus with Tahini
    • 1 cup garbanzo beans (canned works best but you can also boil at home)
    • 1 tsp sesame seeds
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic
    • 3 tbsp yogurt
    • salt to taste
    • olives for garnish
    • paprika or cayenne pepper for garnish
  • For Shawarma
    • 6-8 pita bread
    • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
    • 2 cups iceberg lettuce (thinly sliced)
    • 1 cup picked jalapenos, cucumbers, gherkins, beetroots and carrots (thinly sliced)
    • 1 cup tomatoes (cubed)
    • 1 cup cabbage (thinly sliced)

Method:

  1. Take a pan and add all the ingredients for the roast beef into it; cook on low flame till all the meat is tender and all the water has dried out.
  2. Wrap the meat in a foil and put it in the oven for 3-5 minutes on medium temperature. This step is optional.
  3. Take it out of the oven and let it cool. Cut into thin slices and set aside.
  4. Put garbanzo beans, sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic, yogurt and salt into a jug and blend till everything is a smooth paste; set it aside in a bowl.
  5. Cut pita bread into half and spread a tablespoon of hummus on the inside.
  6. Add two to three slices of roast beef to it.
  7. Top it off with onions, iceberg lettuce, cabbage, pickled vegetables and tomatoes.
  8. Serve with a side of hummus (garnish with paprika/cayenne and olives) and pickled vegetables.

Note: You can easily pickle vegetables at home. Just dice the veggies you wish to pickle and mix them in vinegar, some salt and sugar. Heat this mix in a pan for 5-7 minutes to get instant results.

Shish Malai Boti with Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • For Malai Boti
    • 2 chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch cubes)
    • 2 tsp ginger & garlic paste
    • 1/2 tsp white cumin seeds (roasted and powdered)
    • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (roasted and powdered)
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 3 tbsp cream (one that rises to the surface after boiling & cooling whole full-fat milk)
    • 3 tbsp fresh cream (a.k.a. heavy cream)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp green chili paste
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • 1 tsp red chili powder
    • 1 tbsp vinegar
    • 3 tbsp yogurt
    • salt to taste
  • For Shish
    • 15-20 bamboo skewers
    • 2 tomatoes (cut into eighths)
    • 2 onions (cut into eighths)
    • 2 capsicums (cut into eighths)
  • Optional Ingredients
    • 1 small piece of hot coal
    • 1 tsp olive oil

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for malai boti and marinate the chicken for 1 hour.
  2. Put the marinated chicken in a pan and cook on medium flame till it is tender.
  3. If you like adding a smokey flavor to the chicken, (a) take a small steel bowl and put it in the center of the pan, (b) place the hot coal into it, (c) drizzle the olive oil on the coal, (d) cover the pan immediately, (e) let it stay for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Once the chicken has cooled significantly, put the individual cubes onto bamboo skewers interleaved with pieces of tomato, onion and capsicum.
  5. To give the skewers a slight char, place them directly over a flame; be careful not to set the bamboo skewers on fire.
  6. Serve with a side of tamarind chutney or mint raita.

Eid is all about sharing with people less fortunate than us. So if you are sacrificing something, a goat, a cow or a camel, please ensure that those around you don’t go hungry on this auspicious occasion.

A very happy Eid Moo-Baa-Rak to everyone!

Cheers,
Yousuf

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7 thoughts on “A Stomach-Friendly Approach to Eid-al-Adha

  1. They look delicious, will have to try making them sometime or find a restaurant near by that can provide something as fresh!

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign « Insanity at its best!

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