This menu includes dishes from the Arab world in general, as well as those specifically from Jordan, Syria and Iraq.You'll find a mix of meat and sweet dishes, as well as two types of dessert.
Suggestion on how to set up this meal
Before getting out your pots and pans and starting though, put some thought into how your meal should be set up. Since this feast is based on recipes from the Arab world, why not set it up in a traditional Middle Eastern way too? Some components of this method are:
1. Everyone sits together and eats. Life seems to run in the fast lane for many of us today. Few of us have time to eat calmly and slowly, let alone with family.
Traditional meals from the Arab world, everyone sits together. This is an Islamic value as well. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Eat together, and do not separate, for the blessing is in the company (Ibn Maja).
If kids tend to make a fuss about eating, don't give them snacks about one to two hours before the meal so they are hungry by meal time and will eat with everyone else.
2. In many Arab countries meals are served on a cloth spread out over a carpet on the floor.Since this requires more space, the ideal place might be the living room, not the kitchen or dining room.
All the components of the meal are placed in dishes and platters with plates, spoons, forks, and glassware. The main dish is usually a meat dish cooked in a rich sauce.A dish of rice and fresh salad is also always served.
3. In some parts of the Arab world, like in Syria and Lebanon, a traditional meal is served on a low, large brass table.
4. Everyone eat from the same plate. More specifically, the typical Bedouin style of eating involves everyone eating from a communal platter using the fingers of their right hand.
The Prophet said: The devil is with each one of you in everything you do, even when you eat. So if one of you drop a morsel you should clean it and eat it, and not leave it for the devil. Lick your fingers when you finish the meal, because you do not know in which part of your food the Barakah (blessings) is to be found (Muslim).
If you're uncomfortable with this, then you can eat the traditional Egyptian way, where the table is spread with a cloth and all the components of the meal are placed in individual dishes and are set on the table at the beginning of the meal. Individual plates or bowls are also set together with knifes, forks, and spoons.
5. Add cushions for comfort. In Yemen, for instance, apart from the cloth set on the floor, cushions are spread out around the carpet to seat diners.
6. Remind everyone to wash their hands before eating.
7. Get one of the younger family members to say a short Dua (supplication) before eating. Especially remember those who have not been blessed with so much to eat. Chechnya and Mozambique are current examples to keep in mind. Everyone should pray for those suffering there and elsewhere and thank Allah for giving us more than we need to fill our stomachs.
Remind everyone to begin eating by saying Bismillah (In the Name of Allah).
8. Once the meal is over, remind everyone to wash their hands again and say the following as the Prophet instructed: Praise be to Allah, who gave us to eat and to drink and made us Muslims (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).
9. EVERYONE should help clean up after the meal. It is not Haram (forbidden) for men to help with the housework. In fact, this was a practice of our blessed Prophet.
Now, here is an example of a menu you can use to put together a great Eid feast based on a Middle Eastern menu (dishes from Iraq, Jordan, Syria and the Middle East in general).
Recipes from around the Middle East
A Middle Eastern Menu includes the following dishes:
Salad - Jordan
Baba Gannouj - Middle East
Tahsreeb Dijaj - Iraq
Holwah Tamar - Iraq
Sheibiat Pastry - Syria
1. Salad Recipe from Jordan
Courtesy of Hanin Kamal
4 roma tomatoes
6-8 eight romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 small onion
1/2 bell pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped finely
-Chop all ingredients into very small squares.
-Add the dressing.
-Serves four people.
-For the dressing: One tablespoon dried mint, one tablespoon bular wheat (presoak the wheat in water), the juice of two lemons, five tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well. Pour over salad, serve immediately.
2. Baba Gannouj
1 large eggplant
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4-5 tablespoons tahini
21/2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
-Remove green leafy part around stem of the eggplant but do not remove the stem.
-Place in a hot oven 450 degrees about 15 to 20 minutes or until soft. Allow to cool.
-Carefully remove the skin while holding the stem. Mash the pulp thoroughly with a fork or you may use a food processor. Gradually beat in the lemon juice alternately with the tahini.
-Crush the garlic with salt and mix into a paste. Blend the garlic/salt mixture into the eggplant mixture.
-Adjust salt to taste.
3. Tahsreeb Dijaj
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of ghee
2 heads garlic left whole and unpeeled
1 cup water
-Clean chicken and wipe dry with paper towels.
-Cut half of the lemon into quarters and rub the chicken inside and out with lemon.
-Season cavity and outside of chicken with salt and pepper and leave for 30 minutes to absorb flavors.
-Heat ghee or oil in a heavy pan and brown chicken on all sides. Remove outer layers of garlic, exposing the cloves. Leave unpeeled and attached to the root. Wash well and add to chicken.
-Reduce heat, cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
-Cut chicken into serving portions. ]
4. Holwar Tamar - Date Sweetmeat
1 lb dried pitted dates
1/4 cup ghee
2 cups walnut pieces
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
-Chop the dates roughly, and place in a heavy stirring pan with ghee.
-Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until dates soften and are combined with ghee.
-Spread half the date mixture in a 23 cm square cake pan.
-Sprinkle walnut pieces over the dates, pressing them lightly.
-Place remaining date mixture on top, spreading it evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with toasted sesame seeds, pressing them on lightly.
-Leave until cold and cut into small squares or diamond shapes.
-Store in a sealed container and serve as a sweetmeat.
5. Shiebiat Pastry
Courtesy Of Kinana Barudi
1 package of filo dough
1/2 cup of cornstarch
1 cup of whipping cream
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
-Get one package of filo dough from the frozen section of the supermarket and follow the directions on how to handle the dough.
-Then take a sheet of filo dough and cut it in half and fold each half until you have one strip .
-Then put in the cooled filling in.
-Filling: For each small package of whipping cream, put in two teaspoons of corn starch.
-After putting in the filling, start folding one corner of the dough diagonally across to the opposite edge to form a triangle and continue folding the triangle onto itself until you finish the strip.
-Reheat oven to 350 degrees and bake until it comes out golden brown.
-While it is still hot, drizzle some sugar syrup on top and serve it warm.
-Syrup: Dissolve sugar in water, and lemon juice, stirring constantly.
Photo Attribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iraqi_cuisine-Dinner-01.jpg