Editor's Note: Yvonne Maffei publishes MyHalalKitchen.com, a blog about halal food and cooking. She currently teaches cooking classes, gives lectures on healthy eating, and consults schools on how to source and create healthy and halal recipes for their school lunches.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar and the holy month of fasting for Muslims worldwide. Individuals at or above the age of puberty and who are physically able to abstain from food and drink will do so from dawn until sunset every day of the month.
Ramadan is also a time of focus on inner spiritual reflection. Muslims are encouraged to increase their good deeds, practice self-control, empathize with those less fortunate and use this as a time to devote oneself to the worship of God and contemplate his message to humankind in the holy Qur’an. (Muslims believe the Qur'an was divinely revealed to Prophet Muhammed through the Angel Gabriel in this month more than 1400 years ago.)
Though the focus of Ramadan is not on food in particular, it is still a time when so many different dishes are savored, shared and appreciated. Because of the lunar calendar, Ramadan falls at different times each year, so seasonal foods will often make their way onto the Ramadan table, changing things up just a little each time.
Muslims typically have two main meals during Ramadan: the Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and the Iftar (breaking-of-the-fast meal). Since Muslims come from an array of cultures worldwide, the food served during Ramadan is just as varied as the people, but should always be halal (permissible according to Islamic guidelines).
Suhoor is prepared and eaten before the sun begins to rise, as that is the time the fasting day begins. Breakfast foods are served, but tend to be a little heartier than usual in order to help sustain the fasting person throughout the day. One might find eggs, merguez or other breakfast sausages, jams, olives, cheese, yogurt and fresh breads on the table at this time.
After a long day of fasting, the Iftar time is a special one. The initial breaking of the fast is typically done with dates because it was the tradition of Prophet Muhammed, but the fast can be broken with anything - water, fruit juice and fruits are most common because they are a healthy way to help to elevate low sugar levels in the body after a day of fasting.
Next, a bite-sized savory appetizer follows and is a sort of prerequisite for the main meal, which is often served after the Maghreb (sunset) prayer. Indian samosas, Latin empanadas, Turkish bourek, Moroccan briouates, Middle Eastern sambusik or all-American turnovers might show up on the table at Iftar time, along with creamy dips, chutneys, or harissa to dip them into.
Some form of soup is almost always on the Iftar table (even in the summer months) regardless of ethnic cuisine, because it is said to warm up the digestive system and prepare it for other foods to come. This prevents the system from being immediately loaded with food after a long day of fasting. Some favorites that come to mind are lentil soups, butternut squash, vegetable soups and more.
After that, typical dinner foods are served - mostly meat dishes with rice or pasta and a salad on the side. By this time, it may be difficult for some people to eat a full plate since the stomach shrinks from fasting. After all, the point is not to overeat or stuff oneself with everything in sight, but to take what is needed as nourishment and continue on with the real meaning of Ramadan.
Stuffed Dates with Crème Frâiche & Pistachios
Moroccan Briouates with Ground Lamb, Almonds and Raisins
Briouates are Moroccan sweet or savory appetizers of phyllo sheets rolled, stuffed and typically lightly fried in oil. This version uses egg roll wraps which are quite sturdy and can hold a lot of meat and other ingredients, which makes them particularly filling. Any ground meat like veal, turkey or chicken will substitute well.
Just don't call me late for Iftari
iReport: Share your iftar traditions
An Egyptian family's Eid al-Fitr feast
Iftar in the South: Muslims gather for breaking of Ramadan fast
More on Ramadan at the Belief Blog
Have an Iftari or Iftar favorite in your family? Please share your stories and recipes below.
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what u dont realize is u reapwat u THINK! WAT U WISH BAD ON OTHERS ACTUALLY COMES BACK TO BITE U!
Had a very nice Muslim guy who would always make extras for his family's Suhoor and would bring us the extras. incredibly savory and delicious food
if you don't have enough information try not to speak to speak much on any religion, for Islam kindly read Quran your every question will be answered, by the way delicious food is posted by CNN, thanks.
The Moroccan Briouates with Ground Lamb sound lovely. I will adapt this at some point (I have to leave the nuts out).
Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims !
Let'em eat PORK!!!!!
I was blown away by these recipes, oops maybe that was the phrase
A more ancient and continuing religious custom is Orthodox Christian fasting. Appx 2/3 of the year is spent abstaining from meat/dairy foods. Orthodox Christians have been 'vegans' long before there were 'vegans'.
