Tag Archives: Ramadan

Sweeten Mother’s Day with Something Sweet

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All  Moms are special, including my Mom.

Every time Mother’s Day arrives, I always remember special foods that my Mom cooked for me during my childhood.

No doubt that there’s a powerful connection between my Mom and foods. After all, it was my Mom who fed me my first meal and most of the foods I ate growing up.  My Mom comforted me with my favorite soup, cheer me up with sweet treat, and made my favorite meals just because she loved me.

To sweeten Mother’s Day, I would like to share a simple sweet treat locally known as “Manisan Kolang Kaling” (candied palm fruit) which my Mom often made for me and my sisters as sweet treat when we were kids.

What is ‘Kolang Kaling’?

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Holy Fruit for Holy Month

ramadan-2013

This week Muslim around the world began this year’s observance of the Ramadan fasting season, obligatory for all adult and physically fit believers and regarded as one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith.This holy month is celebrated all over the world with great enthusiasm and joy.

In my country, one of the most populous Muslim countries in the World, Ramadan has become the most celebrated and awaited month of the year. When Ramadan approaches, Indonesia suddenly turns into a state of festivity.

The faithful who fast wake up early in the morning to have a meal before dawn (sahur). In order to awaken the faithful, the call to prayer is sounded from neighborhood mosques. In addition, groups of young boys walk around neighborhoods beating on drums and other noise makers to awaken the faithful (and their neighbors) yelling out “sahur, sahur.

makan-sahur-ramadhan

The breaking of the fast at sunset is a very social occasion for which special foods are prepared for gatherings with family or friends. Upon hearing the sound of the bedug drum on the television or the call to prayer from the neighborhood mosque at sunset, the faithful know it’s time to break their fast, or buka puasa. This is usually done with a sweet drinks and sweet foods. 

One of the popular sweet foods is date or known as “kurma’ in my country. It is considered as ‘Holy Fruit’.

kurma buka puasa

Why dates in Ramadan?

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Festivity, FreshFish and FatCat

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Last September 10 and 11, we celebrated Eid ul-Fitr often abbreviated to Eid, a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fiṭr means “conclusion of the fast”; and so the holiday celebrates the conclusion of the thirty days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan.

As the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, Eid is known in Indonesia as Idul Fitri (or more informally as Lebaran) and is a national holiday. It is common during this period for people to engage in “mudik” activity. It is an annual tradition that people in big cities such as Jakarta (where I live), Surabaya or elsewhere, travel to their hometowns or other cities to visit relatives, to request forgiveness, or just to celebrate Eid with the whole family.

One common menu during Idulfitri is Ketupat (please see the picture above). Ketupat or packed rice is a type of dumpling from Indonesia. It is made from rice that has been wrapped in a woven palm leaf pouch and boiled. As the rice cooks, the grains expand to fill the pouch and the rice becomes compressed. During Idul Fitri in Indonesia, ketupat is often served with chicken curry, accompanied with spicy soy powder

During the recent Eid holiday, I enjoyed a full week holiday and had plenty of time to try out recipes in my kitchen. One of the interesting recipes I tried was the famously hot and spicy Manado (also known as Minahasa) cuisine called Cakalang Rabe Rica which can be translated to ‘Hot Spicy Shredded Tuna’.

Why Manado?

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