Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month, has begun, and, Muslims around the
world are abstaining from eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset.
Ramadan ends after 30 days of fasting, religious observances and self-reflection.
The holiday marking the end of Ramadan’s austerity is Eid al-Fitr,
which in Arabic means “Feast of the Breaking of the Fast.”
It is sometimes known simply as Eid. This year, Eid al-Fitr begins in
the United States on July 18.
The commemoration of Eid begins with prayer, followed by one to three days
of festivals and feasts with friends and relatives. The food served is
halal, which means it’s within Islamic dietary laws, and is as exuberant
and varied as the hundreds of nations and millions of Muslims who share
this cultural and spiritual tradition. Sweets abound, but Eid showcases
all kinds of tasty and healthy Islamic food.
Read on to learn about a few Eid dishes. They are examples of how Muslim
food traditions transform simple and nutritious ingredients into a culinary
celebration of blessings, praise, and thanks.
Biryani. Biryani is a savory casserole of roasted meat served with saffron rice,
yogurt, and spices. Lamb is one the most popular meats for biryani in
India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.Lamb is an excellent source of vitamin
B12, with a four-ounce serving providing more than 100 percent of the
daily recommended amount. Around half of the daily amounts of selenium
and niacin are found in a serving of lamb, as well as substantial amounts
of a fatty acid thought to help decrease the risk of heart disease by
reducing body fat and inflammation.
Ceebu Jen. This single-pot meal has its origins in the West African country of Senegal,
where it is the national dish. A classic ceebu jen combines herb-stuffed
cod or other fish, rice, tomatoes, and vegetables such as potatoes and
squash. Cod excels as a low-calorie source of protein, with a four-ounce
serving packing almost half of the recommended daily value of protein
into less than 100 calories. Cod’s omega-3 fatty acids protect against
heart attack and stroke by helping to reduce blood vessel damage that
contributes to hardened arteries.
Laasida. In Morocco, laasida is cherished as an Eid breakfast. Laasida is made
with couscous, a small, whole-grain pasta similar to rice and quinoa.
It’s simmered and thickened to the consistency of mashed potatoes,
then buttered and served with honey. At six grams of protein per cup,
or 12 percent of the recommended daily value, couscous is a good source
of lean, non-meat protein. A cup of couscous also provides two grams of
dietary fiber, which eliminates cholesterol from your GI tract and keeps
you feeling full.
Dal. Dal is a hearty and filling South Asian stew made from dried split peas,
brought to a boil in vegetable stock, and simmered with tomatoes, onion,
ginger, chili, and spices. Like other legumes, dried peas are full of
fiber needed for long-lasting energy, regular bowels, and stable blood sugar.
Phool Gobi. Phool gobi is Indian for cauliflower, and the white heads of this cruciferous
vegetable are made into a nourishing vegetarian curry after being roasted
or lightly fried with a coating of vegetable oil, and tossed with spices
such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric. One cup of cauliflower will provide
almost three-fourths of the daily value of vitamin C, and it’s a
good source of vitamin K, which is important in fighting inflammation.
Cauliflower also bolsters the levels of phytonutrients that support the
detoxification system and the digestive system.