To get to the point of the article....Ramadan food is amazing! I haven't had Attayiff since my time in Jordan but I've looked for it here in the states every Ramadan. Can't wait til I find it! Ramadan Mubarak to all my Muslim friends :)
I am a revert to islam,hmd..
And my 1st Ramadan.,3yrs ago was spent with some dear friends from Jordan,the food was excellent & the ppl were just warm & friendly
We visited a wonderful masjid called Omar masjid in Patterson New Jersey...well inchallah u find the yummy food u desire...ma asalama !!!
If I stay at a Ramada, does that make me a Ramadan?
U see this is the difference between u and us Muslims we understand other's religion and respect it, we don't attack any one with non truth and mean comments like u do every time u see any thing related to Muslim weather it's good or bad thing. Do u think all of this would of happen if the recipe writer wasn't Muslim????
Ohh and instead of just arguing this and that about Muslim read the Quran and u would understand the real Islam not the one that every body interpreted it on his own understanding which is not write.
Maybe you should switch to books with better spelling, punctuation and (this is a stretch) logic.
your right- it is a stretch
huh? i can't even understand what you are trying to say.
So, are you saying there is a difference between Muslims and non-Muslims out side of religious beliefs? And in this black and white world which is the more godly? And what does this have to do with good eats?
Setting aside all the religious context.... I was at the Amtrak station in San Diego at Iftar time last night. Over 16 taxis parked all over the place – including in handicapped zones and loading zones – while all the drivers were down at one end of the block breaking their fast. Two trains came in and all the taxis sitting there were left unattended for 20-25 minutes, despite the fact that there were several people waiting for taxis.
I would think that the muslim taxi drivers would be considerate enough to the general public, to have parked somewhere OTHER than the street in front of the Amtrak station while they enjoy their iftar, and allow the non-muslims who are actively trying to pick people up (whether taxi drivers or not) to use the loading and handicapped zones.
Why don't u be alittle bit considerate to word them because those people haven't put any thing in their mouse for at least 16 hours
I believe this person is pointing out a common courtesy here. There is limited parking for cabs and all these spaces were occupied by unattended cabs, whose drivers were taking a dinner break. If you are not not cooking – get the heck out of the kitchen.
LOL! Seriously :)
Wow, anti-Muslim posts below an Islam-related story? I'm shocked.
Most of the practicing Muslims actually eat more during the Ramadan, although they refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset. They feast on a lot of good food after breaking the fast, dinner again at around 10pm than a big meal again before sunrise.
In every country with Muslim majority all grocery prices sky rocket during the month of Ramadan. In the end poor suffer and rich feast all month long
The poor during Ramadan will get best looked after as it is one of the principles of this Holy month.
We need to know that Many Christians did not agree with Pope Clement's idea of how to get the politically divided populace united in one idea with the Church. The church ran government and the vanquished muslims were a convenient bunch to chase after, and Clement thought his power would increase. Sad. Does the politics sound familiar yet? And along those lines, Egypt was a Coptic Christian country until Islamists invaded and exterminated all who did not convert (By the Sword). Government by denomination takes away freedom. Government without faith is an unfeeling machine. Let's stop harming each other and, instead, help each other live. Truth is to find understanding and get rid of the burden of grudges carried for generations. Let us break bread together and go forth in peace.
Yes, here is praise to a non-secular democratic government.
We all live in a yellow submarine...
Who cares about ramadingdong and other ridiculous space ghost derived stories. Such pointless drivel.
Apparently you, you clicked on the link and commented. God forbid you learn something new in your life.
What's there to learn? My invisible friend can beat up your invisible friend? Religion is a silly fairy tale for small minded people.
Thanks CNN for posting this! Great piece and yummy recipes, love to see more in the future :)
I will never forget the breaking of the fast in Istanbul. Every night a different but equally delicious meal. Many meals began with grapes, pide and lentil soup. There was always an abundance, but I never stuffed myself. In the morning my favorite meal was the lamb sausage spread on a thin flat bread, baked in a hot oven and served with feta, olives, tomatoes, and cucumber, plus some awesome yogurt.
Thanks CNN for posting this informative article in the month of Ramadan. Yvonne rocks!
To Lou Cypher; where do you steal your bread from when you think about allah?
he stole the bread from the same unarmed dhimmis men and women that Mohammed murdered to promote his vision of peace and godliness.
Gee, what are fetes and yalls brains? You must be from somewhere out in the moronosphere.
thank you for sharing, that looks delicious. and I would say to those who have questions about islam, save you energy and go read the noble quran you will learn a lot.
