Families across the city take to barbequing meat and making karahis by themselves after Eidul Azha. They make a night of it and invite friends and relatives as most restaurants across the city remain closed.

However, the chefs at these restaurants still remain busy. After having a crack at it themselves the first few days of Eid, residents of the garrison city turn to bringing over meat to restaurants to be cooked or prepared – allowing them to eat restaurant- style food in the comfort of their own kitchens.

People bring in meat to prepare various dishes including barbeques, roasts, hunter beef and karahis. Restaurant owners put up banners offering services for making roasts and hunter beef. Many restaurants along Murree Road, Saddar, Commercial Market, Satellite Town and others offer such services.

Raja Akhter, a professional chef, said it is important to get the spices just right when marinating a leg for roasting in order to get the right taste and colour. He said most people cannot handle big pieces of meat and that the roasts made at home do not end up being as tender and juicy as those made by professionals.

He said the recipe for making roast leg is simple.

“We use red chillies or black pepper according to the customer’s taste, salt, garam masala powder, ginger and garlic mixed in curd in which we marinate the leg for two hours. The meat is then grilled on coal or in a gas oven till it is tender,” he said.

The owner of a restaurant on Murree Road, Mohammad Waseem said chefs charge Rs300 for making a leg roast and hunter beef and Rs225 for making a kilogramme of mutton karahi. He said customers only bring in the meat and that the restaurant provides the rest of the ingredients including tomatoes, onions and spices.

The owner of another restaurant, Malik Munir, said people like staying at home and having dinners at home after Eidul Azha instead of going to restaurants.

“Restaurants would close for a week after Eid in the past. But for a few years, we have started offering to prepare meat based dishes for people with the meat they set aside for themselves. We have to earn in order to pay our workers,” he said.

A customer at his restaurant, Sana Malik said she was throwing a dinner for friends and family and had brought in meat so the chef can make karahi for her.

“It is easy to make karahi for three or four people at home, but I cannot make the dish for between 25 to 30 people which is why I came here,” she said.

“I usually order takeout from nearby restaurants when I have guests over, but I want to utilise the meat we set aside for ourselves after Eid or it will go bad,” she added.

Mohammad Waqas had come to a restaurant at Committee Chowk so they can make a leg roast for him which he said was a technical dish and cannot be made well at home.

“I do not want to waste a goat leg by experimenting at home,” he said. He said the roasts made at home are not as tender and that getting the spices rights is also difficult.

“It is one of the dishes people only have occasionally, so it is best to leave it to the professionals,” he said.

Originally published in Dawn, September 11th, 2017