Our staff writer Charlie sat down to talk Ramadan with the lovely Nasheet. She cooks for FoodSt as a tribute to her mother and the festival of Ramadan holds special childhood memories, that she’s sharing with our community through a very special dish.
Nasheet describes Ramadan as different for everyone, but ultimately the same, with two unifying factors: food and spiritualism. Because fasting from sunrise to sunset really means disconnecting with everything materialistic to focus on spirituality, doing (more) good deeds, brotherhood, sisterhood, peace - and working towards being a better person.
It’s an incredibly important period in the Muslim religious calendar and an opportunity for self reinvention as the fasting process relieves body of toxins and harmful substances, while also opening the heart to a reconnection with those who have no choice and literally can’t afford to eat.
Muslim children around the world can fast from the age of 10 during Ramadan and schools in Muslim countries typically move to a relaxed half day set up, as they embrace teaching the kids true empathy for those less fortunate than themselves. In Australia Nasheet is happy to report a similar experience with her children’s school being supportive of their religion, culture and fasting by making concessions for intense sporting events like the recent cross country.
But Nasheet is also proud to report that her kids took part regardless, noting that it is ultimately a simple 12 hour fast in a mild Australian Autumn. Perfectly manageable with the right fuel for breakfast - which brings us back to that very special dish.
To celebrate Ramadan with our FoodSt community Nasheet has prepared 20 bowls of a traditional Ramadan stew: Haleem. It’s a slow energy releasing dish packed with lentils, barley, semolina, halal meat, and traditional spices “a must have at every iftar table during Ramadan” that Nasheet likens to having turkey at Christmas.
There are different versions in different regions, with each one favouring a slightly adjusted lentil to meat ratio in this filling savory breakfast stew, made in whopping 500 litre cauldrons. Typically two nominated family members stir and mash throughout the labour intensive process, as the meal slow cooks and the whole family comes together to taste it and test it until it’s finally ready.
A wonderfully magical slice of life we’re very excited to share with you for Ramadan in 2022.
Read more about it here.