Eid ul-Adha, also known as Bakra Eid or Bakrid, is a significant religious festival observed by Muslims worldwide. This year, Eid-ul-Adha will be celebrated on June 29, which falls on the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. The act of sacrificing cattle, such as goats, sheep, or camels, during Bakrid symbolizes Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of devotion to Allah. The festival is celebrated following the completion of the annual holy pilgrimage of Hajj. It marks the feast of sacrifice and involves a diverse menu featuring traditional dishes such as mutton biryani, mutton kebabs, chicken tikkas, sheer khurma, qurma, seviyan, and kaleji. (Also read: Eid-ul-Adha 2023: 5 healthy dessert recipes to indulge without guilt )
One of the highlights of this festive occasion is the delectable array of dishes that grace the dining tables. From mouthwatering mutton biryani to succulent kebabs, these recipes will surely enhance the culinary experience and make your Bakhreid celebration even more memorable.
Mouth-watering recipes for the Eid ul Adha feast
Natasha Celmi, chef, food stylist and author of her second cookbook ‘My Mediterranean Table’ shared with HT Lifestyle some delicious recipes that are perfect for the Eid ul-Adha feast.
1. Syrian Muhammara
Muhammara is a red pepper dip originally from Aleppo, Syria and popular in other Levantine countries too. Red peppers are rich in vitamins making this vibrant orange dip a great addition to the mezze platter. You can serve muhammara with some Spanish garlic prawns or stuffed mushrooms or even as a pizza sauce for a change.
- 3 red peppers, halved and deseeded.
- 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Chili flakes (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1⁄2 tsp salt or to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the red pepper halves with olive oil and sprinkle some salt. Place the peppers with the skin side up on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes till charred all over. Once cooled, peel and discard the skin.
- Alternatively, roast whole peppers on an open flame, rotating with tongs, till evenly charred on the outside and tender on the inside. Cool, peel and discard the skin.
- Blend the tender red pepper flesh in a blender along with the rest of the ingredients till smooth. If your mixture is too runny, add some more bread crumbs. If too thick, add a tablespoon of water. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Scatter some olives on the muhammara and serve at room temperature.
Make ahead/leftovers: Store muhammara for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Use it as a sandwich filler or in a wrap for a quick working lunch.
2. Harissa Grilled Chicken
Harissa is a spicy tangy paste from North Africa and one to keep handy to use as a marinade or as a dipping sauce. This recipe is made in a jiffy with chicken. However, you could replace chicken with seafood or vegetables. Serve harissa grilled chicken on a bed of creamy hummus with tzatziki and pita bread slices. Wrap it up in a paratha or tortilla along with salad and yogurt
- 400 grams chicken thighs, boneless
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1⁄2 a red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp ready OR homemade Harissa Paste
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley or coriander
- Wash and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Season well all over with salt and pepper. Cut into strips and place in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of olive oil, onions, peppers, 3 tablespoons of harissa paste and lemon juice. Mix well. Time permitting, marinate the chicken for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Heat a griddle pan or large non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Brush the hot pan with olive oil. Add the chicken pieces one by one along with the marinade. Grill for 2-3 minutes on one side till lightly browned. Flip the pieces over and cook till the chicken is cooked and caramelized all over. Total cooking time should be approximately 5-7 minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the last tablespoon of harissa. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Serve hot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of lemon. Finish with fresh parsley or coriander and serve with lemon wedges on the side.
Make ahead/leftovers: Store the cooked chicken in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and use as a sandwich filling or salad topper.
Go veg: Replace the chicken with 400 grams of paneer, tofu cubes or par-boiled cauliflower florets. Alternatively, make a pan of harissa chickpeas by simmering a cup of cooked chickpeas with 2-3 tablespoons of harissa and a splash of water. Season to taste and serve with any grains.
3. Souvlaki (Greek Chicken Kebabs)
Souvlaki is a popular street food all around Greece. Literally meaning ‘meat on skewers’, these are succulent kebabs loaded with fresh flavors of lemon, garlic and rosemary. Wrap a warm pita or naan with chicken souvlaki, some tomato and cucumber slices and a drizzle of seasoned Greek yogurt. My family likes pairing these with Beetroot Tzatziki, Hummus and a couple of salads to make it a meal.
500 gms chicken thighs, boneless
2 tsp minced garlic
1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
6 Wooden or metallic skewers
- Cut the chicken into 2” squares and place in a large bowl. Make the marinade by combining all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisking together.
- Add the chicken to the bowl and use your hands to massage the marinade into the chicken. Cover with cling wrap and leave in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight for the flavors to seep into the chicken.
- Soak 6 wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes to prevent them from burning when exposed to heat. Skewer 3-4 chicken pieces on each stick.
- Heat a griddle pan or non-stick pan on a high flame and brush olive oil. Sear the chicken skewers on one side for 4-5 minutes till browned and flip to cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes till browned. Spoon over any remaining marinade while the chicken is cooking.
- Serve the chicken on or off the skewers, with some flatbreads and Greek Salad
Make ahead/leftovers: Marinate the chicken up to a day ahead and grill in a jiffy for a weekday dinner. The leftover chicken stays well till the next day in the refrigerator.
