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Id feast

Chicken Rezala

Rezala is a meat preparation in a creamy white gravy. It is an incredibly well-flavoured dish. A harmony of the taste of ghee, tempered by a slight tanginess brought in by curd, balanced by the subtle sweetness of sugar, climaxing with majestic whole spices or garam masala such as green cardamom, dry red chillies and bay leaves. Though it sounds exotic, it is quite easy to make at home.

Ingredients

Medium-sized chicken pieces, 500g

Baby onions, 10

Ghee, 100ml

Curd, 250g

Big onions, 2

Green chillies, 6

Bay leaves, 2

Ginger-garlic paste, 5tsp

Coriander powder, 1tsp

Cardamom, 6

Cloves, 4

Cinnamon, 1 small stick

Coconut, 1 piece

Cashew nuts, 25g

Sugar, 1tsp

Kewra water, 2tsp

Meetha ittar, 2 drops

Silver leaves, 2

Whole black pepper corn, ½ tsp

Salt, as per taste

Method

Wash and clean the chicken pieces thoroughly. Make a paste of the onions, coconut and cashew nuts separately. Take a big pan, pour some ghee and heat. Add the chicken, then the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, black pepper corn, ginger-garlic paste, coriander powder, ground onion paste, green chillies, baby onions and salt. Now add the coconut paste, cashew nut paste and curd. Stir well. Continue stirring and let it cook on a slow fire by covering the pan with a lid. Once the gravy is cooked and the chicken turns tender, remove from flame and add two teaspoons of kewra water, sugar and meetha ittar. Garnish with silver leaves. Serve hot. Tastes best with plain naan.

Galawati Kebabs

Legend has it that Galawati Kebab was specially created for the ageing Asaf-ud-Daulah, who was the nawab of Awadh (from 1775 to 1797). He had bad teeth and thus had a problem chewing meat. But a meat-lover at heart, he threw an open challenge to his cooks to prepare a dish that would need little chewing. His chefs were allowed an unlimited supply of ingredients and encouraged to experiment with new dishes. They finally succeeded in coming up with a kind of meat dish which the nawab could savour effortlessly. ‘Galawati’ means ‘melt in the mouth’ and was perfect for this meat-loving nawab who enjoyed it till his last days.

Ingredients

Minced mutton, 500g

Raw papaya paste, 50g

Roasted gram flour (sattu), 50g

Curd, 50g

Ghee, 100g

Kewra water, 2tbsp

Salt, as per taste

Dry pieces for grinding

Red chillies, 5 pcs

Coriander seeds, 1tbsp

Dry coconut, a big piece

Poppy seeds, 1tbsp

Cinnamon, ½ pc

Almonds, 10

Heat all the dry pieces and grind them finely.

For the masala paste

Ginger, 20g

Garlic, 15g

Black pepper, ½ tsp

Small onions, 2

Medium-sized fried and crushed onions, 2

Cloves, 5

Cardamom, 5

Mace, a small piece

Nutmeg, a pinch

Secret ingredient

A piece of burning coal!

For garnishing

Mint leaves, a few sprigs

Onion rings, few

Slices of lemon, few

Method

Grind the minced meat to a fine paste and marinate it with the raw papaya paste and salt for 30 minutes. Mix the ground masala, paste masala and the gram flour with the minced meat. Place a burning coal in the middle of a container containing the minced meat. Pour a tablespoon of ghee on the burning coal. Immediately put a lid on the container and keep it for about 20 minutes. Now allow the smoke to spread evenly and get infused with the meat. This enhances the aroma of the dish.

Now heat the rest of the ghee in a pan. Add the minced meat to the ghee along with the beaten curd and cook on a low flame. Stir continuously in order to prevent the meat from sticking together. Once the meat has been cooked, add two teaspoons of kewra water to the cooked meat. Garnish with mint leaves, onion rings and slices of lemon. Serve hot with parathas or roomali rotis.

Nargisi Kofta

In Urdu ghazals, one finds ample references to beautiful eyes while expressing the beauty of the beloved. One of the most popular Urdu couplets is that of the celebrated poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz who wrote, ‘Teri aankhon ke sivaa duniya mein rakhkha kya hai’ (What else is there in this world other than your eyes). The innovative cooks of Awadh designed Nargisi Kofta inspired by the beauty of the eye. The choice of eggs for this dish was appropriate as it resembles the human eye. ‘Nargisi aankhon’ means beautiful, expressive eyes. The word ‘kofta’ is derived from Persian ‘kufta’, meaning “to beat” or “to grind” or meatball.

Ingredients

Minced meat, 500g

Big onions, 3

Red chilli (whole), 4

Ginger-garlic paste, 4tsp

Roasted gram flour (sattu), 4tbsp

Cloves, 5

Cardamom, 5

Black pepper corn, 8

Cumin seeds, 1tsp

Poppy seeds, 1tbsp

Coconut, 1

Mint leaves, few

Eggs, 6

Ghee, 250ml or as needed

Salt, as per taste

Method

Hardboil the eggs. Chop mint leaves finely. Grind together poppy seeds, coconut, cloves, cardamoms, cumin seeds and chillies. Take a big raw onion and grind to a paste. Slice two onions. Fry them and grind to a paste. To the minced meat, add the ground spices, ginger-garlic paste and the onion paste (both raw and fried). Leave it aside to marinate for 1-2 hours.

Now add gram flour, salt and chopped mint leaves to the meat. Mix well. Remove the shells of the boiled eggs gently. Coat the eggs with the minced meat. Deep fry the eggs in ghee. Remove and slit eggs into two halves. Cut these koftas length-wise and garnish with mint leaves. Serve hot on a flat platter.

TOP TIP: The gram flour stops the mince coating from disintegrating.