Oman Observer

Made for Ramadhan

Ramadhan is the time when traditional food of different types is cooked in households. The quality and taste of the food vary from one region to another, one country to another. And the reason behind having traditional food during Ramadhan is their purity, easily digestible ingredients and incorporation of elements that keep an individual beat the scorching summer. The holy month is the best time to experience typical Omani food. Mostly traditional dishes are served during iftar. The most popular among the traditional foods are sakhana (a thick sweet soup made of wheat, date, molasses and milk and Fatta (a meat and vegetable dish, mixed with Khubz rakhal, thin Omani bread made out of unleavened dough.

Harees, Mishkak and Shuwa are the best delicacies. Harees is prepared with wheat mixed with meat, Mishkak is skewered meat grilled on charcoal and Shuwa, is a typically Omani delicacy prepared only on very special occasions. These three dishes are delicacies respectively for the first, second and third day of Eid.
The whole community participates in Shuwa cooking. The dish consists of a whole cow, goat or camel roasted for upto two days in a special oven prepared in a pit dug under the ground.
Shuwa preparation is very elaborate. The cooking time varies from 24 hours to 48 hours and the process begins by marinating with red pepper, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cardamom, garlic and vinegar. Then it is wrapped with dry banana or palm leaves and put in a ground oven. After the Shuwa is ready, it is distributed among family and relatives depending upon the size of the goat, cow or camel.
Among the beverages, kahwa (coffee), a strong, bitter drink seasoned with cardamom, and Laban — salty buttermilk — are popular.

Yoghurt drinks that are flavoured with cardamom and pistachio nuts are the preferred beverages. Lokhemat is another accompaniment to coffee, which are balls of flour and yeast flavoured with cardamom and deep fried until golden then served with a sweet lime and cardamom syrup. The sweetness of this dish often counteracts the bitterness of the kahwa.
Omani Halwa, a sticky sweet gelatinous substance made from brown sugar, eggs, honey and spices is one of the popular desserts of Oman. It can be flavoured with many different ingredients such as nuts, rosewater or even chocolate.
Due to festivity engrained with purity during Ramadhan, the traditional food tastes original. There are many hotels and restaurants in town that specialise in traditional Omani
food.
These days, there are many young entrepreneurs who run home-based food businesses and deliver at the customer’s doorsteps. The trend is catching up, which is a win-win situation for both — the customer and the seller.

Kaushalendra Singh