By Adeela Kasoojee
All decor and food photos taken by Abdul Qadir Ajam (instagram @shot_by_aq)
The spiritual enlightenment and serenity that the blessed month of Ramadhaan brings to our hearts and souls culminates in a joyous celebration indeed. Eid ul Fitr is a day of delight, when we dress up beautifully in our best attire and celebrate our efforts of the month that has passed by meeting our friends and family and making memories and enjoying delicious meals together.
Irtiqa has partnered with wedding planner extraordinaire, Nadia Adam of Fab Functions by Nadia (@fabfunctions_bynadia), foodie passionista Shazia Gaffar, a certified Nutritional Health Coach (@shazeats) and the inimitably stylish Shireen Rawat of Dazzle Couture (@dazzle_couture_) to provide inspiration for the forthcoming Eid ul Fitr. We hope you enjoy our feature and draw on some of the creativity and distinctive style for your own Eid celebration.
Shazia Gaffar (Instagram handle: @shazeats) drew inspiration from her own childhood and created an exciting, mouthwatering menu that incorporates elements of different cultural influences and bold flavours in a global fusion of Indian, Afghan and Moroccan cooking. Having grown up in England, biryani (An Indian dish made with highly seasoned rice and meat, fish, or vegetables*) and soji halwa (A sweet Indian dish consisting of carrots or semolina boiled with milk, almonds, sugar, butter, and cardamom*) are not the order of the day as is traditionally the case in South Africa. Instead, Shazia’s family who are of Indian descent and now live in England, enjoy Paaya (knuckles and trotters) served with thin brown chappatis (an Indian flatbread); kalejo gurdah masala (a curry cooked with offal, like the liver and kidneys) and mattar aloo (curried potatoes and peas) as their Eid meal.
Shazia uses elements of some of these traditional Indian recipes in her well-seasoned entrée of slow-cooked lamb shanks. She also uses Middle Eastern spices like saffron as well as lemon zest to create piquant, earthy and fresh flavours tempered by the addition of creamy whole chickpeas. The dish is finished with finely chopped Spanish onion, flat leaf parsley and rosa tomatoes. The shanks are served with a homemade flatbread that was brushed with za’atar and olive oil. The hors d’ oeuvre is simple but healthy and packed with flavour – rounds of baked butternut, covered with crumbled creamy feta and basil pesto and garnished with arils of pomegranate that added a pop of colour and a burst of fresh flavour. The dessert of Shahi Tukra is a feast upon all the senses. A Mughal-inspired bread pudding, made with dates and saffron and dressed in slivered pistachios and rose petals – a veritable wonder to behold. Shazia also created a lactose free kheer (a milky rice pudding or drink), which contained grated carrot (gaajar). To complement the kheer – she made a cookie made with oats and almond flour and spiced with cardamom and rose water. The resultant dough is bound with peanut butter and egg white and flavoured with maple syrup. (see recipes below).
Shazia never compromises on the quality of her dishes, they are always big on flavour and never lack creativity or originality but she also looks to create healthy meals that are not time consuming to prepare. She definitely feels that a hostess should be able to enjoy a meal together with her family and friends and not spend the entire day rushing around – hence all the meals on this menu (including the naan) can be prepared in advance and simply garnished or plated prior to serving. This allows for a fuss-free Eid and a relaxed, welcoming hostess!
Shazeats Deliciously Moreish
Eid Menu and Recipes
1 tbsp ghee
4 tbsp oats
2 tbsp of cashews
1 cup carrot, grated
1 carton almond milk
3-4 tbsp badam masala
1/2 cup palm jaggery (ghor) grated
A pinch of cardamom powder
- Heat 1 tbsp ghee (pure butter ghee) in a pan over medium heat add cashews, raisins and fry until cashew turn light golden and raisins swell.
- Add shredded carrot, cook for 5-6 minutes or until raw carrot aroma vanishes stirring regularly.
- Add in the milk and the jaggery and stir until jaggery is melted.
- Now add cardamom powder, badam masala and oats. fried cashews and raisins, coconut cream, Mix until well combined and simmer for 5-10 minutes and turn off the heat.
Cardamom and Rose Cookies
2 cups oat flour
1 cup almond flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
½-cup of maple syrup
½ peanut butter
2 tablespoons rosewater
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
crushed pistachios and dried rose petals for topping
- Pre-heat oven to 190C.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with baking paper.
- Place the oat flour, almond meal, olive oil, maple syrup, egg, peanut butter, rosewater, cardamom, vanilla, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Using your hands, knead the mixture into a dough.
- Take about a tablespoon of mixture and roll it into a ball. Place on the prepared sheet and flatten with the palm of your hand. Repeat for the remaining mixture. You should get about 24 cookies.
- Press crushed pistachios and rose petals on top of each cookie. When you do this, the edges might flare and crack, just pinch together and smooth the edges.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes (for chewy cookies) or 14 minutes (for crispier cookies).
Baked Sweet Potato with Feta, Pesto and Pomegranate
800g sweet potato
1 tbsp. olive oil
80g feta cheese
seeds of ½ pomegranate
- Heat the oven to 200C.
- Wash the potatoes and cut them into slices.
- Season with salt, pepper, and rub with olive oil.
- Arrange on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, until soft (the fork should smoothly enter the flesh).
- Thinner slices will be ready earlier.
- Once cooked, spread the pesto over the potato slices, sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and pomegranate seeds.
