Celebrate Eid With These Delicious Recipes
To mark this year’s Eid-al-Fitr, we bring you a bunch of delectable recipes from the different regions of India. Try them out, and spread the joy
Eid is a celebration of family and food—of feasting after fasting with loved ones. To mark this year’s Eid-al-Fitr, we bring you a bunch of delectable recipes from the different regions of India. We have curated this selection from accomplished home chefs and food enthusiasts in different cities. Many of these delicious recipes, passed through generations, tell stories of times gone by, of people and places that may have been lost along the way. Try them out, and spread the joy.
Hungry in Hyderabad
Dr Afzal Jehan Friese grew up in a large joint family in Hyderabad where Eid was a time of great celebration and joy. She remembers her home coming alive with the laughter of siblings and cousins and the women of the house busy with all the preparations. And then goats being sacrificed on the day of the feast on Bakri Eid. “Sheer khorma was my favourite; it’s supposed to be a light treat boiled in milk, to be had after all the fasting. However, we Indians like to make our celebrations count, and so Sheer khorma was made rich and spicy,” laughs Dr Friese. “I remember my grandmother seated on a skateboard-like stool in her kitchen, rolling the sevian dough,” she adds. The taste of her childhood, though, is Chota Tala Hua Gosht—balls of ghee and rice, with dried strips of mutton, roasted on a coal fire. Dr Friese first tasted biryani at the age of 22—as children in their family were not allowed to eat spicy food. But she has been cooking it for years for her friends and family during Eid—although these days this treat has become a rare one. Here are two recipes from her kitchen.
Tai Jaan ki Biryani
- 1 kg lamb or goat meat (a mix of chops, marrow bone with meat and shoulder meat)
- Half to three-fourth kilos of rice depending on how meaty you want it
- Hung curd (need ¾ to 1 kg of sour curd hung up to drain out the whey in a cheese cloth to give you ½ kg of hung curd)
- Four large onions thinly sliced
- A heaped teaspoon each of ginger paste and garlic paste
- 1 tsp of finely grated raw papaya
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- Four green chillies slit in half
- ½ kg ghee
- ¼ tsp saffron threads
- Juice of three limes
- ½ cup of milk
- A handful of fresh coriander
- Half a handful of mint
- Khada (whole) masala: four whole green cardamom pods, five cloves, ½ inch piece of cinnamon, ten peppercorns, one flat teaspoon of caraway seeds (shahi zeera)
- Ground masala: Two green chillies, four green cardamom pods, four cloves, half an inch cinnamon, ½ tsp shahi zeera, five or six peppercorns all finely ground together
- Rub the cleaned, cut, washed meat with the ginger, garlic and papaya pastes and set aside. Add the red chilli powder to the marinade as well as half the ghee.
- Wash the rice thoroughly, drain and set aside.
- Fry the finely sliced onions in ghee till golden brown and spread out on a paper towel
- In the same ghee, fry the khada masala and drain the ghee out, but set it aside.
- In the same pan in which the khada masala was fried, put in the soaked rice very carefully with a little bit of ghee and the fried khada masala and stir the rice over a low flame so that the grains are well coated with the mix.
- Now place the hung curd in a large bowl and add the marinated meat (should have been left for two or three hours), the ground masala, three-fourths of the fried, and now crisp, onions crushed and mix well with your hands so that the meat is evenly coated in all the mixed ingredients.
- Now place the meat–curd–spice mixture in the pot in which the biryani will be cooked. Pat it down flat.
- Spread the rice and khada masala over the meat and pour the juice of the limes over the rice and do the same with milk.
- Scatter the onion threads over the rice, spread the uncrushed browned onions as well as roughly chopped fresh coriander, mint and slit green chillies.
- Add enough (warm) water so it covers the rice, one digit over the top.
- Put on the fire over high heat till it begins to boil.
- Turn the heat down to medium.Cover the container with a lid and seal with atta. Keep cooking on medium to low flame, until the aroma fills your kitchen. Cook for another 10 mins and let it cool a bit before breaking the atta seal and serving.
