Eid-ul-Fitr marks the End of Ramadan

Posted on 25. Jul, 2014 by in Uncategorized

There are two Eids celebrated in the Muslim world. Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. An individual has to refrain him/herself from drinking, eating or having sexual intercourse. The term ‘roza’(fast)  is an Arabic word means abstinence. Eid is celebrated on the first date of Shawwal, that is, the tenth month of the Hijri calendar. This occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr usually starts off by prayers in the mosques where the Muslim community gathers to not only offer their Eid prayers but also to meet their friends and family and to join them in the Eid celebrations. During the celebrations, Muslims exchange gifts, greeting their neighbors, friends and family as a mark of solidarity and brotherhood. The whole day is an ongoing affair filled with food especially sweets. In some parts of the world and especially in Pakistan the elders give “Eidee” to the young ones. This Eidee is basically money given to the kids so that they can buy toys and candy to celebrate the day. It thus makes the Eid a long awaited day for the young ones!

Muslims believe that fasting refreshes a sense of responsibility within them. The month long fasting ends with Eid-ul-Fitr that symbolizes a reward for their fasting and self control. Muslims on this day traditionally wear their best clothes and offer ‘namaz’ (prayer) at mosques. After offering their prayers they exchange good wishes of the festival with other people. They also donate money to the poor on the auspicious occasion. The celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr not only has religious essence but also carries a social connotation. Like other festivals, Eid-ul-Fitr is also observed with great enthusiasm. Delicious food and drinks are an indispensable part of the day. People decorate their houses and prepare delicious traditional sweets and cuisines to celebrate with their friends and family. The most common dish on this day is the delicious meethi seviyan (Sweet Vermicelli) prepared from various healthy and mouth-watering ingredients and recipes.

This year Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated on Monday, July 28th in the United States to mark the end of Ramadan. The most common wish on this day is “Eid Mubarik” (Happy Eid).

Daata Durbar Lahore

Posted on 23. Jul, 2014 by in Uncategorized

A view of the Daata Durbar in Lahore (pic by Usman Malik on flickr.com)

A view of the Daata Durbar in Lahore (pic by Usman Malik on flickr.com)

The Shrine of Daata Darbar is situated in the city of Lahore, Pakistan in the neighborhood of Bilal Gunj. The shrine belongs to a great saint of Lahore, Ali bin Usman Al Hajveri. It is the oldest and perhaps the most vibrant cultural marker of the past one millennium in Lahore. The title of Ganj Bakhsh was bestowed upon him by the saint of the saints Khwaja Moin ud din Chishti of Ajmer, whose ascendancy in the Chishtia Sufi order is recognized by all. Pilgrimage to Ajmer by itself is a matter of spiritual attainment for the majority of Muslims in the subcontinent. While Khwaja Moin ud din Chishti honored the Lahori saint with the title “bestower of treasure,” ordinary folk on Lahore’s streets were more direct by naming the saint as Daata, the one who facilitates the fulfillment of aspirations.

Standing near the tomb is a fabulous experience, for it brings together the innate diversity of cultures and faiths. From the absorbed mystics, the mazjoobs, to the green turbaned formal clerics, there are dozens of interesting followers all in the same compound. If at one end a naat khwan is reciting verse eulogizing Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), at the other end one would find another person reciting some Punjabi folk tale in lyricized format. Sounds of zikr - organized remembrance of God – sessions are in progress, and not too far away a little group would be offering prayer in a more ritualistic manner. Men and women access the tomb from different sides and mercifully women are not denied entry unlike a few other shrines in India and Pakistan. Over the years, many verses in Persian have been engraved in white marble either as part of a government project or through individual philanthropic contributions. Every day hundreds of people are given free food at the shrine which is donated by people from all over the country who come to the shrine to pay their respects. Every year the birthday of the saint is celebrated with enthusiastic zeal and the event is called an “Urs”.

Koftas – A Delicious Treat

Posted on 22. Jul, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Kofta Curry (pic by Sneh Roy on Flickr.com)

Kofta Curry (pic by Sneh Roy on Flickr.com)

Kofta (Urdu:کوفتہ – Plural would be Kofte: کوفتے in Urdu or Koftas in English)  is a Middle Eastern and South Asian meatball or meatloaf dish. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef or lamb—mixed with spices and/or onions. In Pakistan koftas are usually made of beef and chicken. They are often shaped into meatballs which are prepared with a mixture of ground meat, rice, leeks and some other ingredients. Kofta curry is a very popular dish in Pakistan and is a part of anyone’s home menu. Here’s how to make this famous and delicious dish:

Ingredients

  • Mince meat
  • Yogurt/Curd
  • Onions 2
  • Green chillies 6
  • Eggs 1 beaten
  • Gram flour 2 tbsp
  • Onion (fried) 1 cup
  • Ginger garlic paste 2 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves 1 tbsp
  • All spices powder 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander powder 2 tsp
  • Red chili 2 tsp
  • Fenugreek seed (roasted) 2 tsp
  • Cumin seed 2 tsp
  • Oil 1 cup

Cooking Directions

  1.  For Koftas: In mince meat put 1 tbsp chopped onion, 2tbsp fried onion, gram flour, red chili, all spices powder, salt, ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp curd, egg and coriander leaves mix well.
  2. Marinate for 20 minutes then make small balls.
  3. For Curry: In a pan heat oil put fenugreek seed and fried onions add little water and cook.
  4. In blender put curd, 2 green chilies, 2 tbsp fried onion and chopped onion.
  5. Put this blended curd mixture in oil and fry.
  6. Add ginger garlic paste, salt, coriander powder, red chili powder, all spices powder and cumin seed and fry well.
  7. Add water as desired for a thick gravy, cook for 5 minutes.
  8. When the dish comes to a boil comes add koftas cook it without covering the lid.
  9. Sprinkle coriander leaves when done and serve with chapatti (a.k.a roti, naan or bread)