The myriad tastes and cultural influences of iftar


From wobbly china grass halwa to smoked samosas to sabudani ki kheer — Muslim communities across the nation convey to the iftar desk not simply thrilling meals but in addition numerous cultural influences

It isn’t vada, however vaadaa — a crunchy night snack — served for iftar at Tamil-speaking Ravuthar Muslim properties in coastal Tamil Nadu. “This deep-fried snack migrated from Sri Lanka through the Ravuthar Muslim men who travelled there for business centuries ago, bringing back food stories that would eventually find their way into Ravuthar kitchens,” says Hazeena Seyad, who has documented tons of of such recipes in her e book Ravuthar Recipes- with a pinch of affection (Hitech Universal Printers and Publishers). Shaped like a spacecraft, this deep-fried vaadaa is crunchy outdoors and chewy inside.E very coastal village has its personal variant, she explains.Sri Lankan watalappam: a cardamom-spiced coconut custard sweetened with jaggery, and thakkadi: rice flour dumplings in mutton curry are different celebrated iftar dishes in Tamil Muslim properties. “The recipe of thakkadi is over two centuries old. The mutton curry is a hearty dish made with aromatic spices, coconut milk and poppy seeds to which the dumplings poached in mutton broth are added,” provides Haseena.

This month, Muslims world over observe a every day quick that begins with a pre-dawn breakfast or sehri, often at four am, and ends with a night meal or iftar round 7 pm or 7.30 pm.

Shammi kebab

The iftar meals give them an opportunity to reconnect with their heritage by meals. Along with favourites like kanjis, haleems and kebabs, communities throughout the nation convey to the desk a various and thrilling fare that commemorate their distinctive cultural influences.

China grass halwa

For the Konkani Muslim group in Goa and Maharashtra, an iftar meal is incomplete with out sandan — fluffy, steamed rice flour desserts made with yeast-fermented batter of rice and coconut. “We slice it and smear it with malai [cream] and dry fruits, or have it plain with chicken curry,” says Shabana Salauddin, a house chef who doles out genuine Konkani-style Muslim fare by her enterprise, Ammeez Kitchen.

The majority of Konkani Muslims hint their ancestry to Arab retailers who arrived within the area over a millennium in the past, married native ladies and settled alongside the Konkan coast. “Konkani cuisine is a blend of coastal Maharashtrian flavours and Middle Eastern influences. Our cuisine keeps changing from one village to another, unlike the Bohra Muslim cuisine which remains the same across the world,” factors out Shabana.

This delicacies additionally contains badam ki kanji (crushed almonds boiled in milk with sugar and cardamom powder) that packs an instantaneous punch and sabudani ki kheer (sago boiled with just a few spoons of milk and sugar) to convey down the physique temperature after a complete day of fasting.

Arabian rice with chicken

The delicacies of Kutchi Memons, an ethnic group that traces its roots to Kutch, Gujarat, has signature iftar specials that embody bajre ka kebab made with millets, an one-pot dish known as dhokray (steamed bajra dumplings in mutton gravy) and khichada with rice and dhal. “You can find the recipes only at Kutchi Memon households. The recipes are considered sacred, and guarded zealously,” says Anisa Arif, from Gujarat and is now settled in Chennai. She runs Zaiqa, the spice retailer.

Mohabbat ka sharbat

The drink of affection

At MKM Faiyaz Ahmed’s house in Hyderabad, well-liked dishes are gulabi jalebi, Arabian rice and mohabbat ka sharbat. “Yes, you heard it right. This drink is a a blend of milk, watermelon, cream and dry fruits. While Hyderabadi haleem forms an important part of iftar for Dakhni Muslims, other specialities include murgh malai tikka, boiled and mashed dal, mutton shammi kebab and fruit salads, a hangover of the Awadhi and Nawab cultures,” says Faiyaz, who makes promotional movies for eating places.

Murgh malai tikka with malai in the kettle pot

Murgh malai tikka with malai within the kettle pot
| Photo Credit:
MKM Faiyaz Ahmed

Bohra Muslims, who’re stated to have migrated initially from Yemen to Gujarat, draw from their Gujarati roots, balancing savoury with somewhat candy. “Bohras always eat in a communal setting, which is basically nine people around a big round thaali, called a thaal,” says Sakina Sabunwala, primarily based in California. “Our popular dishes are kaari and chawal: a nuts and coconut-based mutton gravy with rice, and dal chawal palidu, a rice-based authentic Bohra dish. Gol paani or rosemilk is a common drink used to quench our thirst after breaking the fast.”

Haseen Yaseen with her iftar spread that includes Malabar dishes

Haseen Yaseen together with her iftar unfold that features Malabar dishes  
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

In one area, the delicacies is strikingly distinct. Moplahs, the Muslim group in Malabar, within the northern districts of Kerala, keep on the legacies of the service provider merchants who visited the area centuries in the past. Chennai-based Gazeena Sulu Kunhamed, who’s from Malappuram, remembers how ladies would sit in a circle and roll innumerable ari pathiri, a skinny chapati made out of rice flour, believed to be innovated by the ladies for his or her Arabian paramours, who have been used to a bread-based weight-reduction plan.

“Our iftar table will be laid out with Malabar dishes like chatti pathiri, meen pathiri, chicken cake, Iranian pola, and kaipola… those were the days,” remembers house baker Haseena Yaseen wistfully. Settled in Coimbatore, she provides that for sehri, her grandmother (ummacha) made a candy dish for kids with njaalipoovan, quite a lot of banana, milk and sugar. It was known as madura paal. Other iftar staples at Moplah Muslim properties embody Jeerkakanji made with coconut milk and shallots, and godambu kanji made with wheat, hen, coconut milk and different elements.

Says Gazeena, “Our snack mutta mala (egg garland made with yolk) descended from the Portuguese who lived in huge numbers in parts of Kozhikode. Every year, we spend the last 10 days of Ramzan month in Kerala for ‘nonbuthura’ at homes of our friends and relatives. We are missing the togetherness.”

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