The only noble quran is a burned quran.
that looks like human fetes or yalls brains one,
Sadly, so many do not wish to go past what they are told. So many wish to keep their eyes closed and not find things out.
Every major monotheistic religion in the world, has gone through its formation phase, its violent phase and finally its peaceful phase in the order of their holy books.
Christianity often forgets that the new Testament is what we are supposed to follow, the words of Jesus, we are past the old testament. Jesus preached peace, compassion and understanding. Did you know he is still considered a prophet in Islam? That his teachings and words are just as valued as they are supposed to be in Christianity?
Someone mentioned before that Judaism lost its way, so Christ came. Then Christianity lost its way so Mohammed came. Such fits in with the teachings of Islam and if looked at from a purely historical perspective at how religions formed seems logical.
Yet all we hear on TV and here upon messages are the old teachings of whatever faith, hatred for someone who dares to think or believe different. We forget the words and teachings of peace from our various religions which are all the most powerful and poignant.
God, Yahweh or Allah does the name matter as long as you remember the words given to us? It religion grows beyond their beginning and beyond their violence and goes to peace.
As for this post, I am truly going to try and get my wife to make some of these they seem quite tasty, my thanks to you who found them.
Following your belief and logic Gabriel brought the book of Islam and then the Muslims lost their way so then Gabriel and Moroni brought the Book of Mormon to save mankind and there are living prophets of Mormon today. Its Gods Current Word by your belief.
Great! Do the Muslim's eat these delicious foods while watching video of other Muslims stoning people who are "guilty" of adultery? Or do they snack on them while watching their neighbors splash acid on the faces of girls who don't want arranged marriages? Oh, I bet they serve them to girls who are in prison for being raped.
No they eat it while watching movies about the inquisition, crusades and faux news.
Well, he does have a point
TV – too bad you have no ammuiniton to counter my argument, so you have to rely on the tired old "Crusades and Inquisition" propaganda. Back in the day of the Inquisition and the Crusades such things were the norm. Thankfully, Christianity has left that behind and now concentrates on helping others. Those churches that are all around you where you live each support all kinds of charitable causes – unlike the mosques, whose monies go chiefly to support terrorism. Islam has always been and always will be stuck in the Dark Ages – and the chances are that before your life is over, you will see Muslum armies marching to kill all those who refuse to follow the dictates of Islam and Sharia law. Do you see anything at all that makes you think Christians will do anything of the sort? No, of course not. Muslims have always attempted to "convert" people to Islam by force. People who called themselves Christians (but weren't) have been guilty of the same thing, but not recently and not nearly as viciously, or with such wanton disregard for life.
I have to agree 100% with "Archie Bunker". There are many non-Muslim people who think that Islam has been hijacked by a few extremists and that Islam is really peaceful; well, I've visited and worked in the Middle East and I didn't find one that didn't support either Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and on and on.
You pie-in-the-sky dimwits that believe that Muslims only want the things we Americans want better wake up. When push comes to shove they will stand by their Islamic terrorist brothers, and NOT you. Hope all you want, it won't ever happen.
John P.: That's like saying every Western country contains racist Christians, therefore Westerners are racists.
John P. you are a very sheltered person- mabye you should take a walk back into reality or get out of your house and go to a populate area with all diff. types of peopl, like NYC
Stop harping about ancient history, 600 years ago. Address modern Muslim behavior: genital mutilation, fatwas, the destruction of historical monuments, women as second class citizens, intolerance, ignorance, jihad...and on and on. Christians do not behave like this today, muslims do.
if you remember back, their was a time in the US culture, back in the 80s or 70s and back, where adultery was not common and was severly frowned upon- tthat's why for example people claimed to be witches rather than adulterers (The Crucible- a play i read in highschool). Many of the US culture back in before the last 50-60 years was almost similar to basic islamic points. Don't sleep around, listen and respect your parents and the knowledgable ( a show called Leave it to Beaver), try to make your husband happy but he as well has to make you happy ( a show called I love lucy), respect others beliefs and opinions ( something we all should have learned in elementary school), and a whole lot more. So lets look past the stigma and look back and see what the US used to be and how many problems would have been caused if people at the time broke these basic ways of social culture.
Those dates in the photo and the recipe shared here look delicious; thanks for sharing! Happy Ramadan.
Why are ignorant people allowed to even comment on something they know nothing about? Pick up a book once in a while and dont believe everything the media tells you.
Good food brings everyone together. Instead of arguing about this and that we should be focused on the really important things, like what's for dinner!
