Monday, December 8, 2008


Eid Mubrarak! Happy Holidays!

For lunch on the first day of Eid al Adha {see wgaw archive:  eid}, a cloven hoofed animal (sheep, goat, cow or camel) is scarified and eaten as a rememberance of Ibrahim's sacrifice to God.

As Eid approaches the holding pens become full with sheep and goats and then they suddenly empty as the animals are sacrificed. The animals are killed the day before Eid, or yesterday, in preparation for lunch today. It was reported in the newspapers approximately 2 million sheep and goats were sacrificed in Mecca alone.

After slaughtering the meat is cooked, often into a dish called Biryani [bih-ree-arn-nee]. The food is shared with immediate family and friends and then distributed on large oval plates throughout the immediate community.

Recipe for Biryani

Ingredients - Meat
1 shoulder of lamb
spices: cinnamon, cumin, cardamom
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion

Ingredients - Rice
3 cups basmati rice

Ingredients - Fried Nut Mixture
spices: cinnamon
1 onion, sliced into rings
sultanas (handful)
sliced almonds (handful)
pine nuts (handful)

1 - To Prepare the Meat:
Put all the spices in a grinder and blend until a powder is formed. Rub the ground spices over both sides of the lamb and then rub oil all over the meat. Place the meat in a roasting dish and put into a pre-heated oven at 425 F.
After 20 minutes remove the pan from the oven and cover the lamb with water, adding the onion and garlic. Cover the top with foil and place back into the oven at 300 F and cook for another 3 and a half hours.

2 - To Prepare the Rice:
Put the rice in a saucepan and cover with water. Wash the rice and pour out the water. Repeat this process three or four more times, or until the water stays clear. Cover with water and bring to the boil, cooking the rice until it is just soft.
Remove the rice from the heat, take to the sink and drain away the water. Now wash the rice in cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain the ricein a colendar. Now add oil to the bottom of the saucepan and return this to the lowest possible heat. Put the rice back in the saucepan and allow to cook for at least an hour.

3 - To Prepare the Condiments:
In a saucepan, fry the onion with the oil until quite brown. Then add the sliced almonds, sultanas and pine nuts. Cook until the nuts are golden. Keep to one side.

4 - To Serve:
Put the rice on the plates, arrange the meat in the middle of each plate of rice and then decorate the top of the meat with the fried nut mixture.

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