The word “Eid” is derived from the Arabic word feast and is a celebration to the end of a month long dawn to sunset fast. The Eid Holiday Dinner is in reality many meals served throughout the day. My memories of the holiday growing up consisted of visiting home after home and hitting up a spread of edible delights. In my 20, though I didn’t partake in the fasting, when I would pop over to my fav Bangladeshi restaurant, the menu served at night during Ramadan was off the chain. I’m talking like 5 times the items served typically served In honor of that I present to you my recipe for an Eid Holiday dinner, broken down course by course.
There are loads of hummus recipes out there and some great store bought ones’ as well. Down here in Austin TX, I dig the hummus over at Phoenicia Bakery. On a weeknight I might be tempted to grab some at the store but this being an Eid Holiday Dinner, I figure why take a shortcut?
I have a few cookbooks that cover hummus recipes but Cook’s Illustrated’s “The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook” does friggin’ magic with a damn can of chickpeas. And you don’t have to remove the skins. This recipe comes down to adding the ingredients in stages. You start with the chickpeas, garlic and spices and give it a pulse for about 15 seconds. Separately you combine lemon juice and water in one bowl, tahini and olive oil in another. With the motor running, slow and steady, add the lemon juice and water mixture. Then do the same with the tahini and olive oil mixture. Occasionally you might have to stop the processor and scrape the sides as the hummus tends to stick the sides in the beginning.
I like to make the hummus in advance because it can be served the next day but remember this: it doesn’t last long because it’s that good.
. . . you might find yourself making a Middle Eastern Pico de Gallo.
In my food adventures over the years I have seen some culinary overlap with dishes like this famous Mexican condiment. Pico de Gallo was served deconstructed in my Bengali household that I grew up in. Slices of tomato, onion and jalapeño peppers would sit a bowl next mango chutney.
I mixed some parsley with the key elements of Pico de Gallo; namely tomato, onion, jalapeño and lime juice. I guess because I had the olive oil out and was already in some sort of jazz improvisational state, in it went. Like any salsa, the room for variation is infinite, so have some fun here if you wish. And let the record company sweat the length of the tracks.
So I had to make this: Ful Medamas.
In the 20 years I spent in Los Angeles, I developed a massive fondness for Armenian food. Because of the Armenian diaspora, a fair amount of Armenians lived in Lebanon before coming to Los Angeles and brought with them dishes like Ful Medamas. Popular throughout the Middle East, Ful Medamas is a stew of Fava Beans, often served at breakfast. I would order this stuff all the time for office lunches back in the day and it was so savory, even my Vegan coworkers would ask if there was meat in it.
Cut to me making this for the first time during Covid-19 and I found myself with no fava beans. I substituted with chickpeas and the dish still came out fantastic. Because the chickpeas were canned, this does not take long to cook. The key is the consistency you are going for. Start with a light and gentle browning of the onion and garlic. When they take on a bit of color add the chickpeas and hummus. I used a masher, and mashed half the chickpeas after gently simmering for about 10 minutes. I found that I needed more liquid so I reached for chicken stock and added it a a few splashes at a time. It’s done when you want it to be done and save the lemon juice, salt and chopped parsley for the end.
A few years ago I visited the celebrated restaurant, Zahav in Philadelphia. Chef Michael Solomonov brought Israeli cuisine to soaring new heights when he and later his restaurant both won James Beard awards. The hummus course with wood fired pita bread was a revelation to how good stoner food can be when you’re not stuck shopping at Trader Joe’s. His cookbook is his restaurant namesake and that’s where I snagged this recipe which is lights out. Kids mow these kabobs down. You have been warned.
This is pretty simple. All the ingredients, except for the chicken go into a blender. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and marinate overnight. When you grill the kabobs, know that the marinade can burn so keep turning them to avoid heavy char.
And that is all she wrote on this Eid Holiday dinner. It’s a hearty feast that actually is pretty darn healthy too. And you don’t have to wait for Eid to make it either. For you or anyone you know celebrating: Eid Mubarak!