Treats for the blessed night | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 26, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:53 AM, June 04, 2015


Treats for the blessed night

SHAB-E-BARAT brings with it a mixture of emotions – of piety, sharing and gastronomy. Celebrated with great religious fervour in this part of the world, Shab-e-Barat on mid-Sha'ban is an occasion that brings people together in religious and spiritual harmony.

Sharing of food, especially sweetened dishes, with neighbours, family and the next of kins is the hallmark of the evening. Later at night, standing in prayer, devotees seek forgiveness for the year that was and hope that their sins have been erased. Till dawn they remain steadfast in prayer and the recital of the Qur'an hoping that their fate that is to be sealed for another year, is one that is showered upon by the mercy of Allah.

The ritual, as always, is an ever changing one and over the years observance of Shab-e-barat has greatly lost its grandeur. While some have held fast to the tradition of observing the night of mid-Sha'ban, others opt not to celebrate the event.

In some households the tradition is to share savoury delights, meat-paratha or even biriyanis. Whether it's desserts or savouries, the occasion has a rich culinary history. Womenfolk spend busy time making elaborate plans for the day, often taking days to yield results. But the feeling of accomplishment far outweighs the ordeal of the extensive cooking.

Ahead of the observance of Shab-e-Barat, this week, Star Lifestyle brings forth a guide to preparing a delectable assortment of food on the occasion. Whether you are planning to think out of the box or would prefer to stick to tradition, let Star LS guide you through the culinary aspect of Shab-e-Barat.

Mutton pasanda
Mutton pasanda is a North-Indian dish, a mild curry made of boneless sirloin from the leg of a goat, with creamy and flavourful aromatic spices. In Hindi 'pasanda' means liking. Now a days, similar ingredients and methods are used to make 'pasanda' from beef, buffalo meat, mutton, lamb or chicken.
1 kg mutton
½ cup cream
½ cup yoghurt 
½ cup chopped onion
½ tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped ginger
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp white pepper powder
2 tbsp almond paste
8-10 roasted almonds
4 tbsp ghee
Few coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Lightly pound mutton cubes with a steak hammer and place them in a bowl. Marinate mutton with yoghurt. Heat ghee in a pan and saute chopped onions, ginger and garlic till it turns golden brown. Add turmeric powder, salt, cumin powder, nutmeg powder, pepper powder and coriander powder. Cook for a few minutes. Now add the marinade and two cups of water. Cook it for about 30 minutes with the lid on. When the mutton is tender, add the almond paste, cream and garam masala powder. Mix and cook for another 10 minutes in low heat with the lid on. When it is done garnish with roasted almond and coriander leaves. Enjoy hot, mutton 'pasanda'.

Chicken dum curry
Chicken dum curry is a famous Hyderabadi, nawabi dish prepared in every Hyderabadi kitchen. This dish is prepared with different nutty ingredients, which are blended into a paste and then cooked. Dum cooking involves slow cooking with the lid covered and not letting go of any steam. It can be made on all special occasions and can be served with rice or rotis.
2 whole chicken
2 tsp chopped ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 cup fried onion
2 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp shahi jeera
2 bay leaves
½ tsp garam masala powder
5 green chillies
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp mix nut paste
½ cup oil
Salt and sugar to taste
In a bowl, mix all ingredients except the fried onions. Leave them for 1-2 hours. Now take a large pan, put half of the fried onion; the marinated chicken and then the remaining fried onion. Add green chilli to it. Now cover and seal the pan with flour dough. Cook in low heat for 15 minutes. Now place an iron 'tawa' on the stove, keep the pan of partially cooked chicken on top and cook in low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and prepare to serve.

Pan fried boti kebab 
½ kg beef chunk 
1 tbsp ginger paste
½ tsp garlic paste
½ tbsp vinegar
5 green chilli paste
5-6 crushed black paper
½ tsp kebab masala
1 tbsp ghee
Slice the meat chunks into thick pieces. Now boil the meat with little water, ginger-garlic paste, green chilli paste, salt and vinegar until the water dries out. Don't boil it too much as the meat is too tender. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pan, fry the boiled meat until charred. Sprinkle the crushed black paper and serve hot.

