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3rdIt’s almost that time of the year when hunks of beef, racks of lamb and mutton legs will grace your dinner table once again. Although these meaty meals are the tradition at Eid-ul-Azha, they require a great deal of time to prepare – time that would be better spent enjoying the festivities with your friends and relatives. The good news is that there are plenty of gadgets and make-ahead tips to make life easier.

A new set of good quality knives, although pricey, would be an excellent investment. Not only will they last for years, they will make the experience of slicing and dicing much easier. And while you are at it, look into buying an electronic knife; your roast beef platter will look so much nicer with evenly sliced pieces of meat glistening with well-made gravy.
Speaking of roast, it is sometimes quite hard to tell when it is done. Here, an internal meat thermometer – easily available in large supermarkets – is your best friend. Simply stick the needle into the thickest part of the meat and your guesswork will be over (if you are looking for a well done beef or lamb roast, the temperature should be 76.6 degrees Celsius).

A garlic press is also a useful implement to have in the kitchen, especially if you only need a few cloves for a sauce. Of course, life is even simpler if you freeze some ginger and garlic and tomato paste ahead of time. Freeze the pastes in an ice tray and then transfer the cubes to large zipper storage bags; it’s a great way to use exactly how much you need for a dish.

However, if you are interested in obtaining that traditional texture for your shami kababs (an Eid-ul-Azha favourite), forget about the blender and buy an old-fashioned sil bata. Spend some time grinding your meat and spice mixes by hand (ask other family members to get involved as well) and enjoy your guests’ delighted expressions as they revel in the resha of your homemade kababs.

– Marylou Andrew

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 20, 2015.