Everyone has that smug someone in their family who puts all other Eid spreads to shame.
Their home is where everyone is clamouring to visit — and pig out at — and they know it!
While most of us would rather do the eating than the cooking, here are some quick-to-make appetiser recipes for Eid nibbling and noshing pleasure.
Don’t be intimidated by finger foods — they’re not as time-consuming as they appear and they’ll add a little je ne sais quois to your Eid soiree. Amuse bouche have become increasingly popular over the years, from bite-sized brownies to vol-au-vents, these and delicious mini-appetisers will add a little oomph to the traditional Eid spread.
Go all out this Eid with these easy-to-make amuse bouche
The key to a good watermelon juice is having a sweet watermelon and what to add to it depends on the taste you prefer — some black salt to make the juice savoury or rose syrup for a subtle sweetness.
1/2 a watermelon diced
1 bunch mint
1-2 tablespoons rose syrup (optional)
Black salt (optional)
Chop the watermelon into small pieces and blend in a juicer. Place a bowl below a sieve or muslin cloth and pour the juice in to separate out the fibre.
Add lemon juice to the bowl. Since the sweetness of the watermelons and the sourness of the lemons varies, taste the juice before adding more lemons. Juice not sweet enough? Add a tablespoon or two of rose syrup.
Twist the mint to ‘bruise’ it and soak in the juice for an hour or two to infuse the taste. Alternatively, you can finely chop the mint and toss it in. Chill in the fridge and serve in shot glasses.
These have been the craze at parties and soirees for the past couple of years because they’re delicious, light and add a touch of elegance. For a vegetarian version, use mushrooms instead of chicken. You can add any other filling, such as parmesan cheese and red pepper, potatoes and cream etc. The filling and the puff pastry can be prepared a day before. This recipe makes about six vol-au-vents.
For the puff pastry shells (makes 625g of pastry)
Water, as needed
1 egg, whisked
Add a pinch of salt to the flour. Slowly add water and start mixing the flour till a crumbly mixture forms. Continue mixing and kneading till a firm dough forms. Wrap in cling film and cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough into a 25cm circle. Place softened butter between wax paper and flatten into a square shape — the butter should be cold but pliable. Place the butter in the centre of the rolled-out dough. Fold the edges of the dough in till all the edges overlap in the middle, and roll over the dough, pressing down on it.
Re-shape the dough into a long rectangle. Fold one-third of the top and the bottom part of the rectangle till the ends overlap in the middle. Roll it over and press down. Repeat this step one more time. Seal any open edges and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Repeat the step of folding, rolling and chilling two more times. Chill for an hour before using.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out the dough into a thin layer and cut out into six three-inch circles using a cookie cutter. Egg wash all the discs. Squish the remaining dough to make a ball and roll it out again into a thin layer. Make more six three-inch circles. Using a smaller cutter of around 1.5 inches in diameter, make smaller circles in these discs. Place the discs with the holes on top of the flat discs.
Line a baking tray with wax paper and place the discs two inches apart on the tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. While the shells are baking, make the chicken filling.
For chicken filling
1/4 kg chicken (about one chicken breast), shredded
1/2 packet or 125g cream
1 green pepper, very finely chopped
1/2 a small onion, very finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1 tablespoon oil
Half of the made pastry dough or 1/2 kg store-bought puff pastry
Boil the chicken seasoned with salt and pepper. Shred the chicken. Heat oil in a pan and saute ginger-garlic paste. Add the chopped onions. After the onions become translucent, add the green peppers and saute for 5-10 minutes. Add the chicken, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and stir thoroughly. Saute for 5-10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and cool before adding the cream. Stir thoroughly. Let the mixture cool and then scoop into baked pastry shells. Serve warm.
These are quick, easy-to-make and nutritious to boot.
15-20 large dates
1/2 cup pistachio
1 teaspoon honey
Rose water, optional
Slit the dates lengthwise and remove seeds. Blend the pistachio in a food processor or crush in a mortar-pestle until they have a crumbly texture. Add honey and a few drops of rose water. Scoop out the mixture and stuff in the de-seeded dates.
Platter up your festive creations and wow your guests.
Originally published in Dawn, EOS, May 1st, 2022