Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Eid Mubarak

With Ramadan drawing to a close and Eid approaching, I am getting a little nostalgic. This time brings back many fond memories of the beautiful Eids spent with family back home - most of them from my childhood and college years. I remember those nights at home, my mom would be calling all the girls over and we would have a chand raat party. Waking up very early the next morning and admiring the orange colour the henna would give off that we applied to our hands the previous night. Putting on my brand new outfit and matching glass bangles and then eagerly waiting for my father and brothers to come back from the Eid prayers so that I could show them my hands and receive Eidi (money as gift) and then eagerly looking out the window for the friends and cousins who would visit us, showing them the received eidi and gifts, consuming massive amounts of sweets (and moms delicious sheer khurma /vermicelli pudding) and then chasing each other all day long. Oh the memories are so sweet!

Living here, when the family is intangibly far away and the number of Muslim friends living in the area not very large, I struggle to think of what my sons will be like and how they will get excited about celebrations in our religion. Living in a western society, it is always going to be a struggle, I think. Don't get me wrong please! I embrace living in Germany with my entire heart and soul. I am always the first one to respond to the Christmas invitations and I love exchanging Easter baskets with neighbours and friends (Obviously, none of these celebrations have a religious meaning for us but we see no harm in enjoying them with friends who are always so kind and supportive to us).

Its just that, things are different here. Eid is just a normal day and not a funfilled holiday. Most of us who work, can´t / don't want to take the day off due to the uncertainty of what day Eid will fall on as it's all based on the lunar calendar. You dont find any Eid bazars with their narrow walkways packed  with crowds of people buying clothing and accessories. As women, you feel reluctant wearing all the glitzy ensemble as it's so impractical etc. etc.

I wish I could bottle all my childhood memories of this special day and spray around to give my children a sense of how Eid is actually celebrated and why we say Eid Mubarak. I want them, too, to jump up and down with anticipation for this day just the way I and my siblings used to. Nael is getting bigger and I believe, if I want him to admire festivals of all religions and faith but not feel longing for them, the time is now to take action by making his own festivities fascinating enough that he should always look forward to them.

In a (probably misguided) effort to make my sons experience the joy of Eid, I decided to undertake a few "projects" with them. Here is a sneak peek at how we are celebrating the special day this year:

Eid decoration ideas
Eid goodie bags for the kids

Not only the kids but also the teachers at Naels kindergarten got their share. I baked them banana bread loaves and mini carrot cakes.

Eid cake loaves as gifts

Nael also helped me in decorating our dining room window by making colourful moons from paper.

Here is how our window looks with all those moons hanging.

Eid celebrations decorating ideas

And last but not least, a few pictures of the Eid presents I have made for my besties.

Eidi baskets ideas

There is a whole lot of other stuff we have done this year to make things look as festive as possible but its already 2:00 am and I cant think straight anymore. Besides, Ive got a big day ahead of me tomorrow. So, please excuse me, ladies and gents, for leaving out some details but I have to leave now.

Happy Eid to all of you out there. May this day bring fun, happiness, endless blessings and love in your lives!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Another secret disclosed...

Okay. With a little apprehension, I am going to share my secret mustard chicken bites recipe. Yes yes, the same mustard chicken Ive blogged about over and over but never wanted to disclose the recipe for. Since no one in my nearest circle is left who has not tasted this delicious stuff from my kitchen, and I have plenty of other delicious cards in my possession, its time to pass on the treasure for someone else to receive wows and praises.

Disclaimer: If any of you use this recipe in a competition and win, you must claim me as the true winner! Seriously folks, at least send me a photo or a thank you note!

Honey mustard chicken served with hot sweet and sour sauce

The best thing about this recipe is that it can be served in different ways on different occasions with many different sauces and sides.

Mustard chicken with mild sweet and sour sauce

Mustard Chicken Bites

600 g boneless chicken
2 tbs ginger paste
2 tsp mustard paste
3 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tbs vinegar
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tbs cornflour
1 egg (M)
All purpose flour
Oil for frying

Cut chicken in bite size pieces.

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients except flour and oil.

Marinate chicken in this mixture for atleast 2 hours. Tip: Overnight marination would bring out the best taste! Place in refrigerator.

Take out of the refrigerator and thread the chicken bites on tooth picks (2-3 pieces on each). This step is optional! I skip this when making as burger fillings or serving in gravy.

Next, coat the chicken with flour and put aside for 15 minutes. Tip: You can also freeze them after this step. Take out of the freezer whenever required, microwave for 15 seconds and proceed!

Deep fry in hot oil.

Once fried, place on kitchen papers to remove any excess oil.

Serve hot!

Here´s my favourite sauce to go with:

Hot sweet and sour sauce
Recipe courtesy: my sweet sister in law, Tasneem Saeed

1 cup vinegar
1 large green chili
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup

Cook vinegar with chopped chilies for 4-5 minutes. Strain the chilies from the vinegar and add rest of the ingredients into it (the liquid, ofcourse!). Cook until desired consistency is reached.

Alright, Im taking a bow here and awaiting your applause. Hurry!!!