All this for a belief system based on some imaginative fairy tale.....Pathetically astounding.....
Indeed... and all religions are alike in that aspect.
You are so right! I would also add to that " Brainwashed children believe in fairy tales and it is OK. However, educated adults believing in fairy tale is dangerous for humanity.
isn't this supposed to be a food blog?
Hence the associated food and recipes...
Does anybody really know, Imean REALLY KNOW, the difference? ll sounds the same to me with evryone making up their own interpretations. Both really advocate killing.
Allahu Akbar! (God is Greater) Wow, these recipes look mouth watering. MashaAllah sis, great accomplishment:) Keep the recipes coming;) Thank you.
Aren't you supposed to kill or maim the author because she dared to become educated?
A concise article with delicious recipes! Great read. Thank you!
I worked shift work for 30 years and I had no trouble filling my face at night. It is no sacrifice at all. Just another Iron age ritual where practitioners fool themselves into believing they are "holy". Excellent recipes though! I love new food ideas. thanx!
Nice article! I really want to try the Moroccan Briouates recipe. It reminds me of some homemade spring rolls. I haven't made any spring roll for the family yet, the Moroccan version maybe an good idea!
Pik, I would love to try some authentic Chinese spring rolls this Ramadan- any suggestions?
try this website: Cookingwithalia.com ; you will find great Moroccan Briwate recipes and yes it does remind me of egg rolls as well!
All fundamentalist religion is nonesense. Islam is no excpetion. I don't believe for a frickin' second that Muhamad saw the Angel Gabrielle in the cave anymore than I believe an angel gave that mormon smith guy the gold tablets.
you left out the resurrection etc.
Ok that is not even close to the norm in any Islamic culture and shame on you for your blatant ignorance.
If you are a mom then God help your kids because there mom is incredibly dumb.
Allah = God in Arabic = Dios in Spanish...etc.
Seems like everyone on here knows next to nothing about Islam. Yes Muhammad was born a pagan in Mecca. And the name Allah is a shortened version "al-ilah" which is the generic word for God. In ancient Mecca there were many gods, however, the top god was named "Allah". Pre-Islamic Arabia considered Allah the creator, much like Zeus. The Jews in Pre-Islamic Arabia also agreed that their god, Yahweh, and Allah were one in the same. When Muhammad had his first revelation at Mt. Hira he told Meccans to stop following the other minor gods and to only follow Allah. Whoever said Allah was a moon god is an idiot.
Most of the Jews in pre-Islamic Arabia did not consider Yahweh and Allah to be one and the same.
If they did, why did Muhammad kill so many of them? It only makes sense if they did not believe Muhammad was a prophet sent by their God (meaning that they should follow).
I'm not saying a few did not leave the Jewish faith – a few did. Most did not. Many were killed. Those that survived became slaves.
Thats not true either. Muhammad moved to Medina and allied himself with the Jews there. They never became slaves. One of the major rules in Islam is that the is no compulsion in religion.
So, chrleneminus, what do you make of the very common Muslim cry "Death to the Infidel?" Indeed, how could you make such a statement when "conversion by coercion" is the very heart of the Islamic creed? Islam is certainly a "religon of peace" – if by "peace" you mean "I won't kill you if you convert to Islam."
There were three main jewish tribes in Medina when Muhammad arrived to escape from Mecca for persecution of his beliefs , the jews welcomed Muhammad and let him establish a home and he even prayed with them in the direction of Jerusalem .Muhhamed began to have more and more followers and then the angel Gaberial told him to pray to the direction of Mecca.
Muhhamed then had muslim followers that out numberd the jews, two of the three Muslim tribes fled and the third tribe that didnt flee or convert they stayed and the men were executed and women and children were sold into slavery.
Then the muslim Religion grew from the village of Mecca and grew forcably vast into the arabian penisula and then to north africa, muslim was a forced religon on many.
not saying muslim is bad b/c christianty has its downfalls example the crusaders....murdered thousands
ArchiedeBunker, I've lived and traveled in the Middle East for 20 years – first as a non-Muslim and later as a Muslim – and never heard that 'common' cry.
Tell that to the Sufis. This will be great news for them.
The reason those Jewish tribes were living in Madinah was because their books told them that that's where the next Prophet would come from. They were expecting him to be a Jew, though, which is why many of them rejected Muhammad even though they knew from all the signs that he was the prophet they were expecting (although some did become Muslim).
Iron Age beliefs will never further modern man's future development.
These new (to me) recipes however might . . . Y'all should stay on topic . . .
