Eid-ul-Fitr marks the End of Ramadan

Posted on 22. Jul, 2015 by in Uncategorized

Pic from Flickr.com by Imran Khan

Pic from Flickr.com by Imran Khan

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 was celebrated on Friday, July 17th, 2015 in the United States to mark the end of Ramadan. The most common wish on this day is “Eid Mubarik” (Happy Eid).

Cooking Ingredients in Urdu

Posted on 23. Jun, 2015 by in Uncategorized

Image from hbglobalfoods.com

Image from hbglobalfoods.com

This blog highlights various foods and ingredients in Urdu with their English translation:

aaloo =Potato
aata =Wheat flour
namak = salt
anardana=Dried pomegranate seeds
adrak =Ginger
bhindi =Ladyfinger/Okra
baigan =Eggplant
besin =Chick Pea Flour
bhagar =Temper
bund Gobi=Cabbage
chukundar=Beetroot
channa =Chick pea
dhuniya =Coriander
daal =Lentil
daal cheeni =Cinnamon
Gobi =Cauliflower
gaihoN =Wheat
haldi =Turmeric
hari mirch =Green chili
hari piyaz =Spring onion
imli =Tamarind
illaichi =Cardamom
jaifal =Nutmeg
jaw =Barley
kaali mirch =Black pepper
kaddoo =Pumpkin
kaloNji =Onion seed
kalaiji =LiverLasun =Garlic
Laung =Clove
methi =Fenugreek
matar =Peas
maida =White flour
mooli =Radish
palak =Spinach
piyaz =Onion
podina =Mint
rayii =Mustard seed
sabuth Laal Mirch =Whole Red Chili
Saunf =Aniseed
Shaljam =Turnip
Savaiyan =Vermicelli
Sujji =Semolina
Shimla mirch =Bell Peppers/Capsicum
Tez path =Bayleaf
Torri =Zucchini
Zeera =Cumin Seeds

 

 

Favorite Breakfasts of Pakistan

Posted on 21. Jun, 2015 by in Uncategorized

The first and the foremost is the simple, affordable and widely taken breakfasts, especially in the rural areas and by workers and those who cannot afford an expensive breakfast. Yes I am talking of a well greased layered Paratha with a cup of tea. And if tea happens to be Doodh Patti, the breakfast certainly turns kingly. This breakfast continues to be there for God knows since how many centuries as generation after generation enjoys this breakfast.

Paratha on top, Nihari no bottom left and Sri Paye on bottom right

Paratha on top, Nihari no bottom left and Sri Paye on bottom right

People living in the urban areas prefer eggs with bread, called “double roti” in Pakistan. Why plain bread is called double roti, I do not know. Rather no one seems to know how this translation of bread came about. May be it has to do with some incident during the British rule of the united India when they introduced bread in this part of the world. The eggs can be scrambled, half fried, full fried and of course the omelet. Omelet can have various forms; simple or plain, with onions, with onions and green chilies, with onions, green chilies and tomatoes. Eggs can be boiled and taken independent of bread or the” double roti.”

Going up the greasy stuff, Halwa Poori and Bhaji is perhaps the most likeable for all and sundry, especially on the weekends and holidays. Another favorite is yet another greasy and oily “Sri Paye.” This is again one of the most favorite breakfasts, especially in Lahore – a city of taste and innovative foods. Sri is the head of the goat and paye are its four feet. These are prepared almost the whole night and early in the morning one can find the small eateries that one can find on every corner of Lahore serving this to its customers. This is normally served in round shape “payalas” rather than flat or beveled plates. To add to its taste, it is eaten with kulchay or naan (specially made rounded bread baked in the tandoor or the typical Eastern earthen oven.

Halwa Poori shown on the bottom. A cook making Poori and a typical roadside breakfast place shown on top

Halwa Poori shown on the bottom. A cook making Poori and a typical roadside breakfast place shown on top

Anothet favorite delicacy is nihari. This is yet another heavily spiced and oily breakfast made of beef and served with naan and kulchay. If you are visiting Pakistan and specially Lahore and have a stomach to sustain these heavily spiced and greased breakfasts, do insist your host to take you to places to have these. Or you can also find it yourself, especially near the railway station and the bus stands. So don’t miss these spicy, yet long not forgotten breakfasts of your life.