The holy month of Ramadan is a time for fasting and reflection for those who practice Islam.
During the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, the roughly 1.6 billion people who follow the faith will fast, pray and reflect, The Guardian reports.
- RELATED: Ramadan recipes worthy of a fast-breaking feast, July 3, 2014
For those who practice, it’s said to be the holiest month of the year when the holy book, the Qu’ran, was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. Fasting between sunrise and sunset is one of the pillars of the faith, according to The Guardian, and is a chance to reflect and practice patience.
The holy month changes from year to year since it’s based on the lunar calendar and can even shift a day or two among groups in any given year based on when the new crescent moon can be seen in the night sky. This year, it begins Wednesday night, June 17 and ends Friday night, July 17, according to the lunar cycle.
It’s not just food and drink Muslims forego during daylight hours, however. Smoking, using bad language and other activities are also discouraged, according to The Guardian.
Before sunrise and after sunset, Muslims families gather for a prayer and a meal, according to previous Flavor 574 reporting.
After abstaining from food and drink for several hours – and daylight can last nearly 22 hours in some parts of the world, International Business Times reports – it’s important to tuck into a meal slowly to go easy on the stomach.
Popular foods during the holy month are bread and cheese, dates and halal meat. Traditionally, Muslims break fast with a date, then water and other fruits before the rest of the meal.
People in many corners of the world practice Islam, and Ramadan is a good chance to try foods from those cultures. Give these three recipes a try to get started.
Chilled cucumber and orange juice
- 2 lb. medium cucumbers
- 2¼ cups fresh orange or mandarin juice
- 1½ tsp. superfine sugar
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- Scrub peels of cucumbers and trim the ends. Remove about half of the peels of the cucumbers and remove seeds. Cut cucumber into large pieces and put in food processor or blender.
- Pour in orange juice and sprinkle in sugar and oregano. Blend for at least a minute or until finely pureed. Serve chilled.
Aloo chicken kabab
From Khana Pakana.
- 1 lb. chicken, minced
- ¼ lb. potatoes, chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 6 green chiles
- ¼ bunch cilantro
- ¼ bunch mint leaves
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp. red chiles, crushed
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds, crushed
- 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
- 2 tsp. garam masala powder
- 2 tsp. chaat masala
- oil, as needed
- salt, to taste
- Add salt, red and green chiles, coriander leaves, mint leaves, coriander and cumin seeds, garam masala powder and chaat masala in a pan. Fry all ingredients and transfer to bowl.
- Mix fried masala chicken and potatoes.
- Form into patties, dip in beaten eggs and fry. Serve hot.
- 1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 packets active dry yeast
- 2½ cups warm water
- 7 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. salt
- ¾ cup honey
- Toast the rosemary in a small pan over medium-high heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine oil, yeast and warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let sit about five minutes or until foamy.
- Combine flour and salt and mound in a large bowl. Create a well in the middle and slowly pour the dissolved yeast into the well. Work yeast into the flour with your hands then knead dough until a ball forms. Knead in honey and rosemary.
- Grease two 9×4-inch loaf pans. Punch down dough and transfer to floured work surface. Knead for five minutes. Divide dough in half and shape into loaves. Place in prepared pans, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pans in oven and bake until tops are golden, or about 25 to 30 minutes. Invert pans onto a cooling rack for five minutes, then remove the pans and let cool.
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