Suraiya’s Mirchi ka Saalan
- Five- to six-inch-long green or red chillies—the kind you use for chilli pickle
- Four large onions
- 10 to 15 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
- About one-inch-long piece of ginger
- 1 tbsp whole coriander
- 1 tsp whole cumin
- 3 tbsp white sesame seeds
- A good handful of peanuts
- ½ tbsp of of poppy seeds
- ¼ ball of copra (dessicated coconut)
- ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- Juice of four lemons
- A whole sprig of kadi patta
- Salt to taste
- A cup of oil
- Slit the chillies and rub with salt.
- Holding the peeled onions with tongs, roast over a flame until they begin to char and are soft and aromatic.
- Roast the garlic on a tava till aromatic and once it cools peel the skin.
- Roast separately (dry roast) the coriander, cumin, sesame and poppy seeds, peanuts and the copra (best if you grate the copra). Grind everything together including the peeled ginger. Add the chilli powder and the lime juice.
- Fill the slit large chillis with some of the ground paste.
- Heat the oil and add the kadi patta then carefully put in the stuffed chillies and the rest of the masala paste and cook on medium heat until the oil separates.
Eid celebrations in Hyderabad from 1936, a photo by Syed Abdul Jabbar (Image courtesy Dr Afzal Jehan Friese)
Dum Ke Sewai
For veteran photographer and writer Nishat Fatima, Eid in Hyderabad is synonymous with another dish—dum ke sewai. She admits that she may be biased, but for her, this is a standout dish that finds a permanent place on the table during Eid.
The following recipe has been shared by her mother, Farida Hussain.
- ½ kg sewai
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups grated khoya
- 1 cup almonds ground to paste
- 1 cup ghee
- 2 pinch saffron soaked in warm milk
- Deep fry sewai in ghee.
- Make chashni (treacle) of one taar. Add khoya. Take off stove.
- When it is slightly cooler, add the almond paste, then saffron. Add the sewai to it. Mix without breaking.
- Put it on stove and cook in low flame. With the sewai cooked, keep the vessel on a tawa on the stove, cover the dish, put a weight on the lid and cook for 5 mins.
- Serve with chopped almonds.
Lapping it up in Lucknow
“Since this festival is all about sharing—love, food, and culture—it’s an open-house in our home on Eid and anyone could come in and enjoy a delicious feast with the family at our haveli. Decadent dishes flavoured with history, passed through generations. One dish special to the city of Nawabs that has always found a place at our Eid table is Patili ke kabab, a version of the famous Lucknowi galouti kababs. Unlike the typical cutlet shape (tikki or round), this melt-in-the-mouth, hand-pounded kabab is, instead, served in the form of keema, garnished with onion rings and served with sheermal,” says Sheeba Iqbal Jairajpuri, who runs Aab O Dana, at her 118-year-old heritage haveli in Nakhas in old Lucknow.
Here’s the recipe from Jairajpuri that has won the hearts of her many patrons and got them coming back for more:
Patili ke Kabab
- Take ½ kg hand-ground mutton keema. Mix in 5 tsp ginger-garlic paste, 50 g raw papaya paste, 50 g desiccated coconut and 25 g white poppy seeds. Marinate it for 3 hours.
- Pour 150 ml vegetable oil in a pressure cooker.
- Fry 250 g sliced onions till brown.
- Add the marinated keema and pressure-cook it for about 20 minutes.
- Open and mix in 100 g curd. Cook until the oil separates.
- Add 2 tsp salt (or as per taste) and 2 tsp garam masala. Mix well and cook for a minute. Garnish with mint leaves.
- Serve hot with sheermal.
Must-Eats in Mumbai
On a typical Bohri thaal on Eid, you are likely to find a host of delectable dishes. A bowl of Sheer Korma is a must, but nihari, paaya soup, mutton dum biryani and dal chawal palida are just as likely to adorn the large plate, which typically feeds up to eight people. The Bohri community, a quintessential part of Mumbai’s Muslim population, is known as much for their love of food as they are for their joie de vivre. Dal chawal palida is the community’s favourite celebratory dish.
"It’s a simple but authentic Bohri dish that really blends the flavours of togetherness and love. If you find dal chawal palida on a thaal, it means it’s time for a celebration. As opposed to a complicated biryani, it's an easy dish to make and its ingredients easily available,” says Mariyam Kachwala, marketing manager, The Bohri Kitchen.
This is a recipe from Nafisa Kapadia, mom-chef at The Bohri Kitchen.
