Like in any celebration, food occupies a central place during Islam's Eid al-Adha traditions, which took place over the weekend. Eid al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice culminates the Hajj season, which this year attracted 2 million pilgrims from around the world to Mecca.
In Arabic, Adha means sacrifice. During the Hajj ritual, Muslims around the world commemorate the day when Abraham was about to willingly sacrifice his son Ismael, before God asked him to sacrifice a lamb instead. It is therefore more than common to see a lamb meal served on the the lunch tables of Muslims on that day.
But you cannot talk Eid al-Adha in large areas of the Middle East without mentioning maamoul.
Eid al-Adha is often referred to by Muslims as Eid al-Kabir (Eid meaning celebration and Kabir meaning important or big). Christians in the region refer to Easter as Eid al-Kabir too, with maamoul also being their most famous dessert.
Holly S. Warah, an American married to a Palestinian, explains on her website Arabic Zeal how to make maamoul stuffed with dates. “These pastries are all about the dates. Use the best quality dates you can get,” she says before giving the ingredients and the recipe.
On her part, Laila shares a YouTube video of how to make maamoul here:
Exciting thing too see in this city are the Palms farms all around and this explains the plenty of dates shops. Different kinds, different flavors and colors! It was like a “dates” heaven for those who love dates! This reminds me, who is excited for Mamoul this Eid?
Happy Eid Adha! :)
Some sweets might not be typically intended for Eid al-Adha, but are welcome especially when presented with twist. Take knefeh for instance. Anthony from No Garlic No Onions culinary blog highlights chocolate knefeh and croissant knefeh he sampled in Lebanon.
Lebanese-American Joumana Acad, blog owner of Taste of Beirut, shares another no less eccentric recipe: loukoum ice cream. Loukoum, more commonly known as Turkish Delight, is a sweet paste often mixed with nuts, pistachios and flavored with rosewater, mastic and other ingredients:
2 cups vanilla ice-cream
8 Loukoum, flavor of your choice
1. 30 minutes before serving the ice-cream, cut-up the loukoum and mix it with the ice-cream; place back in the freezer. Serve in individual bowls.
NOTE: I have noticed that the ice-cream ordered at restaurants ends up with the loukoum’s texture being too hard, which is why I’d try to do the mixing as close to serving as possible.
We continue our culinary trip to Morocco with Hasnaa and Lamia, who teach us how to cook Mrouziah, a caramelized meat cooked with dried raisins, on their H&L Recipes YouYube channel:
Egyptians can't imagine their Eid meal without fatta to the extent that some of them have it for breakfast. But take note: the Egyptian fatta is different than the Levantine, made usually with chickpeas, onions, eggplants sometimes and yogurt.
2 cups steamed (cooked) rice400g beef5 tomatoes (juiced or pureed)3 Arabian bread (about 8 inch each), cut into squares5 cloves garlic, minced1 Medium onion4 tbsp vinegar1 cube chicken bouillon2 dry bay leave2 cardamom
salt, black pepper, cumin to taste40g butter3 tbsp vegetable oilParsley for garnish
And we finish this round-up of Eid dishes in Oman, with expatriate Antonio Andrade, who got to taste and experiment with homemade shuwa, which consists of an entire goat or cow roasted and cooked for 24 hours in a sand pit.
Happy Eid al-Adha everyone!