Eid inspiration: create the perfect Eid buffet with help from the experts!

Eid wouldn’t be the same without the yearly marathon of visits to friends and family, and the Eid trolley or table is always a focal point. After a month of fasting, this array of goodies is a welcome invitation to indulge.

Putting together the perfect Eid trolley is trickier than it looks. No one wants to be fussing much in the kitchen in their Eid outfits so convenience is paramount, as is variety.

Chances are your guests will see a fair number of trolleys over the three-day holiday so it’s important to offer them some interesting choices. It’s also a good idea to keep servings bite sized. The novelty of being able to snack all day is great after Ramazan but with so many visits to make, large servings can be a penance.

The ideal Eid trolley includes both traditional favourites and personal specialties. It carries a mixture of hot and cold snacks and offers a balance between savoury and sweet options. It’s great to have something new or original to tempt your guests with – there are lots of bakeries and home bakers offering Eid treats so it’s easy to introduce something exotic such as macarons or tiramisu. Lastly, the best Eid trolleys are also a feast for the eyes. Eid is not a time for restraint, so dig out your best china and think about how to present your snacks in the most appealing way.

Looking for inspiration? We asked Lal Majeed of Lal’s and ace caterer Amna Tauqeer of YUM, both known for their delicious and beautifully presented food, to put together their perfect Eid trolleys. From falafel to salted caramel sheer korma, both were full of fabulous ideas to impress and treat your Eid visitors.

Lal’s: Floral accents and dramatic confectionery add a continental touch

Lal Majeed put together a gorgeous Eid table complete with fresh flowers, bone china and a floral tablecloth.

Lal’s top tip – a tablecloth adds a lovely formal touch and needn’ t be expensive. Head to your local bazaar and pick up a pretty print for next to nothing -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Lal’s top tip – a tablecloth adds a lovely formal touch and needn’ t be expensive. Head to your local bazaar and pick up a pretty print for next to nothing — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

“A trolley can be a limiting in terms of presentation. I prefer the impact of a beautifully laid table. I think it’s lovely to have a show-stopping cake – a gorgeous, iced multi-tier cake that guests can work on throughout the day,” she says.

One option for your buffet is to let a gorgeous cake take center stage. -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani

One option for your buffet is to let a gorgeous cake take center stage. — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Her cake may be on a grand scale but everything else on Lal’s Eid table is bite size. The savoury range includes mini chicken shahliks, falafel, individual quiches and hunter beef sandwiches.

“After all the chaat and pakoras during Ramazan, I think it’s good to offer a change at Eid.”

Tiny sweet treats are irresistible! -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Tiny sweet treats are irresistible! — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

 This spread by Lal Majeed favours continental cuisine. -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani


This spread by Lal Majeed favours continental cuisine. — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Another idea is to pick a colour and use it as a theme. -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Another idea is to pick a colour and use it as a theme. — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

The continental theme continues with the sweet options. Lal serves up red velvet cupcakes, mini pastries and eclairs, sugar cookies and her famous macaroons. The effect is spectacularly mouth watering.

YUM by Amna Tauqeer: Traditional fare with a modern twist

Amna Tauqeer takes a slightly different approach. Her Eid trolley features a modern take on Pakistani favourites, and infuses continental desserts with traditional flavours such as rose, saffron and cardamom.

A look at Amna Tauqeer's Eid trolley. -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani

A look at Amna Tauqeer’s Eid trolley. — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

“Eid isn’t the same without sheer korma or behari kebab but I wanted to serve a more contemporary version of those classics.”

Amna’s Eid trolley is an ode to fusion cuisine. She starts with chaat tartlets –serving channa chaat in shortcrust pastry cases with a tamarind chutney on the side. She also serves rice paper behari kebab rolls, chicken pinwheel sandwiches, roast beef wasabi crostini and bitesize koftas on mini nan rounds.

Amna takes a non-traditional approach to chaat. She serves it as tartlets! -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Amna takes a non-traditional approach to chaat. She serves it as tartlets! — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

For dessert, Amna gives everyone’s favourite Eid dish a makeover. Most people serve Sheer korma in huge bowls but Amna’s salted caramel sheer korma is served in darling little pots with a date and almond garnish.

Try giving sheer korma a makeover: here it is served in single-serving dishes. -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Try giving sheer korma a makeover: here it is served in single-serving dishes. — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Her trolley also includes fruit tartlets, light mango fool with saffron and cardamom cream, creamy white chocolate panacotta with rose syrup and saffron zabaglione with a shortbread cookies. With mint chocolate spoons, vanilla bean cake pops and an orange halwa cake too, Amna’s Eid trolley is lavish.

Fruit tartlets other mini treats make this Eid trolley a visual feast. -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Fruit tartlets other mini treats make this Eid trolley a visual feast. — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

With gold doilies, fresh flowers and tiered plates, Amna’s presentation is fabulously festive. It may be impossible to find dessert pots like Amna’s as she imports them from Thailand for her catering business but you can use shot glasses or martini glasses, both of which are readily available in the market.

These gold doilies add a special something! -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani

These gold doilies add a special something! — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Here's a look at how you could dress up your cakes. -- Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Here’s a look at how you could dress up your cakes. — Photo by Samiah Hamdani

Lal Majeed and Amna Tauqeer may be experts but, with a little imagination, you can put together something equally stunning this Eid. Spruce up your Eid trolley or table with flowers, your best china and original serving dishes. Add something unusual to your usual repertoire such as gujrati kebabs or falooda but don’t forget traditional favourites – somehow Eid wouldn’t be the same without them.

Most importantly, plan ahead so you can focus on your visitors on Eid day itself. Order some items and make others in advance if possible, keeping last minute preparation to a minimum. Wowing your guests isn’t as important as spending time with the people who have taken the time to come and wish you Eid Mubarak in person.

Celebspeak: What’s your favourite Eid treat?

We asked some celebrities to share their favourite Eid goodies. One thing is certain — Eid wouldn’t be the same without sheer qorma!

HSY (Talk show host and designer): Saiwayan for sure – old school for me

Ayesha Omer (Actress): I love Sheer korma. Also gulab jamans, channa chaat and dahi barray! And of course gajar ka halwa too.

Muniba Mazari (motivational speaker and Pond’s Miracle mentor): I love kheer and channa chaat.

Zara Shahjahan (designer): My inlaws are Persian so there are lots of Persian delights on the trolley at my place. But my grandmother’s trolley is my favourite on Eid, with sheer qorma, her homemade samosas and my favourite biryani.

Sania Tabani ( designer): My ideal Eid trolley would have my mum’s homemade sheer korma, samosas and hunter beef sandwiches with her mouthwatering green chutney. I’d also love some cakes from Fatema Rawji, Moosa’s Curry, Cholas, Sev Puri and Dahi Puri from Gazebo and yummy khowsuey from The Deli.

Published in Dawn on July 16, 2015.

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