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Traditional Kuwaiti food items still present in Ramadan meals

KUWAIT: Traditional Kuwaiti foods are still present on the Ramadan iftar tables although Kuwaitis have enriched their meals with diverse foods brought from other communities, amid menus’ globalization in the digitally connected world. Chef Munira Al-Hay said in an interview that the Ramadan menu continues to include traditional foods eaten since many years ago. Old cuisines made from wheat and ground wheat such as “herees and jereesh” and the rice-chicken dish “majbous” have remained largely favored by many Kuwaiti people particularly during the fasting month. However, the Kuwaitis since the 1960s, have been open to enrich and diversify their meals, adding a variety of food such as salads, fried pastries, soups, jelly food and sweet drinks.

Kuwaiti chef Al-Hay has said the Ramadan meal is still decorated with traditional sweet food such as “lugaimat and sab al-gafshah,” deep-fried shaped pieces of dough, soaked in liquid sugar. Chef Sami Al-Sherida said that the Kuwaitis, in the 1960s, used to abstain from eating sea food during Ramadan because they were available at affordable prices throughout the year. He has added that the iftar meals, nowadays, have been different in terms of ingredients as compared to the ones taken for “sohour,” the pre-dawn meal. Moreover, people favor some kinds of food for hot and cold weather.

Chief chef at Kasco food company Sheikha Al-Mohammad said the Kuwaiti iftar meal, in the old times, was simple including dates, soups, “tashreeb” (cooked meat and vegetables soaked in tomato sauce) and rice. Also in the past, the common soup dish was solely made of lintel. “Tashreeb” used to be a main dish during Ramadan in the past, but now it has become a side one, Al-Mohammad said adding that many families now favor pastries cooked in air fryers rather than in deep oil.

Chef Al-Mohammad has also observed that rice dish that used to dominate the Ramadan meal in the old times is no longer present on the table at the dusk fast break, also noting that many young Kuwaitis in the present times favor steaks and hamburgers instead of the traditional dishes, such as “majboos laham” (rice cooked with mutton or beef), or “majboos dajaj” (rice with chicken). She has advised adherents to fasting to eat fried food, pastries and desserts in moderation for health reasons. – KUNA

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