Life & Style

Mosques and hotels dish up sumptuous Sehri

Sehri or pre-dawn meal ready to be served at Thiruvananthapuram Manacaud Valiyapalli

Sehri or pre-dawn meal ready to be served at Thiruvananthapuram Manacaud Valiyapalli   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

In keeping with the spirit of Ramzan, they are serving elaborate spreads as Sehri, the pre-dawn meal for those fasting

At half past three in the morning, the aroma of neychoru (ghee rice) and mutton curry fill the air around Manacaud Valiyapalli Muslim Jama-ath. Hundreds have gathered at the mosque to partake of Sehri or Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal during the month of Ramzan. Plates laden with rice and curry are kept ready to be served to those trooping into a huge hall for the meal.

At Palayam Juma Masjid, it is rice, chappathi, porotta, chicken curry and vegetable curry for those observing the fast. Beemapally Dargah Shereef and Sasthamangalam Juma Masjid have neychoru and chicken curry.

Now that the 30-day fast of Ramzan is into its last 10 days before Cheriya Perunnaal, most mosques in the city and its vicinity have begun serving pre-dawn meals. Sponsored by individuals or the mosque in some cases, Sehri is served between 3.30 am and 4.40 am on the 10 days.

Devotees having the pre-dawn meal at Thiruvananthapuram Manacaud Valiyapalli

Devotees having the pre-dawn meal at Thiruvananthapuram Manacaud Valiyapalli   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“We introduced this nearly three decades ago for those who stay back at the mosque after their night prayers. They come to the mosque by 8 pm and leave only by 5 am. However, now there are people who come from far and near just to have the meal before the sun rises. We cook for 1,500-2,000 people but there are days when the number goes up,” says Abdul Khader, president, Thiruvananthapuram Manacaud Valiyapalli Muslim Jama-ath.

In addition to neychoru and mutton curry, mutton dalcha (called ‘dalsa’ in local parlance) is served every day at this mosque. “Dalcha has mutton pieces and ingredients of sambar, such as dal, vegetables and tamarind water. Biriyani is served on ‘Laylat al-Qadr’ or the 27th night of the fast, which is a special day for us. That’s the day when at least 3,000 people turn up for Sehri,” he adds.

Sehri or pre-dawn meal ready to be served at Thiruvananthapuram Manacaud Valiyapalli

Sehri or pre-dawn meal ready to be served at Thiruvananthapuram Manacaud Valiyapalli   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The same dishes are served at Manacaud Central Juma Masjid, which falls under the Manacaud Valiyapalli. “After the late night prayers, a group of us stay back at the mosque itself. Some take a power nap, get up by 3 am, do their prayers and have Sehri,” says Manaf T, an auto driver.

His friend Badusha M has the meal at Beemapally mosque. “The fare changes every day. Usually it is biriyani, porotta, appam, rice or neychoru with a non-vegetarian side-dish,” he says.

The meals are sponsored at Sasthamangalam Juma Masjid also. “We have been serving Sehri for the last four years. Usually it is a vegetarian meal with fish fry, chappathi-chicken curry or neychoru-chicken curry,” says Zulfikar Ebrahim, secretary of the Masjid.

Meanwhile, Palayam Juma Masjid is an exception in that Sehri is served throughout the month, with the expenses borne by the Jama-ath itself.

“Every day, over 500 people have food here. And, if there is a sponsor, we arrange for dinner as well,” says M Salim, general secretary, Palayam Muslim Jama-ath.

Many travel from the suburbs to Palayam mosque for Sehri. Like this group of IT professionals from Kulathoor. “Five of us reach here on our bikes by 3 am, attend the prayers, have the food and head back to our apartment. Since there is no traffic in the wee hours, it takes us just 15 minutes to cover the distance. It is not easy to get up by 2.30 am, but once we freshen up, we look forward to the morning ride,” says Mohamed Bilal, who works with an MNC at Technopark.

Devotees having the pre-dawn meal at Palayam Juma Masjid

Devotees having the pre-dawn meal at Palayam Juma Masjid   | Photo Credit: Ali Mansoor

Usually Bilal and his friends, all of them bachelors and non-Malayalis, depend on hotels at Kazhakuttam and Karyavattam for the pre-dawn food. “Dosas, puttu, idiyappam, appam, neychoru… we get everything from these hotels. I also used to have the meal arranged by an educational institution near the University of Kerala campus at Karyavattam. We have to register in advance there,” says Ali Mansoor, another IT professional.

Several hotels and eateries in the city also serve Sehri, especially for students, bachelors and those staying alone. A restaurant owner near Nanthancode, who doesn’t want to be named, has been providing Sehri for free on all days of the fast. Usually it is rice with sambar-fish fry or a side-dish of chicken or beef.

An outlet at Plamoodu junction distributes parcels in the morning but they are not in it for any kind of publicity.

Food for all

“We have to make food for our staff who fast and so we prepare some more to distribute to those who can’t arrange for the meal otherwise. Initially, we had intended it only for students in the neighbourhood. Now, besides students, which include men and women, people come from far-off places also to collect Sehri. The food is prepared early so that the hostellers can take the parcels by 10.30 pm. Others collect the kits by 3.30 am,” says the owner of an eatery.

“Even those who are not observing the fast or are from different communities also take the parcels. This is the month of giving and we are happy about giving food to those who need it,” he adds.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 10:49:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/how-mosques-and-hotels-are-dishing-up-sehri-or-pre-dawn-meal-this-ramzan/article27323537.ece

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