Eid Muburak!

As the blessed month of Ramadan draws to a close, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid. Preparations begin with the sighting of the new moon and continue into the next day. Known as Eid al-Fitr, this important religious holiday marks the end of the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Because it is a joyous and special time spent with family and friends, an array of traditionally served foods have come to be associated with the end of the fasting period. After Eid prayers in the morning, people spend the day visiting neighbours and friends and exchanging gifts of food.

Different communities from around the world have different foods that are customary, but one thing that is common is that sweets tend to feature on the menu. Puddings, desserts and cakes are also very popular. Eid al-Fitr is sometimes known as “sweet Eid” due to the extensive variety and number of sweets that appear on menus at this time.

Traditional treats include things like fresh Medjool dates, burfi (milk fudge), and a wide variety of cakes. In Turkey, baklava will appear, in South East Asia, Gulab Jamun (a syrupy milk dessert) is popular, and so on.

In South Africa, Eid foods have a decidedly Eastern influence, with aromatic spices like cinnamon and cardamom coming to the fore in the traditional recipes that are made for the holiday. In the Western Cape, particularly among the Cape Malay community, there is a strong South East Asian direction. In KwaZulu-Natal, the flavours of India, Pakistan and other Middle Eastern countries are more prevalent. Dishes like semolina pudding, doughnuts and kheer are particular favourites.

SA’s much-loved “Giggling Gourmet” Jenny Morris, who is one the Good Food & Wine Show’s (GF&WS) super chefs for the Joburg show, includes recipes for Eid in her book “World Atlas of Food”. At the Cape Town leg of the GF&WS, Jenny paired up with her cooking comrade-in-arms Reza Mahammad, who shared this recipe for Sweet Vermicelli Pudding in episode 9 of his TV series on the Food Network “Reza: Spice Prince of India”. Known as Seviyan, this dessert hails from South Asia and is enjoyed during Eid al-Fitr. It’s very easy to make and can be served hot or cold. Click here to find out how to prepare this dish:

The GFWS wishes all its Muslim fans and friends a very joyous - and sweet – Eid!