An Eid Story
Generosity and hospitality are most abundant in our Muslim brothers. More so on Eid.
Eid-ul-Adha is a festival that involves sacrificing an animal. Not just any animal, but one that you have looked after and fed and started to care for. This shows the extent of sacrifice (Qurbani) that you would make for God.
The meat is then divided into three equal parts, one for the poor, another one for friends and relatives, and the last one for yourself.
In India, this tends to be a goat that is bought a few months ahead and taken care of and fed to be nice and plump before the slaughter.
The meat, therefore, is a lot better and fatter compared to your regular everyday mutton. It tastes this good only once a year. Eid time.
For breakfast, simply fried liver is served with salt, pepper, and a good squeeze of lemon juice. This is followed by hectic preparations and cooking a variety of dishes. Trotters are cooked as Paya a soupy gravy. Head is consumed too as Siri. The brain is cooked on a griddle and is lightly spiced. Practically every part of the animal is used.
Some special dishes are kebabs, korma, and biryani. The sweet dish is a Phirni – an Indian rice custard. The entire food is very aromatic, flavourful, and rich in fats. Not too chili hot though.
I am not a Muslim and Eid is not celebrated at our home but my memories of it are vivid.
Pulla uncle had a mutton export business in Sadar Bazar in New Delhi. He was not an uncle, not even a family friend. He had an endless supply of fattened goats that he had reserved for his Eid sacrifice. He was generous and slaughtered quite a few of them for the festival.
He was a friend of the father of my friend Anurag. We used to tag along for Eid ki Dawat (feast of Eid) every year. That was the only time we ever met him.
We were welcomed like a part of the extended family. Served lovingly. There used to be several sittings and so many eating at the dastarkhwan (floor seating of equality, normally men and women eat separately) of this stranger uncle.
Sana Khan, a home chef, and her husband, who I had never met, remembered me on this Eid and kept me a portion from the friends and family third of the animal.
Some bonds cannot be explained I suppose. These bonds are based on my “Kissa Kahani” or nostalgic stories from my life.
They came a long way to my home from the winding streets of old Delhi bearing dishes that were outstanding stand-alone, the emotion and affection made them fit as food for angels.
Moist biryani with that really fatty meat that is available only around Eid. A delectable mutton korma, some Khameeri Roti (leavened tandoori bread), and sheermaal (a sweet bread) from the bread makers of old Delhi and the sweetest and most flavourful Phirni ever.
Reminded me of Pulla uncle and the fact that all are welcome and included in Eid.