Dal Chawal Palida
Image courtesy The Bohri Kitchen
- 200 g tur dal (preferably oil-coated telwali)
- 1 tbs methi dana (fenugreek seeds)
- 1 tbsp jeera (cumin)
- 2 tbsp garlic chopped finely
- 2 tbsp chana atta (gram flour or besan)
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 to 4 tomatoes chopped finely
- 2 to 3 kokum
- 4 drumsticks peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder
- Salt to taste
For dal chawal
- The left-over dal from the palida
- 400 g basmati rice soaked for 2 hours
- 2 tbsp garlic chopped
- 3 onions sliced
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 2 or 3 cloves
- 2 tbsp jeera (cumin)
- 1 capsicum sliced
- 2 to 3 tbsp ghee
- In a big pan, cook the dal with 5 cups of water, salt and turmeric. The dal should not be overcookedit should remain whole. Strain the dal and keep the water.
- In another pan, take 2 tbsp oil, add garlic, saute till golden brown, then add fenugreek, cumin, red chilli powder, turmeric and besan.
- Stir for some time till you get the smell of roasted besan. Now add the onions and tomatoes. Pour in the water of the dal slowly, stirring continuously, so that no lumps form. Add the kokum, drumsticks and let the palida cook on slow flame till the drumsticks are cooked. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander.
For dal chawal
- Boil water in a large pan. After the water starts boiling, add the soaked basmati rice. Add salt and the juice of one lime (put extra salt, because there is excess water which will be drained). After two or three boils, when the rice is half-cooked, drain out the rice in a strainer. Pour some cold water on the rice, to stop its cooking process.
- In another pan, take ghee, and heat it. Add garlic and stir till golden brown, add cumin, cloves and cinnamon. Then add the onions and fry till golden brown. Add the capsicum and cook for 2 minutes, and then add the dal.
- Now, in a flat-bottomed pan, put a layer of basmati rice, followed by a layer of dal and rice again. Garnish with fried onions. Pour another 2 spoons of ghee over it. Simmer it for 20 minutes on a tawa.
- Serve with fried papads, baigan ka bharta (mashed eggplant) and pickles.
Eid at Jama Masjid, Old Delhi (Image: Shutterstock)
Kolkata’s Culinary Chops
“Walk by any eatery specializing in serving up Mughlai delicacies in Kolkata and its outskirts and you will most likely find a massive lagan (large skillet) of chaap being tended to right there on the footpath. Chaap is as ubiquitous in Kolkata's Mughlai eateries, big and small, as biryani. It is a preparation where thin slices of meat are marinated, usually tenderized, and fried in oil at a very low temperature over a long period of time,” says Insiya Poonawala, who runs Bong Eats, a popular YouTube channel with Saptarshi Chakraborty.
“The Kolkata chaap in particular has generous amounts of spicy gravy and is served with a drizzling of the oil it is cooked in. Enjoy it with naan, tandoori roti, rumali roti, paratha, or a plate of warm aromatic biryani. Beef chaap is especially popular among aficionados. But if substituting beef with mutton, use mutton chops (mutton chaap). Do bear in mind, however, that mutton takes longer to cook and become tender,” Poonawala adds.
Here are Insiya Poonawala’s recipes for beef or mutton chaap and phirni.
Image courtesy Bong Eats
- 500 g beef/mutton (1-cm-thick slices)
- 50 g onion
- 10 g ginger
- 10 g garlic
- 4 pcs green chillies
- 40 g cashew nuts
- 50 g charmagaz (mixed melon seeds)
- 20 g posto (poppy seeds)
- 10 g chhatu (roasted-gram flour)
- 120 g yoghurt
- 20 g khoya kheer or mawa (reduced, solidified milk)
- 4 g shahi garam masala
- 10 g Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 2 g turmeric
- 15 g salt
- 8 g kewra water
- 10 g rose water
- 4 drops meetha attar
- 1 pinch saffron (in 1 tbsp milk)
- 1 pinch yellow food colour (optional)
- 10 g kacha pepe (unripe, green papaya; optional)
- Dalda (vegetable shortening) for frying
- Ghee for frying
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Soak poppy seeds, cashew nuts and charmagaz in water for at least 2 hours. Then drain the water and make a paste, first of the poppy seeds, and then of cashew and charmagaz together.
