Eid Ul Adha 2024: Celebrate Bakra Eid, Konkani Muslim Style

Home Chef Mumtaz Kazi, a resident of Mumbai, starts her day early on Bakra Eid to prepare for the festivities of the day. She belongs to the Konkani Muslim community, whose traditions are deeply inspired by the coastal region they reside in, particularly in the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Goa. 

The Konkani Muslims are believed to have descended from Arab traders who settled on the Konkan coast. The community’s cuisine is a distinctive blend of traditional Konkani flavours with influences from Arab and Persian culinary traditions. It not only reflects the community’s cultural heritage but also their adaptation and integration of diverse culinary influences over centuries. “Since our food is coastal, the staples usually include coconut rice and fish. We also use coconut milk in a lot of dishes, both sweet and savoury,” says Mumtaz.

She has vivid memories of celebrating Eid Ul Adha in her native village in Ratnagiri. “Eid Ul Adha would always be celebrated with the full family, especially our grandparents and aunts. On the eve before Eid, our aunts would apply mehendi (henna) to our hands. My most fond memory of Eid involves the making and eating of Sandans, a sweet that looks like Idli but is made with fermented rice and coconut milk. The process of making sandans would start at 3 am. As kids, we would also wake up early and help our grandmother as she demoulded the sandan. We would also go to distribute the sandan to the houses of our relatives staying nearby,” Mumtaz reminisces.

The Festive Feast

According to Mumtaz, Sandan is similar to Sannas made in the South in appearance but the taste is quite different. “The ones we make are sweet. We use sugar, coconut milk and rice flour to make them. Sometimes, jaggery is also used instead of sugar, and we add cardamom powder to it. The batter for the sandan is usually fermented for 8 hours or overnight. The next day, at dawn, they are steamed in sancha (mould). Sandans are usually eaten with sukha mutton,” she explains.

As per tradition, on Bakra Eid, the men in the house offer prayers in the morning at the mosque. When they return home, they have Sandan with sukha mutton, also known as Akhni Mutton, for breakfast. After this, they visit the homes of their relatives who are sacrificing the bakra (goat) and have invited them.

“During Bakra Eid, most of the food revolves around mutton. From the kurbani (goat sacrifice), the kaleji and gurda are obtained early, so the dishes made with it are made first. The meat is usually roasted. Often, one person is dedicated to simply roasting the meat. These dishes are called the bhunas,” says Mumtaz.Akhni Gosht is mutton cooked in whole garam masala and dry roasted coconut in its own juices on slow flame. While many spices are used to make this dish, fennel is the key ingredient. Coconut milk is also used occasionally. 

The Konkani Muslims have their own masalas, most of which are prepared in advance and bottled. “We usually make the masalas for the full year. Haldi and saunf (fennel) are the main elements in the masalas used for our meat-based dishes. In the mutton masala, we use chilli, red chilli, dhania, jeera, a little saunf, some black pepper, and all the garam masalas such as dalchini, elaichi, laung, and kaali mirch. In Konkani food, we don't use ingredients such as Dagad Phool or black stone flower and star anise much. Many communities use them in their mutton masala, but we don’t,” Mumtaz points out. 

The fish curry is prepared in coconut milk, and the fish masala usually includes sukhi laal mirchi (dried red chilli) and less dhania (coriander powder) compared to the mutton masala. The other masalas include jeera and black pepper. 

Are Biryani And Sheer Khurma part of the Bakra Eid Meal?

“In Konkan, there is no concept of a Biryani,” Mumtaz reveals. “Our rice-based dishes include Bagare Chawal or rice tempered with spices, or we simply serve the dry Akhni mutton on a bed of rice. In a Biryani, meat and rice are cooked together in layers; we do not cook like that,” she adds.

Sheer Khurma is usually made on Ramzan Eid, while the preferred sweet dish for Eid Ul Adha is Sevaiyan. As a special Eid Ul Adha gift, Mumtaz shares her Sevaiyan recipe with Slurrp.

“To make Seviyan, take store-bought roasted Sevaiyan and add ghee to a dekchi (pot), roast the dry fruits, and keep it aside. Then, you roast the seviyan for a bit and add a little water as per your requirement. When the water is absorbed, add sugar. You can add more or less depending on how sweet you want it to be. Post this, add all the dry fruits, cover it and cook it on dum (steam). In Konkan, we add a bit of salt to all our desserts. So we add a pinch of salt to the seviyan, too. It takes about 10 minutes to cook. Once you open the lid, use a ladle to mix it.”