Ramadan and the Practice of Fasting:
Another religious tradition that affects diet is fasting during the holy month of Ramadan every year, occurring at the ninth month of the lunar-based Islamic calendar. Because Ramadan shifts approximately eleven days earlier each year on the solar-based Gregorian calendar, Muslims experience Ramadan in different seasons with different Ramadan recipes throughout the course of their lives.
Breaking the Fast:
It all started with a short tweet about a trip I was planning to Dubai, which attracted the attention of a woman named Bodour. She lived in Sharjah, one of the seven United Arab Emirates, only a 30-minute drive north from Dubai. “So few people know about Emirati food,” she tweeted back. “I’d be happy to give you a culinary tour.” I had been to Dubai in the 1970s, when it was still a modest fishing village and neighboring Abu Dhabi was more developed, but the visit was brief, and apart from going to the fish market, I saw very little of Emirati life and never got to taste any of the local fare. Of course, a lot has changed since then; Dubai is now much glitzier than Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital city. But the emirate of Abu Dhabi—meaning the territory ruled by its emir—still accounts for more than 80 percent of all the emirates.
I was going back to work as a host on a cooking and travel show for Abu Dhabi TV, so you can imagine my excitement at this unexpected offer of hospitality. I accepted, not knowing that my generous guide was Sheika Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, the daughter of Sharjah’s ruler. (Each emirate has its own royal family that rules as a separate monarchy.) I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction: Not only did we bond over a shared love of Middle Eastern cooking (Al Qasimi owns a restaurant in Sharjah city, in fact) but within two days she had arranged for me to sample a range of the emirate’s signature dishes.
The city of Sharjah:
When I arrived in the city of Sharjah, a modern metropolis of about 800,000, I met my new friend, a lovely woman in her early 30s, at a heritage center where local cooks give classes. Half a dozen women—all of them, like Al Qasimi, wearing black thobs, long robes that covered their clothes, their hair hidden by scarves—were in a large, traditional open-air kitchen preparing a goat stew, some spiced rice, and other dishes. Al Qasimi explained that while the country’s large expat population from Iran, Palestine, India, and other countries had certainly influenced the local fare over the decades, true Emirati cuisine has its own distinct character. Fish from the Arabian Sea plays a major part in the diet, and meat and rice dishes are complexly spiced: Saffron and cardamom are the predominant flavors, and a spice mix called Bazar, made with spices like cumin and coriander, is added to practically everything. Rice and flat breads are staples, and some of the dishes Al Qasimi served straddled the line between savory and sweet, thanks to a touch of sugar or date syrup. Al Qasimi also told me that camel meat is a specialty, particularly among Bedouin families, but that nowadays it is mostly reserved for special occasions.
Islamic Nuances for Dietetics Practice:
Understanding certain non-dietary beliefs of Islam also can help registered dietitians effectively counsel Muslim American clients. For example, gender relations in Islam are centered on mahram, which includes family relatives by blood or marriage. Although there are exceptions, most physical contact between non-mahram females and males is not permissible. Do not initiate a handshake with a Muslim patient of the opposite gender unless they first extend a hand. This also applies to hugging, even without direct skin contact, but other acknowledgements such as nodding or waving are fine. During verbal consultations with Muslim clients of the opposite gender, it is best to leave the door ajar (although not wide open as patient privacy is still important). Ideally, any assessments involving physical contact should be performed in private by a practitioner of the same gender.
Common Samosa Recipe in Ramadan :
1 cup all-purpose flour | 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large potatoes (boiled) | 1 onion, chopped | 2 green chilies, very finely chopped
3 tablespoons oil | 1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated | 1/2 teaspoon garlic, crushed |
coriander seed |
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped | 1/2 lemon, juice of | 1/2 teaspoon turmeric | 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder |
Read more: http://www.zaiqa.com/tags/samosa/
The spice mix garam masala gives samosas their essential flavor — Garam means warm or hot; masala means spice mix. The traditional, or Mughal, garam masala (pronounced gah-RAHM mah-SAH-lah) is a blend of four aromatic spices: cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. Like curries, garam masalas can take on different flavors. Flavorings like fennel, nutmeg, and bay leaves are often added. A spicier mix that includes cumin and coriander seeds is the preferred version for aloo samosas. You can buy garam masala at Indian and specialty grocers, but if you make it yourself, you’ll get a more fragrant, fresh flavor (see recipe: Garam Masala).
Samosas are traditionally accompanied by dipping sauces, which help balance the richness of the pastry crust. The most popular is a sweet-and-sour chutney. In India it’s made with tamarind because that fruit is abundant there. But you can match the flavor exactly with grocery staples such as prune and apple butters (see my recipe for Sweet & Sour Fruit Dipping Sauce). Another favorite sauce is made from fresh cilantro laced with green chiles (see recipe: Cilantro Dip). I like to have both because they complement each other and they’re simple to make.