- Roughly chop onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies, and make a paste of these too.
- Transfer all the pastes to a large mixing bowl.
- Mix in yoghurt, chhatu, shahi garam masala, Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric, salt, kewra water, rose water, meetha attar and saffron (mixed in 1 tbsp warm milk).
- Grate khoya kheer and add it to the bowl too.
- Add grated papaya to the mix. Papaya skin contains an enzyme called papain, which breaks down meat proteins and helps tenderise it.
- Lay a beef slice between two sheets of plastic and use a mallet or pestle to gently flatten it. This will lead to tender chaap. However, be careful not to hammer too forcefully or the meat may fall apart. Add the slices to the prepared mixture, making sure to coat each slice well on both sides. Leave them to marinate for 2 hours.
- Heat dalda, ghee and vegetable oil in a large, flat, heavy-bottomed pan on low heat. We used these in the ratio 2:1:4. The fat should be 2 cm deep. Don’t heat the oil up too much; chaap needs to be fried in oil at a very low temperature (150°C) for a long time.
- Lower the marinated beef into the oil. Try and keep the meat as far away from the direct flame as possible. The best practice is to line the edge of the pan with the meat.
- Fry for about an hour or until the meat is tender, turning over once in a while to cook it evenly from both sides.
- Once the meat is soft enough that it breaks apart using just two fingers and the gravy has acquired a nutty brown colour, remove from the oil and serve.
Yields 6 servings
Phirni is a creamy, starchy, rice-based, set dessert, popular in many cuisines of South Asia. This is a recipe for the Kolkata-style phirni, similar to what is served at popular Kolkata Mughlai eateries such as Aminia, Arsalan, Shiraz, Aliah, Shabir, etc. It is made with very simple ingredients—rice flour, whole milk, sugar and flavouring agents (we are using saffron in our recipe, but you could also replace it with kewra water).
Image courtesy Bong Eats
- 75 g basmati rice (non-parboiled or aatop chaal)
- 1 litre full-fat milk
- 75 g sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ tsp cardamom powder (freshly ground)
- 4–5 strands saffron (you can replace this with kewra water if you like)
- Wash the rice and soak it in water for 30 minutes. Be careful not to overwash or we’ll lose the starch, which we want to preserve for creaminess of the phirni. After 30 minutes of soaking, strain the rice over a colander and leave it to air-dry.
- Soak the maati’r bhnaar in water for 30 minutes as well. Try using new bhnaar, as these are porous and absorb water from the phirni, allowing it to dry up and set thoroughly.
- Once dry, transfer the rice to a grinder and reduce it to a powder in 4 or 5 short pulses. The grind should neither be too coarse nor too fine. Take 1 cup of milk out of the total milk and mix the rice flour in it. Premixing rice flour with cold milk before adding it to hot milk will prevent clumping.
- Gently toast some cardamom pods in a pan and crush them to a powder. Sift through a tea-strainer to ensure the powder is fine. We need ½ a tsp of cardamom powder; we got ours from 4 large pods of cardamom.
- Heat milk in a heavy-bottomed pan and reduce it on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then add the rice flour and cold milk mixture, and stir immediately to prevent rice from clumping.
- Add 4 or 5 strands of saffron or 1 tsp of kewra water (whichever you are using) to the pan.
- Continue reducing on low heat until the phirni thickens. Keep stirring continuously, as that will help release starch and make the phirni creamy.
- Once the rice is cooked, add sugar and a pinch of salt. Don’t skip the salt—it balances the sweetness and makes a big difference to the taste of phirni! Also add the cardamom powder now.
- Keep cooking until the phirni reaches the right consistency. It should neither be too thick, nor too thin—when poured, it should just about find its own level.
- Transfer to the maati’r bhnaar (clay cup), or any ceramic or glass bowl to set. Cover the bowls/dishes with a plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 24 hours to set completely. The plastic covering will prevent the phirni from absorbing any ‘funny fridge smells’. Serve chilled.