4. Marrakesh Lamb Tagine
Tagine is a stew-like dish from Northern Africa. It is made with meat, chicken or vegetables and is so named after the traditional earthenware pot in which it is slow-cooked. This is my modern adaptation where the lamb stew is slow-cooked with spices and dry fruits in a heavy-bottom saucepan to ensure the meat is tender and moist. You can also use chicken thigh meat in this recipe. Ideal for a weekend gathering, tagine is traditionally served with plain or herbed couscous.
- 500-700 gms lamb meat, boneless or bone-in
- 2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1⁄2 tsp turmeric
- Large pinch of saffron
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1⁄2 tsp grated ginger
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 cup chicken stock OR water
- 1⁄4 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup pitted dates, chopped
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp toasted almond flakes
- Cut the lamb into 2” pieces, if using boneless. Marinate lamb with one teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of turmeric and rub it in with your fingers. Keep aside for 30 minutes to an hour while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Soak the saffron strands in 2 tablespoons of warm water. Keep aside.
- Heat olive oil in a deep heavy-bottomed saucepan on high heat. When the oil is hot, throw in the lamb pieces and brown well on one side for 3-4 minutes then turn over and repeat on the other side till evenly browned. Transfer the lamb to a plate and keep it aside.
- Lower the heat to medium and add onions to the pan so it can cook in the rendered fat. Sauté for 2-3 minutes till soft. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Then add grated ginger, tomato puree, cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp salt, and a grind of pepper and paprika. Combine and cook for a minute.
- Return the seared lamb chunks to the pan and baste with the fragrant mix. Pour stock OR water and bring to a boil. Now add chopped apricots, dates, saffron water and nutmeg. Cover and simmer on a low flame for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- By this time, the meat should be tender and the sauce thickened, delicately coating the meat. Turn off the heat and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes. Toss in the butter.
- When ready to serve, garnish with toasted almond flakes, fresh coriander and parsley. Serve with cooked millet or couscous.
Make ahead/leftovers: Tagine, like most stews, tastes better the next day. You can make it up to a day ahead and reheat it on the stove.
Go veg/vegan: Replace the meat with cooked chickpeas and hearty vegetables like carrots, potatoes or cauliflower. Cook in the saucepan directly from step 4 onwards, reducing the simmering time to about 20 minutes. Avoid the butter.
5. Healthy Dates and Nuts Truffles
These addictive little bites are popularly known as ‘energy balls’ and are ideal to combat those midday sugar cravings. Have fun rolling them in cocoa powder, toasted sesame, crushed nuts, dry rose petals or whatever else you like.
- 1 cup of dates, pitted
- 2/3 cup oats
- 3 tbsp unsweetened peanut butter
- 1⁄4 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- Cocoa powder, sesame seeds, crushed nuts
- Soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes till soft. Drain the water.
- Blend the dates in a blender till they are in bits. Add oats, chocolate, chia seeds, peanut butter and pulse till you have a coarse dough.
- Transfer the dough to a bowl and shape them into 1” diameter balls using your hands. Roll them till they are smooth and shiny. The recipe should yield about 15 truffles.
- Roll the truffles in cocoa powder, toasted sesame seeds, toasted pistachio or crushed dry rose petals.
- Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes till they firm up before serving.
Make ahead/leftovers: Refrigerate the truffles for up to a week in an airtight container.
6. Mujaddara (Lebanese Lentil Rice)
Mujaddara is a signature Lebanese and Middle Eastern dish of earthy lentils, fluffy rice and sweet caramelized onions. It may be very simple but the depth of flavor added by caramelized onions will surprise your taste buds. Mujaddara is my trusted ‘go-to’ for a one pot dinner option for dreary rainy days or when all I have are pantry staples on hand. Pair it with a chopped salad, yogurt or tzatziki for a comforting and nourishing meal.
- 1 cup raw puy lentils (black masoor dal)
- 1 cup basmati rice, raw
- 1+1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 1⁄2 tsp salt or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp toasted almond slivers
1. Wash and soak the lentils for 30 minutes. Wash and soak rice for 15 minutes and drain. Rinse and place the lentils in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes till the lentils are parboiled. Drain the lentils and save the lentil water for later.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Sauté the chopped onions on medium heat till they are caramelized and golden brown. Add salt, pepper, cumin powder, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Stir till the whole spices are toasted and fragrant – about 1 minute.
3. Pour 2 cups of water (saved lentil water plus some fresh waterfreshwater) and bring to a boil over high heat. Add rice along with parboiled lentils and half the parsley. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and both the rice and lentils are cooked through- about 20-25 minutes.
4. Now, make the caramelized onions. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small non-stick pan. When the oil is very hot, add sliced onions and cook till golden brown, stirring often. Transfer to a kitchen paper-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Keep aside.
5. Tip onto a serving plate, top with caramelized onions, almond slivers and remaining parsley. Serve with a side salad and yoghurt.
Make ahead/leftovers: Store mujaddara in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.