The Cuisine of Life. Ramadan Recipes, Johanna Mendelson Forman, Alaa Alarori
Ramadan is observed every year during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Taking place for approximately 30 days – depending on the sighting of the new moon – it marks the month that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in AD 610. Celebrated by millions of Muslims across the globe, Islam requires that all able-bodied Muslims mark this holy month by fasting from sunrise to sunset. The month also features prayers and acts of charity. The rituals vary from country to country. The LIFE Project in Turkey trained Turkish and Syrian women in food entrepreneurship. It also carried with it another benefit – a cross-cultural sharing of recipes from the Muslim world that often featured special dishes designated as ones used at the Iftar feasts, the traditional break-fasts at sundown. I was also able to learn more about the Suhoor, or pre-sunrise meal that fortifies a person throughout the day. In Istanbul, one of the cities where the food training took place, there is still a tradition dating from the Ottoman times of having drummers march through the streets to awaken sleepers so they can partake of the Suhoor. Drumming usually starts at 2:30am!
My co-editor, Alaa Alarori," in Ramadan since we often prepare multiple dishes on Iftar, home cooks usually go through the entire menu, I mean they probably prepare every dish they know. So normally cooks tend to prepare stews and soups to compensate for the dehydration during the day, and dishes with high protein and vegetables to get the maximum nutrients out of those ingredients and some sweets after the meal to balance the blood sugar. Dishes with high carbs and less protein and fibers are usually not preferred to avoid weight gain. Also, since Ramadan is the season of eating together and big family gatherings dishes with lots of meat are served to show hospitality." So my dishes of choice would be, Shurbet Khudra w Dajaj, Vegetable soup with chicken 56, Makluobeh, an upside-down rice with eggplant and lamb 90, Fattoush, a bread salad 124, Shakriyeh, a lamb stew with yogurt 128, Tabbouleh, a fine grain bulghur salad 146, Shish Barak, dumplings cooked in yogurt sauce 152, Fakhdet Lahmeh, leg of lamb 156, Salatet Jarjeer, an arugula salad 158, Kunae Nabulsieh, a kunafe from Nablus 168, Mansaf, lamb cooked in yogurt 172, Safarjaliyeh, quince and lamb stew 214, Ris el Freekeeh, freekeh with rice and lamb 216, and Kibbeh el Ris, rice kibbeh 228.
We are pleased to share with you some of our favorite dishes featured in the cookbook that are part of this larger volume that memorializes the food of women and men who have connected to their homes through the kitchen. Enjoy these dishes no matter whether or not you celebrate this holy month. They are delicious!