Eid-ul-Fitr; a day celebrated with much fervour across the Muslim world. A day when fasting comes to an end and feasting begins. A day rejoiced with underlying principles of charity, forgiveness and gratitude. A day spent with family and friends enjoying the special culinary delights that decorate the dining table. Every year, Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of a month long fasting period for Muslims and it is the most eagerly anticipated holiday in the Muslim Calendar. Muslims around the world begin the day with prayers and spend the rest of the day feasting with their near and dear ones. Preparations for Eid delicacies commence a few days prior to the holiday and result in an epicurean’s dream. With most Muslim nations celebrating Eid today, I thought it would pay tribute to the various dishes that are prepared around the world for Eid. Each country has its own special manna that is cooked on Eid day and here is a list of a few of their gems.
Pakistan – Sheer Korma
As the men return from their morning prayers, wafts of aromas emanating from the dining room welcome them. The family collects around the dining table which is dotted with various savoury and sweet dishes. One of them is a dessert called Sheer Korma. Made from sweetened milk and vermicelli, Sheer Korma is a staple for Eid as well as other celebrations in Pakistan. The vermicelli is first fried in ghee (clarified butter) then added to milk in a large saucepan. Stirring frequently the mixture should begin to thicken. Sugar is then added along with condiments such as cardamom, dates, pistachos or almonds. Some people also use rose water and saffron. The fragrance while Sheer Korma is cooking is magical and the first bite heavenly. No Eid in Pakistan would be complete without Sheer Korma.
Malaysia – Ketupat
Known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Malaysia, the whole country is decorated like a new bride in the run up to Eid. Most decorations that don the streets are a replica of their famous rice dish called Ketupat Literally translating in ‘Celebration Day’, Hari Raya is one of the biggest holidays in the country with food at its core. With Ramadan bazaars springing up in every ‘kampung’ (village), lots of Malay delicacies are on offer for foodies to devour. Marked with festive open houses, one of the most served dish on Hari Raya is the Ketupat. Made from glutinous compressed rice wrapped in triangles using fan palm leaves and then boiled, ketupat is served on Hari Raya with Sambal, Rendang or Beef/Chicken curries. Since rice is a staple in Malaysian cuisine, celebrating an occasion would seem incomplete without a rice dish.
Egypt – Kahk
Children eagerly anticipate Eid as they are generously bestowed with Eideyah (small sums of money), while everyone else in Egypt looks forward to feasting on Kahk over Eid. Associated with Eid celebration in Egypt, Kahk are cookies filled with walnuts or any other nuts and dusted with powdered sugar. They are not only considered a popular Eid dish but they are an example of Egyptian traditions. Before Eid, families and neighbours get together to commence the preparation of Kahk, and on Eid morning young children distribute the Kahk among their neighbours and friends. Days before Eid, bakeries are overflowing with people filling their baskets with Kahk. Kahk is not just a sweet way to mark the end of Ramadan but also a means of strengthening traditional familial bonds.
Jordan – Mansaf
Known as the national dish of Jordan, Mansaf is considered to be the dining table centrepiece during the Eid feast. The main ingredient of Mansaf is lamb, which is cooked in a broth made from dried fermented yoghurt poured over Jordanian flatbread known as Shrak and topped with rice, pine nuts, almonds and the sauce. It is eaten in true rural style, together from one large platter and by using ones right hand instead of cutlery. Mansaf is not only one of Jordan’s principal dishes but also an ambassador of Jordanian culture.
Mauritius – Biryani
With various cultural influences shaping up the cuisine of Mauritius, it comes as no surprise that the South Asian rice dish, Biryani, is cooked in large copper pots for Eid. Large quantities of Biryani are cooked to be served to family and friends on Eid on this island nation that has a sizeable Muslim population. Cooked in a large copper pot, the Mauritian Biryani consists of meat and potatoes cooked in gravy made from various spices. The rice and meat mixture is topped with saffron, cardamoms, cinnamon and cumin seeds, sealed tightly and cooked on low heat. The steam helps the flavors infuse together. The aromatic Mauritian Biryani is a treat for Muslims on Eid.
There are many countries right now celebrating Eid in their own way with their own special dishes, hence this list is by no means exhaustive. If you live in any other country that is celebrating Eid, please share your specialities by commenting on this post below. For the rest I hope you enjoyed this delicious post and have a very Happy Eid.