The Sweet Taste of Eid ul-Fitr 2011

By: Dylan Rodgers

Eid Mubarak! Today is a day of celebration- August 30 is the first day of Eid ul-Fitr, or "Eid" for short. It's time to quit fasting and stuff yourself to the breaking point in the heat of midday. Now that you have regained focus and even built a stronger relationship with the divine by fasting, don't be afraid to let yourself go for this three day celebration of the beginning of Shawwal, the month after Ramadan.

The Eid is not only the end to the month of fasting, it is a huge "Thank You!" to Allah for the help, focus, and strength bestowed during the last month. Eid focuses the joyful prayers of nearly 2 billion people worldwide in a powerful display of gratitude towards God.

During Ramadan, observers often break their fasts, or have iftar, once the sun sets with dates plus one or two of a thousand other dishes including meat kebabs and Harira, the Moroccan national Ramadan dish of thick soup with chick peas, lentils, meat, tomatoes, and more. The one consistent item is the date.

Edible Manhattan magazine featured a story about Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr in their August issue detailing the history of Muslims in NYC, the month of fasting, at the importance of the date. "Eating dates at dusk is as old as Ramadan itself: Mohammed is said to have ended his own fast with the fruit, which is among the sweetest on Earth," (Kearney, J. 2011, July/August. Fast All Day, Feast All Night. edible Manhattan, 18, 47-51.). This sugary morsel gives any fasting observer a quick boost of energy. Every movement and thought uses glucose, so a few dates at the end of a long day of fasting quickly helps revitalize mind and body.

It is no wonder that after a month of intense focus and fasting, much of the celebration food of Eid is in the form of dessert. Traditionally Muslims eat delectable, sugary foods like Seviyan, milky or dry, Halwa Poori, and Fruit Chaat. And in celebration of Eid ul-Fitr here is a recipe for the milky version of Seviyan. Seviyan is a warm, creamy soup with vermicelli. Serve it in bowls to family and guests during your Eid ul-Fitr celebrations. I hope you'll enjoy it as you bring in the beginning of Shawwal.

Milky Seviyan Recipe

Servers 4, Adapted from NPR's article Eid ul-Fitr: Ramadan's Sweet Ending

Ingredients: 1/2 gallon whole milk 3/4 cup pitted dried dates 3 tbsp sliced almonds, preferably toasted 3 tbsp sliced pistachios 4 tbsp dried, shredden, unsweetened coconut 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup roasted vermicelli, broken in tiny pieces 5 crushed cardamom pods

Method:

  1. In a large pot, bring the milk to a rolling boil. Add the dates and reduce the heat to medium.
  2. After approximately 20 minutes, or until the milk is the consistency of half and half, add the coconut, the sugar, the almonds, and the pistachios.
  3. Cook the mixture for about ten minutes until the milk thickens more.
  4. Add the vermicelli and stir constantly.
  5. The milk will thicken more. This is where you add the cardamom.

Enjoy!

Photo: code_martial

A Small Town Called Kamil In Morocco

Food and People By Charlie Grosso

"Wok the Dog" is a long term photographic series that examines the commerce of meat, the market place around the world. Since 2004, I have photographed markets in 20 countries and 74 cities. For more international adventures, read my past Food and People posts about Luxor, Casablanca, Fez, and Masaya.

A friend took me out to a small town called Kamil, Morocco just before Eid Al-Adha, Feast of Abraham. It was market day and there were sheep everywhere.

Every family buys a sheep and sacrifices it for God during Eid and sheep is nearly all you see. They put strap the sheep down on top of buses, in the trucks of cars, push it home in wheel barrels or simply throw it over their shoulder and haul it out. Not only were there live sheep everywhere, the butchers were selling lamb and mutton as well. The one chicken vendor was almost a novelty in amidst the frenzy of Eid.

If you are in NYC during March and April, come and see images from "Wok the Dog" in person at HousProjects in SoHo. For more images from Wok the Dog and information, visits: www.charliegrosso.com

Every Thursday, we'll be posting snapshots from different spots around the world and encourage you to do the same. You can share your photos by emailing us at FoodandPeople@SamuelssonGroup.com You can also submit a post on Tumblr which we review before posting our favorites here on MarcusSamuelsson.com

Click on any photo to view in slideshow mode.

Luxor, Egypt

Food and People By Charlie Grosso

"Wok the Dog" is a long term photographic series that examines the  commerce of meat, the market place around the world. Since 2004, I have photographed markets in 20 countries and 74 cities. For another international adventures, read my past Food and People post about Masaya.

I arrived in Luxor, Egypt just after Eid Al-Adha, Feast of Abraham. Markets were closed during the high holidays and the markets in Luxor were gradually awaking itself and reassembling. There were butcher shops in the most uncommon places, down a strange alley way on your way to the main drag, for example.

Complete sides of cow hang down from hooks just outside the shop while butchers break down the carcass right there on the street. The masculine nature of Islamic culture is on view here as men out numbers women in the markets.  Friendly vendors smile at me as I seem to the be only traveler who is willing to stay a minute and not hurry through in disgust like the other tourists. The markets are not a novelty to me. The market is the authentic view on any culture one can have.

If you are in NYC during March and April, come and see images from "Wok the Dog" in person at HousProjects in SoHo.   For more images from Wok the Dog and information, visits: www.charliegrosso.com