EID DELICACIES: Chicken tagine, left, sawine and Mrouziy. —Photos: Shirley Hall

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Special dishes for Eid

By Shirley Hall

Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, which is one of the more significant religious observances in Islam. The public holiday is in fact next Friday. Muslims believe that during the month of Ramadan, Allah revealed the first verses of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam.

Those of the Muslim faith fast the entire month of Ramadan. This means that they eat or drink nothing, including water, while the sun shines. Fasting is one of the duties required of Muslims. As with other Islamic duties, all able Muslims take part in fasting from about age 12 years old.

During Ramadan, Muslim families get up early and eat a meal before the sun rises. After the sun sets, the fast is broken with a meal. This evening meal usually provides an energy boost and comprises dates and sweet drinks. 

Fasting serves many purposes: to remind everyone of the suffering of the poor, to help individuals practise self-control while cleansing the body and mind, to help bond Muslims with inner peace from religious dedication with all fellow believers.

Eid is a single day when fasting is not required. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. This is a day when Muslims around the world try to show a common goal of unity. 


Did you know?

Islamic holidays cannot be determined in advance, due to the nature of the Islamic lunar calendar. Estimates are based on expected visibility of the hilal (waxing crescent moon following a new moon) and may vary according to location.


Here are a few dishes that are served on the day of Eid.


Chicken tagine

Ingredients: Half chicken chunked, one large onion chopped small, 3 cloves of garlic minced, 1 tsp ground ginger, 4 ounces of green olives, 3 tbps oil – olive or canola preferred, 1 tsp of ras-el-hanout — a mixture of cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chilli paprika, fenugreek, turmeric peppers, coriander, cumin, peppercorn,  1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp fresh black pepper corns ground, 1 tbsp lemon zest, 3 tsp chadon beni minced, 1 tsp chopped parsley, serve with potatoes or rice. 

Method: To blanche the olives, in a sauce pan bring two cups water to boil and add the olives. Boil for one minute and rinse with cold water. Heat oil in a suitable frying pan. Add the onions and fry until they are clear. 

Add the chicken pieces and fry for two minutes. Add the garlic, ras-el-hanout, ginger, and pepper and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden. 

Add the lemon zest, chadon beni, parsley and the blanched olives. Add enough water to cover chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes.


Mrouziy

Ingredients: 2 pounds lamb chunks, 2 tsp ras-el-hanout (blend of spices including cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chilli peppers, coriander, peppercorn, and turmeric, all ground and mixed), 4 tbsp honey, a half cup of almonds and raisins each and half cup water 

Method: Roll lamb chunks in ras-el-hanout until fully covered. Place in a covered dish suitable for the oven. Add water and the honey and bake at 350 degrees for two hours. Drain excess oil and remove the lamb from the stew. 

Add the almonds and raisins to the stew. On the stove top boil this mixture until it thickens. Now replace the lamb chunks again in the stew and leave it to boil for a few minutes. Serve with bread.


Sawine

Ingredients: 6 cups whole milk, 6 tbsp sugar, 1 package vermicelli (half pound), quarter cup almonds, quarter cup raisins, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 4 cloves 

Method: Heat a sizeable pot and brown vermicelli to the colour you desire. Add milk, and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil stirring constantly to avoid burning.


Curry lamb

Ingredients: 1 pound lamb chunked into small pieces, 1 large onion quartered, 1 tsp ginger powder or fresh grated, 2 cloves garlic minced, half cup grated coconut, oil, half hot pepper seeded and minced, half tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp cumin/jeera, 6 cloves, 3 chadon beni leaves minced

Method: mix spices, onion, garlic and pepper with lamb chunks and let marinate for an hour. Fry lamb pieces in oil. Add any remaining spices and add water thicken. Serve with white rice.

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