Malaber paratha
Malaber paratha is originated in Kerala, but it is very similar to North Indian lachcha paratha. The only difference being it to be more layered, flaky and crisp.
For the dough -
2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp ghee
Milk or water
Salt to taste
For layering - 
In a bowl, mix flour, salt, sugar and milk. Make a medium soft dough. Knead very well. Now add 1table spoon of ghee into the dough and knead again. 
After a good kneading, rub the dough with oil or ghee and cover it with cheesecloth for half an hour. Now make small balls from the dough and knead the balls. Working with one ball at a time, roll the ball into a thin roti. Rub some ghee and sprinkle the flour. Keep aside. 
Make at least five rotis like this. Stack the rotis together. The last roti should be put inverted, so that the ghee covered part is inside. Join them together. Roll them into a big thin roti. Cut the roti in strips. Fold the strip and roll, then put this roll on another strip, take at least 3 strips to make one paratha. 
Rub some ghee in your rolling pin and also on the rolling board. Press them a little and roll them into parathas. Heat the pan and fry the parathas on medium low heat until golden and crispy. Serve hot. 

Aloo paratha
2 cup flour, 5 pieces boiled potatoes
½ tsp cumin powder, ½ tsp coriander powder, ½ cup fresh, chopped coriander leaves
4 pieces chopped, green chillies
2 pieces chopped onions
½ tsp chat masala, ½ cup oil, ½ cup water
Salt to taste
Take a bowl. Keep flour, salt, oil, water and mix them well. Make a soft dough. Make 6 balls from the dough. Take boiled potatoes, green chilli, salt, cumin powder, coriander powder and leaves, and chat masala in a bowl and mix them well. Now take one ball of the flour and make a disc 3" in diameter with the help of rolling board. Put the potato mixture in the middle of the disc and cover it by wrapping its sides to the centre. Now roll it and make a paratha. Heat pan in low temperature. Add one spoon of oil and the rolled paratha in it. Fry the paratha until golden and crispy. Serve hot.  

Moong daal halwa
Moong daal halwa is a popular and rich halwa from north India. This halwa is usually made on festive occasions, but making this halwa takes a lot of time and effort. So make this halwa on a day when you have plenty of time, patience and energy.
2 cup moong dal
½ cup ghee
¼ tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp grated pistachios
2 tbsp grated almonds
2 tbsp raisins
2 cup full-cream, whole milk
2 cups water
1½ cup sugar
Soak the moong daal in water for 5-6 hours. Drain water then grind the daal to a smooth paste with little water. Melt ghee in a non-stick pan. Add the ground daal. Stir well. Keep on stirring the halwa on a low medium flame, until fat is released from the sides. Break the lumps while stirring. Meanwhile when the halwa is cooking, in another pan, take milk, water and sugar. Keep this pan on top of the stove and stir. Heat this milk mixture till it comes to a boil. When the moong daal becomes a light, golden colour, add the hot milk mixture to it. Stir well, simmer and cook stirring repeatedly. The liquid should get absorbed and ghee should separate. Lastly add cardamom powder, chopped pistachios, almonds and raisins. Serve hot. 

Beet root halwa
2 cup grated beet root 
1 cup thick milk, 1 cup mawa
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp ghee
1/8 tsp cardamom powder
¼ cup grated almonds and pistachios
Pour ghee in a pan. When it becomes hot, add grated beet root and sauté for few minutes. Add the milk and the sugar. Cook in medium flame till the halwa leaves the side of the pan. Now add the mawa, and nuts, stir continuously. When it is mixed thoroughly remove from heat. Garnish with almonds and pistachios. Serve hot or cold, as you like.

Kaju barfi (cashew nut barfi)
1 cup cashews
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp ghee
¼ cup mawa
Grind the cashew in a processor. Meanwhile grease a plate or a tray and keep aside. In a non-stick pan, heat sugar and water. When all sugar dissolves in the water, add cashew powder. Stir and keep on stirring the mixture on a low heat. The cashew mixture would start thickening. Cook the mixture till the whole mixture starts to come together. Remove the cashew mixture and place it on a bowl or plate. Add the ghee and mawa then knead the cashew mixture. Flatten the mixture and place it on a greased plate. Roll it and allow it to cool down. Using a sharp knife cut the cashew mixture giving diamond or barfi shapes. Serve or keep in an airtight container.

Sweet potato halwa

½ kg sweet potatoes
250g sugar, 1 cup cream
3 tbsp ghee, 2 pieces cardamoms
2 tbsp grated, mixed nuts
Boil the sweet potatoes and mash it properly. Heat ghee in a pan. Put cardamom, mashed sweet potato, sugar and cream, one after another. Keep on stirring until water inside them completely evaporates. Now add nuts and raisins. Stir the mixture. When properly mixed remove the pan; serve hot or cold.

Photo: Shahrear Kabir Hemeel
Food prepared by Chef Kamal Waris, Khazana
Special thanks to Avishek Sinha, Director Operations, Khazana




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