August 16, 2012
Eid Preparations with The Next 48Hours’ Naushad Khan
Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim readers...
Muslims in Cape Town will be joining some two billion Muslims around the world this weekend to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which means “the feast of the breaking” (to break the fast).
This special day marks the end of Ramadan, the Holy Month of fasting, and is the culmination of the month-long journey towards a higher spiritual state.
Ramadan is a time when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset every day, refraining from food and water. Fasting is not only an undertaking of sacrifice and purification, but also a measure of self-restraint. It serves to teach humility and patience and also to encourage compassion for those less fortunate.
Charity and service are virtues that are particularly emphasised during Ramadan, and Muslims are required to donate food and a percentage of their wealth to the poor.
The sighting of the new moon at the end of Ramadan heralds the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.
The Eid al-Fitr celebrations hold special memories for me. I remember preparations in our household when I was a child starting at least a week before the big day. Biscuits, delicate Indian sweetmeats, savoury pastries and the all-important samoosas were made in advance.
As a young family, we have managed to continue these traditions and our home is already abuzz with activity. We are a close-knit family and we all like to get involved in almost everything we do.
A typical Eid al-Fitr day for us will start very early with the early morning prayers and then the main Eid al-Fitr Salaah at about 7.30am. As children we were taught to have something sweet before we left home to go to the mosque, and we still practise this to this day.
Nowadays it is also common practice to have most of your treats made for you. Cape Town has many home-based businesses that will make biscuits, sweet treats and even cook your main meals for the big day, and although we will be doing a lot of our preparations ourselves, we will be sure to get some of the delicious sweetmeats that Bap Shayona in Rylands creates. (Baps Shayona: + 27 (0)21 637 2132)
They have a variety of burfees (cream and milk sweets), gulab jamun, jalebi and coconut ice. My personal favourite is the pistachio burfee.
Eid lunch has always featured a good breyani prepared the traditional way. Over the years I have managed to learn some of the old secrets from my mom, and I have been preparing my version of this all-time classic rice dish for many years now.
Using the best quality ingredients is key to getting the best results. I always use lamb as it cooks quicker and is easily available in the Cape. Goodhope Meats in Salt River is my local butcher and I am always guaranteed the best quality meats when I buy there. (Goodhope Meats: +27 (0)21 448 1816)
It is better to marinate your meat with all the necessary spices and yoghurt the night before, or at least two hours prior to cooking. Using half-cooked rice and quick fried potatoes, the breyani is set in layers in a wide brimmed pot with the marinated meat, then some rice, lentils and the potatoes. The pot is then sealed with a flour dough or muslin cloth and is slow cooked over hot coals or a gas stove for two to three hours.
Our invited guests and family come throughout the day to share in the celebrations and for feasting!
Naushad Khan is the managing editor and publisher of the popular weekly entertainment newspaper, The Next 48hOURS. For more information about what is hot and happening in the Mother City, visit www.48hours.co.za, join the Facebook fanpage, www.facebook.com/next48hours, or follow the Next 48hOurs on Twitter at @48hrsincapetown.