- If necessary, season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 lamb shanks
1 large onion, white
4tsp garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 teaspoon saffron threads
4 tsp Moroccan spice
3tsp chili flakes
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
2 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon honey
2 strip of lemon peel made with vegetable peeler
1 cup chopped parsley
lemon zest and wedges for serving
Garnish: Red onion sliced, cherry tomatoes in halves, chopped parsley, sliced almonds
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add lamb shanks and sear, turning occasionally until browned on all sides, 5 to 7minutes. Transfer to the insert of a large slow cooker.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan and add onion, garlic, ginger and salt.
- Cook, stirring often until the onion is browning, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add saffron, spices, cinnamon and cayenne and stir to coat.
- Add water and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from the pan.
- Pour the onion mixture over the lamb shanks. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, honey and lemon peel. Cover and set slow cooker to low for 6 hours.
- Garnish with parsley, red onion, tomatoes and parsley lemon zest and lemon wedges.
Za’ atar Naan
1 cup self-rising flour
2 tbsp self-rising flour
1 cup plain, Greek yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup za’atar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Put the self-rising flour (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) and plain, Greek yogurt in a stand mixer bowl with the dough hook attachment.
- Mix on low speed until combined. Knead on medium speed for about 3 minutes until ball forms.
- Turn out onto a floured surface. Sprinkle with flour, knead a couple of times and form into a ball.
- Cut the ball into eight pieces.
- On a floured surface, roll one piece of dough at a time into a thin, round(ish) circle.
- Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Brush with olive oil and carefully lay one circle of dough in the pan.
- Cook until browned on the bottom. Flip and brown the other side.
- Brush with za’atar and olive oil
Healthy Shahi Tukra
10 brown bread slices
½c up dates
½ cup figs
Saffron strands soaked in 1tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons of elachi (cardamom) powder
4 cups skimmed milk
4 tsp ghee
- Toast the bread until crisp.
- Remove the sides and cut diagonally into 4 pieces each.
- Grind the dates, figs and almonds to form a smooth paste.
- Boil the milk in a broad pan for 10 minutes until it reduces to half of its original quantity.
- Add the saffron, elachi and date mix.
- Stir until smooth and remove from flame.
- Spread little ghee on the bread and heat on a pan for a few minutes.
- Pour a layer of the rabri on a plate, arrange the bread on a plate and pour the rabri on top.
- Garnish with chopped almonds, pistachios and rose petals.
Nadia’s Fabulous Eid Tablescape
Nadia Adam skillfully crafted a magnificent tablescape in hues of amber, orange, rust and bronze and the bejewelled tones of the Middle East to complement Shazia’s unique Eid menu. The theme has hints of Arabian inspiration, incorporating the elegant ambiance of a bygone era with small details reminiscent of Persian and Mughal royalty. Whilst Nadia’s unparalled sense of style and eye for detail set her apart from the crowd, it is her sense of colour and style that elevate her work to the next level. She has an innate sense of what pairs well and how to create a dramatic effect without detracting from the bigger picture. Simply put, Nadia Adam is one stylish lady and she exudes passion in everything she does. Nadia shared some invaluable tips about designing a tablescape and we hope that you will put them to good use.
Nadia advises that a tablescape should always be selected with an eye to important elements. In this particular tablescape – she used tablescape décor that displays and complements the menu, showing the food off beautifully. Her selection of colours was based on a few factors, namely:
The menu, which in this instance is a fusion of Middle Eastern fare,
The season – warm rich tones create an intimate and welcoming atmosphere. The floral arrangements are dependent what blooms are available or in season.
Nadia also considered her own home and furniture when selecting the colours for the tablescape.
Layout and Decor:
Nadia emphasised the importance of being flexible and being open to the potential of utilising different spaces in your home. To showcase this tablescape, she used an area that is usually purposed as a formal sitting room in her own home and created a dining space that was intimate as a result. It was specifically because she was amenable to change, that she was able to incorporate a unique tiered light fitting into the tablescape and create a focal point that was breathtaking.
The seating arrangement was exceptional; Nadia used her personal set of Queen Anne-type lounge chairs that belonged to her grandmother as dining chairs. The chairs were recently refurbished but are over one hundred years old. This type of seating arrangement creates atmosphere and infuse a sense of warmth into the setting. This is precisely the ambiance she was aiming for – one that reflects the true spirit of Eid.
Nadia is adamant that celebrating Eid is a family affair and that any Eid function hosted in a home should reflect the personality of the hostess and her unique style. She recommends using crockery and cutlery that you have on hand. If this is not possible, feel free to hire what you require but do not purchase unless you really have money to spare. Nadia also suggested using the new range of embellished disposable plates and cups that are readily available at supermarkets and party décor outlets to save time and effort in clearing up after the meal.
Shireen’s Dazzling Couture
Shireen Rawat of Dazzle Couture has an innate fashion sense. She has always displayed exceptional style and originality even before she established her couture house. Shireen shared some invaluable advice about selecting abayas for your Eid-ul-Fitr this year.
Some of the current trends with abayas are designs that incorporate capes in velvet with lace embellishments, 3D flowers, motifs and sequins. Black is a perennial favorite, however, this season navy has been a popular color as well as black with contrasting white and black with nude as a foil. Each abaya that she creates has a matching scarf. One could, however use scarves from other ranges that complement the outfit or contrast with it.
Shireen says that her clients absolutely love the velvet capes that are a distinct feature of the 2019 winter collection. The cape creates a beautiful effect on an Abaya, lending an air of elegance and old-world glamour but is also a useful feature in the current change of season and on colder days.
Shoes and accessories are generally based on an individual’s preference. A very popular accessory this season are hair clips, which most hijabis are wearing over their hijabs this season. Shireen only creates a limited amount of pieces per design. Dazzle Couture abayas are exclusive and each can be tailored to suit the individual. She derives inspiration from fashion capitals around the world and tailors designs for her clientele in a very niche market that strives to cater for the modestly dressed woman.