Eid 2020, lockdown celebrations at Scotia Spice.
Well it is Eid this weekend and it’ll be like no other we’ve had!
It’s so hard to believe that lockdown started way back in March when it was still getting dark in the early evening and here we are looking the end of May in the eye. Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, is nearly over and we’re getting ready to celebrate Eid in our house.
In my family Eid celebrations mean two things, new clothes for the kids and food, food and more food.
Surprise clothes shopping for a 22-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter is stressful at the best of times, never mind when the shops are shut! it’s been a challenge, but I’ve discovered some fabulous new online businesses making sustainable and fun clothing….no more details just in case they read this, is that likely??!! Anyway, a tick in that box so on to more delicious matters.
What should the menu be? In true family style every dish served on the day is a treat and must be either very sweet or very savoury, very indulgent, and of course very Punjabi. We all have our favourites that must be accommodated but I do like a little wiggle room to create something extra too.
I have spent a lot of the weekend pondering and discussing and trying to work out how I can get hold of everything in one trip to the shop. Of course, there will be last minute revisions, probably a necessity for this year, but also where is the fun if you can’t heed the siren call of yet another treat?
Breakfast if I can get hold of it, Jalebi…. those crazy deep fried orange noodles soaked in sugar syrup, bad for you in every way, a trashy breakfast tradition I’ve had for decades now!
The main meal of the day will be mid afternoon, late enough to develop a proper hunger but not too late that full tummies can’t be rested for a good few hours before bedtime. So this year to start, light but luscious aloo tikki, little potato cakes. Then chicken curry, lamb is more traditional but my lot look so woeful at the idea that chicken curry might not be on the menu that its not worth it! There will be vegetables, okra if I can get them, potato and peas too. Home made chapathi, fluffy basmati rice, chutneys and raitas. To round it all off oodles of peppermint tea and brightly coloured Punjabi sweetmeats.
Just in case we all need a little something before bedtime I’m going to play around with creating Kheer, slow cooked Indian rice pudding rich and sweet and comforting and a recipe I’ve been wanting to have my own take on for years….I’ll let you know how it goes next time I blog.
In the meantime a couple of recipes so you can join in too .Don’t forget you can always buy our recipe kits for the chicken curry and much more on the website.
Suitable for home freezing
A good chicken curry is a well-loved and regular dish in every Punjabi home. Every family will have their own version. This is the way my Mum always cooked it and the way I cook it.
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
½ green pepper, sliced
1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp chilli or to taste
Salt to taste
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 medium chicken thighs, skinned and diced
Using a large saucepan, simmer the onion, pepper, tomato, garlic and ginger together in 200ml of water for 5 minutes. This will soften the vegetables and form the basis of your masala sauce.
Now add your coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric, followed by chilli and salt to taste. Leave to simmer for a minute.
Turn the heat to high and add the oil. Stir on a high heat constantly until the fat separates and you are left with a glossy finish and your sauce smells spicy and aromatic. This can take a few minutes but be patient, it’s vital to the finished taste of your curry.
Keep the heat high and add the chicken. Sear the chicken pieces in your masala sauce until they are sealed. If the chicken gives off any liquid, keep cooking until it evaporates and you have once again have a glossy sauce. This whole process is known as bhunaing your dish. It’s a classic technique in many parts of the Punjab and vital for that authentic flavour. Turn the heat down to low.
Add around 50ml of water to the pan to give you enough sauce to almost cover the chicken, pop the lid on and leave your curry to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. At the end of this time taste for chilli and salt and check the consistency of your sauce, I like a thick gravy. If you want it thinner add some extra water and simmer again for a few minutes. If you prefer it thicker cook for a few more minutes with the lid off.
Avoid using chicken breast. The thighs have much more flavour, they are moist and they are robust – so work much better in a curry.
Makes 6 to 8 potato cakes.
Aloo tikki are popular street food throughout the Punajb and very easy to make at home. Visitors to the cookery school are often surprised that so few ingredients can produce such a delicious result.
350g floury potatoes (e.g. Maris Piper)
½ small onion
1 tbsp full fat yoghurt
¼ tsp chilli powder or to taste
Salt to taste
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp vegetable oil plus extra if required
Peel and dice the potatoes and then boil until tender, as you would for mashed potatoes. Set to one side until cool to the touch.
Chop the onion very finely and add to the potatoes with the yoghurt, chilli and salt. Mix thoroughly with your hands breaking down any large lumps but leaving a few smaller ones. The texture should be similar to lumpy mashed potatoes.
Divide the potato mix into 6 to 8 portions and roll into balls and then flatten into patties, smoothing any rough edges as you go.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan to medium high. Dip the tikki into the beaten egg and shallow fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Carefully remove them to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Add extra oil if required for the next batch. The tikki will firm up as they cool.
Aloo tikki are delicious hot or cold, accompanied by raita or chutney.