Whoever believes islam is the absolute and final word of god is an idiot. They can hang out with their idiot christian frenemies.
Allah is also the name used for God by Arabs of any religious persuasion. Arabic-language Bibles (even the ones sent by Christian missionaries in the U.S.) use that word to refer to God. Jesus, since he spoke Aramaic, would have called God 'Allaha'.
I think of allah every time I pinch a loaf.
Lou, you really do need a lot of fiber in your diet.
to Scarf: Muslims are not just skipping lunch: they don't eat or drink (nothing to put in your mouth) starting from before dawn until sunset, that is a 16 hours fast this year!!!
to Karek40: Prophet Mohammed's dad never worshiped the moon God. He was a non believer who worshiped idols like the rest of his tribe until Mohammed delivered his divine message and Islam
Muhammad's father died before Muhammad was born. He lived and died a pagan.
And this matters because.....
Truth is Mohammed was born a Jew. And he became a Jewish outcast because of his unclean ways. Many Muftis and Imams have researched this history and know it as fact. They also have no problems with this history, as facts are facts.
Years ago, when I met my first Muslims in college and grad school, i heard of their fasting for an entire month as a religious exercise. I was very impressed. Later, I learned that they feasted just before sunrise and just after sunset during their "fast." It turned out they were eating better than I was! Where I come from, this fast is called "skipping lunch."
That's because, as mentioned in the article, the lunar calendar is shorter than the Gregorian calendar. So, the month actually moves forward like 11 days every year. I agree, years ago when Ramadan was in the winter, it was the equivalent to "skipping lunch". These days, it's more like 15-16 hours.
How about you go without food or water for sixteen hours every day during Ramadan this year and see if it seems like "skipping lunch" to you.
I did it almost every day for 30 years working shift work. No burden at all! These primitive religions always have a hook . . .
Its not just about not eating and drinking. You refrain from sexual activity and it's a time of self reflection. Ramadan teaches self control, sacrifice and empathy to those less fortunate. It encourages good deeds and charity.
It's probably easier observing Ramadan in Austraila.
Its not just a lunar calendar, if you will check your history Muhammad's dad worshipped the moon god Ali, from whence Muhammad got the name of his diety.
"Allah" just means "God".
Allah may approve of blowing up your enemies, innocents & yourself, but God does not.
God demands it
Allah does not approve of anything of the sort. Before you start commenting on religion you really ought to read the Quran.
Most Muslims in the Middle East need to read the Quran too.
Allah ( Arabic) = God ( English)
@Scott Wallace - Great point!
Allah may mean represent God, as in, the creator of the universe and everything in it, but that doesn't mean that when Jews or Christians pray to their god, it isn't a different version than the one envisioned by Muslims. The Jewish version of the creator, the Christian version of the creator, and the Muslim version of the creator seem pretty vastly different, at least to me as an outside observer.
According to Islam.. the God of the Jews and Christians is one and the SAME God of the Muslims. Muslims believe that the SAME message has been repeated, that the Jews stopped doing as God asked them, so Christianity(Jesus) was sent. It also became corrupted from humans. so Muhammad(PBUH) was sent.. Who wants to believe that their religion is flawed? no one. That is why Islam is not accepted, the same as Christianity wasn't.
Muslims worship one God.The sam god OF ADAM, ABRAHAM,MOSES,DAVID,SOLOMON,JESUS AND MOHAMMAD. Muslims do not believe in trinity and that's what makes their worship different.
All those invisible gods are the same - whether you call him God, Allah, Zeus, Krishna or The Great Spirit. If you see a god in everything around you, then you are an animist and you can get in touch with the real world and see the miracles. The invisible gods offer nothing.
Allah is derived from the Arabic word Al-ilah, meaning the deity. And today all the boys are arguing over who has a bigger deity.
Gonna need a bigger tape measure, eh?
Guess how God is written in the Christian Arab Bible: Allah.
If all of these monotheistic religions are referring to THE creator of all things, how can they be referring to different 'gods'? It's the christians for the most part refuse to accept that muslims worship the CREATOR, in arabic Allah, in english God. It is convenient for them to peddle the lie that Allah is some 'moon god'.
And all this time I thought it was Capt. Kirk.
Not him. Me.
all may say God and pray to God, but the difference between all other religion and Christianity is that we workship God thru Jesus Christ, because the bible says (Jesus words himself) "NO ONE COMETH UNTO THE FATHER (GOD) BUT BY ME" and that's it in a nutshell (NO ONE, NO ONE, NO ONE)
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