Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and is a time of great celebration and food for Muslims around the world. Family and friends to come together to wish each other ‘Eid Mubarak’ (meaning ‘happy Eid’ or ‘blessed Eid’) and streets and homes will come alive with music, chatter and the sights and smells of celebratory feasts.
This is an event that revolves heavily around food. The dishes eaten tend to be rich; savoury courses are indulgent and often lengthy to prepare and there are many types of sweets and desserts to follow. Meals tend to be served family style, so imagine tables laden with dishes of stew or tagines, platters of spiced kebabs, elaborate jeweled biryanis and endless side dishes.
The sweets are numerous in kind and plentiful and may include sweet pastries such as baklava, syrup soaked dumplings such as gulab jamun, or sweet and salty desserts including kunefe. Many will enjoy sheer khuma, a warm, sweetened milk made with vermicelli noodles; this rich, thick mixture is silky with ghee and flavoured with nuts and dried fruits, including dates.
As with Iftar, dates are a significant presence at the Eid table and along with vermicelli are one of the most commonly consumed foods. The Prophet Muhammed is said to have broken his own fast with dates, and they are considered to be a very healthy, healing food. Vermicelli noodles, too, are added to many sweet dishes and are prized for their slippery texture.
You can find the recipes here from the professionals on Edgware Road and food writer, Helen Graves, specially to celebrate Eid. These two recipes are inspired by traditional Eid recipes from around the world and include these two important ingredients – dates and vermicelli. The first is lamb and date meatballs in a rich aubergine sauce – a savoury recipe with a touch of sweetness –and the second is kunefe, a syrup soaked dessert made with vermicelli and salty cheese.