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Brighten up your Eid table with these easy and quick appetizer recipes – Food

Brighten up your Eid table with these easy and quick appetizer recipes - Food
Delicious Eid dish | Photo by the writer

Everyone has that smug one in their family who puts all other Eid spreads to shame.

Their house is where everyone is clamoring to visit – and goodbye – and they know it!

While most of us would rather eat than cook, here are some quick-to-make appetizer recipes for Eid nibbling and noshing fun.

Don’t be intimidated by appetizers – they are not as time consuming as they seem and they add a bit je ne sais quois at your Eid soiree. Amuse-bouche has become increasingly popular over the years, from bite-sized brownies to vol-au-vents, these and delicious mini appetizers will add a little more spice to the traditional Eid spread.

Go all out this Eid with this easy-to-make amuse-bouche

Watermelon Shots

The key to a good watermelon juice is having a sweet watermelon and what you add to it depends on the flavor you prefer – some black salt to make the juice savory or rose syrup for a subtle sweetness.

ingredients

1/2 watermelon diced
2-3 lemons
1 bunch of mint
1-2 tablespoons rose syrup (optional)
Black salt (optional)

Method

Cut the watermelon into small pieces and puree in a juicer. Place a bowl under a strainer or muslin cloth and pour in the juice to separate the fibers.

Add lemon juice to the bowl. Since the sweetness of the watermelons and the sourness of the lemons vary, taste the juice before adding more lemons. Juice not sweet enough? Add a tablespoon or two of rose syrup.

Turn the mint to ‘bruise’ it and let it soak in the juice for an hour or two to allow the flavor to soak in. Alternatively, you can finely chop the coin and toss in. Place in the fridge and serve in shot glasses.

Chicken Vol-Au-Vent

These have been all the rage at parties and soirees in recent years because they are delicious, light and add a touch of elegance. For a vegetarian version, use mushrooms instead of chicken. You can add any other filling such as Parmesan cheese and red pepper, potatoes and cream etc. The filling and puff pastry can be prepared a day in advance. This recipe makes about six vol-au-vents.

For the puff pastry shells (for 625 g puff pastry)

ingredients

250 g flour
225 g butter
Water, if needed
1 egg, beaten

Method

Add a pinch of salt to the flour. Slowly add water and start mixing the flour until a crumbly mixture forms. Keep mixing and kneading until a firm dough forms. Wrap in cling film and let it cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to a circle of 25 cm in diameter. Place softened butter between wax paper and flatten into a square shape – the butter should be cold but pliable. Place the butter in the center of the rolled out dough. Fold the edges of the dough in until all edges overlap in the center and roll over the dough, pressing.

Reshape the dough into a long rectangle. Fold a third of the top and bottom of the rectangle until the ends overlap in the middle. Roll it over and press it down. Repeat this step one more time. Close any open edges and let it set in the fridge for 20 minutes. Repeat the folding, rolling and cooling step two more times. Refrigerate an hour before use.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out the dough into a thin layer and cut out six 3-inch circles with a cookie cutter. Egg wash all discs. Pinch the remaining dough into a ball and roll it out again into a thin layer. Make more six 3 inch circles. Use a smaller cutter about 1.5 inches in diameter to make smaller circles in these discs. Place the discs with the holes on top of the flat discs.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and place the discs two inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. While the shells are baking, make the chicken filling.

For chicken stuffing

ingredients

1/4 kg chicken (about one chicken breast), shredded
1/2 pack or 125g cream
1 green bell pepper, very finely chopped
1/2 small onion, very finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1 tablespoon oil
Half of the puff pastry made or 1/2 kg of puff pastry from the store

Method

Cook the chicken with salt and pepper. Shred the chicken. Heat oil in a pan and fry the ginger-garlic paste. Add the chopped onions. After the onions have turned translucent, add the green peppers and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the chicken, soy sauce, salt and pepper and stir well. Bake for 5-10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let it cool before adding the cream. Stir thoroughly. Let the mixture cool and then spoon it into the baked puff pastry shells. Serve hot.

stuffed dates

These are quick, easy to make, and nutritious to boot.

ingredients

15-20 large dates
1/2 cup pistachio
1 teaspoon honey
Rose water, optional

Method

Cut the dates in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Grind the pistachios in a food processor or grind them in a mortar until they have a crumbly texture. Add honey and a few drops of rose water. Scoop out the mixture and put in the pitted dates.

Put your festive creations on the table and amaze your guests.

Originally published in Dawn, EOS, May 1, 2022