Ramadan is the time of the year when Muslims observe the month-long fast, and cut themselves off from all sorts of vices to attain surreal purity through self-control. That does not however mean that they should abstain from serving their taste-buds at all. Of course, Ramadan is the occasion of both fasting and feasting!
Sehri or Suhoor, and Iftar are the two main meals that are taken throughout the course of the whole day and night. They are surprisingly rich in their variety and taste. The wide spread variety of the traditional recipes and modern versions of them are worth doing a bit of study, and giving a try too!
According to the religious tradition, the breakfast, Sehri or Suhoor is taken before the daylight breaks. This is the first meal of the day, and taken to avoid any weakness during the fast that is to be maintained the whole day. So, it is usually heavy and nutritious, comprising mainly of porridge, bread, fruit and soups; non-vegetarian dishes are also as popular. Dates, however are a very significant part of the Ramadan menu. It is said that Prophet Mohammed himself advocated the inclusion of dates in the Suhoor.
After the sunset, the fast is broken after Maghrib, which is the fourth prayer of the day. The fast is generally broken with dates and a glass of water. Other popular drinks are:
This is followed by a traditional soup like lentil and a salad, 'fattoushi'. The main meal follows thereafter. There are no restrictions; one can eat upto his heart’s delight. Every family has its share of traditional dishes to enjoy. Snacks like samosas, pakodis, kebabs, steaks are hot favorites among the modern day youngsters.
Traditional sweets form an important part of the Ramadan menu. All time favorites of the Muslims are:
After the month-long fast, comes the long awaited day of celebration, the Eid-ul-Fitr. People put on new clothes and visit the mosque for the special namaz. Friends and family come together for large feasts and enjoy the day with a lot of enthusiasm. Treating the taste-buds in an over-indulgent manner no doubt forms the most important part of all these enjoyment. It is also obligatory for the Muslims to give out some amount of money to help the poor people buy new clothes and food, so that they can also take part in the celebration.
The female folks engage themselves in preparing mouth-watering delicacies. The dishes that rule the menu are mainly:
Eid is the time for Muslims to come together and reinforce their belief in the supreme power of Allah, and worshipping, praying and reciting the Qur’an. It is an opportunity for spiritual and physical purification and a treat for the senses as well.