Photo – Fine Dining
In Bangladesh, we are used to having different kinds of fried food in our Iftar. Most common are peyaji, beguni, alur chop, chhola, jilapi, haleem, etc.
Sometimes, tehari, biriyani, khichuri are cooked and that Iftar feast becomes more attractive.
Traditionally, Ramadan fast ends with dates and water followed by a light meal. Apart from these foods, iftar traditions in Muslim countries and among the Muslim communities around the globe differ from region to region.
Here are some of the unique iftar traditions that are distinctly different from ours.
During Iftar celebrations, people light colourful lanterns. The majority of households break their fast with a meal of ‘Ful Medames’ (Foul Mudammas) and brown bread. Egyptians make drinks called Qamar-al-deenand arasyi, made from soaked apricots that have been soaked all day.
Ful Medames. Photo – Healthy Table
The crescent-shaped bread or Khaboos is another Ramadan speciality. Their favourite desserts are Mulukhiya, Baclava, Basbousah, and sweet Hareesa, simply, various halwa.
People eat dates, Arabic coffee, soup and fried or baked stuffed pastry to break their fast. One of the traditional dishes of the region is foul and Tamees, a combination of fava bean stew and tamees bread. People in the eastern province break their fast with Saloona which is a meat and vegetable stew.
Iftar is known as Berbuka Puasa in Malaysia. People consume Bandung drink, sugarcane juice, soybean milk combined with grass jelly, Nasi lemak, Laksa, Ayam percik, chicken rice, satay, and Popiah after breaking their fast with traditional dates and water.
Every day, cannon is fired to announce the start of Iftar. On the Iftar meal, a fattoush salad consisting of toasted or fried Arabic flatbread, mixed green vegetables, radishes and tomatoes, is popular.
Albanian Pettulla. Photo – Mimis
A traditional song is sung at the beginning and end of the fast. Byrek is a flat flaky pastry pie with meat, spinach, or curds that can be eaten hot or cold. A pasta called Pastice is made with milk, cheese, egg and butter. A sweet or savoury fried flatbread filled with jam, cream sauces or cheese is popular as Pettulla. Imam Bayudin is a garlic-infused aubergine dish.
Locals gather after Iftar to listen to poets recite Raivaru, or Ramadan-related poems. People of Maldives have their own cuisine which includes delicacies like Garudhiya, a fish served with rice, lime, chilli, and onions, and kulhi boakiba, a spicy fish cake, which are offered throughout Ramadan.
Garudhiya. Photo – Living Nomads
Tharid, made with Rice, mutton or beef is one of the most popular foods served during Ramadan, particularly at feasts. There are also tannins in meat or fish.
People break their fast with sherbet and kanji, a thick paste made from garlic-flavoured rice and coconut milk and tempered with mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. The kanji is served with a sambol of coconut, chillies and mint.
The Adik roti is another traditional Sri Lankan meal that is frequently served at Iftar. This is made up of numerous layers of pancake and curry that are baked in a puff pastry shell.
Sherbet, a sweet and pleasant drink prepared from Qamar id-deen (dried apricot juice) and tamarind, is popular among Iraqi Muslims. They break their fast with this refreshing drink.
A saffron-flavoured halwa is made in Iran. While the halwa is being stirred, each family member says a prayer, believing that this special dish would contain all of their prayers and well wishes.
After the call to prayer, they eat some sweet tea and Tabreezi cheese and walnut sandwiches. Sheer beranj and firni prepared from milk and rice are two Ramadan specialities. A thick vegetable soup, known as Ash Rashteh, as well as Adas pola – a rice and lentil dish.
In Jordan people break the fast with diluted yoghurt, soup and juice. Mansaf and Qatayif are their favourite Ramadan dishes. These are made with lamb that’s been seasoned with aromatic herbs and mild spices and cooked in yoghurt.
Mansaf. Photo – Local Guides
This is served with almonds, pine kernels and other nuts on a bed of Arabic bread and rice. Qatayif is a cinnamon-flavoured pancake with walnuts and sugar that is served with honey syrup.
After the fast is broken, a soup known as Harira is served. Harira is a lentil-based dish seasoned with salt and cumin. Hard-boiled eggs, dates and figs, traditional honey sweets and other prepared special bread or crepes are common side dishes.
During Ramadan, Harees is cooked every day in well-to-do houses. A typical Zanzibari dish for Iftar is Uji, a soup made from a cereal called Mtama and thick coconut milk flavoured with pepper.
Mutton Harees. Photo – Tasted Recipes.
Rice, coconut milk and sugar are used in other classic Iftar meals. Make them as Lihoho (flat pancakes) or Vitumbuwa (round cakes). The best part about Iftar in Zanzibar is that everyone goes to the beach after prayers. Everyone gathers for a barbequed meal, which is followed by a light dessert made with beans, coconut milk and sugar.