Foodies A very special festival is coming soon - the Holy Month of Ramadan. Ramadan or Ramzan is considered as the month of discipline as well as delight. Muslims observe ‘Roza’ or fast during the day and after the sun sets, families break the Roza over a luscious evening meal known as Iftar. The fast is broken with a sip of water and dates [Did you know: Dates are high in energy and help in retaining the energy you have lost with the fasting]. People eat a pre-dawn meal known as ‘Suhoor’ or ‘Sehri’.
Sharing some of her childhood memories, Authenticook home-chef, Shaista, said, “I still remember knocking on neighbors’ doors early morning to wake each other up for Sehri (meal before the fast). Now, knocking on the door is replaced by relatives calling each other up on the phone for a wakeup call.”
During the month of Ramzan, lanes and houses are dazzling with lights and are filled with the sweet aroma of delicious food. People also exchange gifts with each other. During the month, people are expected to engage themselves in charity work and donate food, clothes and other necessities to the deprived people. Shaista says, “the Iftar is cooked not only for the family but for the neighbors, relatives and the underprivileged and it is sunnah (tradition) to share whatever is cooked in the house with others. Hence, the Iftar is half of what we have cooked and half of what others have shared with us.”
Eid which means festival, feast, holiday, is celebrated to mark the end of the holy month of Ramzan. During the year there are two Eids that are celebrated the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr is “Festival to Break the Fast, and Eid al-Adha takes place approximately two months after Eid al-Fitr and is known as “Festival of Sacrifice”. Eid begins when the new moon appears in the sky. The Muslim community gathers in large numbers to perform the prayers of Eid. As Eid is celebrated all over the world, the preparation and taste of Iftar meals differ as per the location and culture. The evening feast meal is most vital during Ramzan, thus preparation is done on an extensive level.
The Iftar meals have an array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, along with a number of desserts like Sevian and Sheer Kurma. There are several renowned dishes from across the country like Kaleji Curry from North India, Haleem and Biryani from Hyderabad, Galouti, Tangri, and Kakori Kebab from Lucknow, Shahi Tukda from Delhi, Bhuna Gosht, Korma from South India, and the list goes on. The particular area of the city where the Muslim population resides becomes a food street which serves scrumptious dishes with an alluring aroma like the Mohamad Ail Road in Mumbai, areas around Jama Masjid in Old Delhi or areas near Charminar’s in Hyderabad Being celebrated globally, mosques and aid organizations set up tents and tables for Iftar meals every night during Ramadan.
One of our home-chef, Nafisa, who belongs to the Bohri community, says, “In Bohris, we break our fast with a pinch of salt and dates. We make jaggery water (Gol Paani) along with chia seeds which help in hydrating the body as the drink has cooling properties. One can also add some lemon juice to enhance the taste. Another fond food memory I have from my childhood is the falooda my mother used to make at home.” Reminiscing the memories, Nafisa said the young generation has become health conscious and thus, they avoid eating bhajias but when we were kids, we used to love eating bhajias and other fried items.
(Kheema Aloo Pattice – Mutton kheema cooked with spices and filled inside mashed potatoes, dipped in egg and coated with bread crumbs and deep-fried. Join homechef Nafisa in Mumbai to feast on amazing food this Ramzan! check out details here.)
Mumtaz, a Konkani Muslim, tells us there is a tradition of making porridge from rava (semolina) and wheat which is soothing. These meals are preferred by senior citizens. Given that many of the men in their community work in the Gulf, they have all types of dry fruits in the kitchen including almonds, dates, and pistachio. With respect to Sehri and Iftar, Mumtaz said, “We make sherbet with milk, chia seeds, rooh afza, and soaked almonds along with a fruit platter with a banana. The sherbet has scientific benefits like it has cooling properties which help us maintain our body temperature. The first thing we have in the evening after the namaz is this sherbet along with dates.”
Shaista adds, “During this time most people look forward to Iftar parties to indulge in delicious food. We break our fast with a whole spread of light food items like Dahi Vada, boiled chickpeas (choole), sherbet or juice as per the preferences. For Iftar, all the female family members contribute to the meal. After prayers, we have a proper dinner with mutton dominating our plates. Also in the evening, we used to exchange goodies and meals in a thaal but these things are lost now”.
So now that you know what an Iftar experience entails, why not join in for an authentic Iftar meal experience with one of our amazing home-chefs. To bring in the festivities we are doing a series of home-dining meals as well as restaurant pop-ups.