Yields 5 servings
Burping in Bengaluru
For Yassir Siraj, ande ki mithai' is synonymous with Eid since his childhood. His mother Anisa (of Bengaluru’s Anisa’s Kitchen) is an expert at creating this popular dish from the kitchens of Kutchi Memons. “The dish’s origin, I have no doubt, is Kutch in Gujarat. It may have begun in the Middle East, but I am not very sure. But you will find it in almost in every Memon household in Bengaluru. I would also say that it found wide acceptance as one of the most popular dishes during Eid in the south,” says Siraj. It may be a baked dish, but it is known for its cake-like silky texture. This dish has a number of variants. Here’s one.
Ande Ki Mithai
- Eggs - 6 (some use egg-white only)
- Sugar - 2 cups
- Khoya - 200 g
- Milk - 3 or 4 cups
- Vanilla essence- 1 tsp
- Almond - 30 g
- Ghee - ½ cup
- Saffron - 15 strands
- Add egg white and yolk in a bowl or a blender and whip well.
- Blend in sugar, khoya, vanilla, sugar, ghee, milk and saffron to the egg mix.
- Add the mixture to a thick-bottomed pan and cook until it thickens.
- Pour the mixture in a buttered oven pan and add sliced almonds on the top.
- In a preheated oven, bake the dish for 15-20 minutes. Stick a toothpick into the centre of the mithai to check if it is baked well. If it is sticky, bake it for a few more minutes.
- Serve it warm or at room temperature.
Recipe by Anisa Siraj, who runs Anisa’s Kitchen
Appetized in Aligarh
Sheba Asif, a skilful cook and mother of two from Lucknow, described her first Eid as a married woman in Aligarh. Let loose in the kitchens of her new home, she had to figure out the menu, get the ingredients ... simple! In her opinion she did a wonderful job, preparing a full table of yakhni pulao, korma shami kabab, the dahi bara and even sheer ...
In walked her Ammi ... she took a quick look and proclaimed, "Arre jao bachchi … Gulatthi kahan hain?" Gulatthi refers to a dessert very specific to Aligarh and since sheer is no Gulatthi pièce de résistance on Eid, the pursuit to get the perfect Gulatthi began ...
If you would like to recreate the same piece (hopefully under less pressure), then here it is for you.
- 1 litre of milk
- 300 g of sugar (but this can be tweaked as per your taste—some prefer it sweeter)
- 250 g of khoya (mawa)
- 300 g of assorted dry fruits, broken or chopped to small pieces—kaju (cashew), badam (almond), pista, walnut, raisins
- 2 tbsp of rice soaked and grounded to a very fine paste with milk
- 1 tsp of cardamom powder
- Take the milk and boil it in a saucepan till it reduces by a quarter.
- Add the rice paste, mix it well and boil it for a few minutes. Then add the dry fruits. Keep stirring.
- Let it cook for five minutes and then add the sugar. Stirring well is a must here, otherwise it may become lumpy.
- Add the khoya. Let it simmer for a while and sprinkle it with the cardamom powder.
- Voila! It’s ready. It tastes best served cold!
Recipe by Sheba Asif
Ravenous in Rampur
Sakina Yusuf Khan was married into a Rampur family where she picked up the best of the renowned Nawabi cuisine. Eid in the Khan family is never complete without Mufaafar, a sweet vermicelli treat, that is everyone’s favourite dessert.
- 250 g Banarasi (or any fine) sewai
- 125 g ghee/ refined oil
- 750 ml milk
- 500 g sugar
- 125 g khoya (crumbled)
- 5 green cardamoms
- 5 cloves
- 20 blanched and slivered almonds
- Few strands of saffron soaked in 50 ml milk
- Take sewai strands and crush to small bits.
- Dry roast it in a heavy-bottomed pan till you get a roasted aroma. Take out the sewai from the pan. In the same pan add ghee/refined oil.
- Add green cardamoms and cloves. Wait till it begins to crackle.
- Add the milk and bring to a boil. Add half of the sugar. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the roasted sewai, reduce heat and cook for 2 minutes.
- Once the sewai softens add the remaining sugar and crumbled khoya. (If you add all the sugar at first go the sewai will not soften).
- Cover and cook for 2 more minutes. Finally, add the saffron soaked in milk and slivered almonds.
- Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Serve hot or cold.
Recipe by Sakina Yusuf Khan
Inputs by Saptak Choudhury, V. Kumara Swamy, Mohini Mehrotra, Moeena Halim, Gayathri Sankar, Sanghamitra Chakraborty and Pratishtha Dobhal