A time for Iftar parties

IFTAR PARTIES are the rage in the capital this season. For the devout who observe the holy month of Ramzan, Iftar is a time of sharing. Many invite neighbours, friends and relatives to share an Iftar meal at home.

For politicians, Iftar parties also double up as venues of political intrigue. By convention, top ranking Ministers and officials host Iftar parties in the capital during the holy month of Ramzan. However, the Iftar parties of this season are likely to kindle more public interest owing to the political turmoil in the capital.

Over the years, Iftar parties have also evolved as platforms to improve public relations. Leading names in the Airline and Tourism industry host parties during the Ramzan season.

Many star hotels are serving specialised menu for those observing the Ramzan fast. The restaurant captain of a leading star hotel in the city says that the Ramzan menu has found immense appeal among a large segment of customers. The Iftar feast traditionally starts with dates and lemon juice. The cooking is characterised more by the use of condiments rather than hot spices.

Imported dates seasoned in a sweetened sauce of brine and tamarind are a crucial ingredient of the Iftar fare. The feast often starts with the serving of the `Karacka'. These dried unripe dates form the primary component of any Iftar meal. The actual meal starts with serving of `Jeeraka Kanji' or `Tharikanji'. Jeeraka Kanji is made by boiling raw rice with a pulse variety known in Malabar as `Asali'. The `tharikanji' is made by adding milk, cashewnuts and chopped bananas to cooked `rava'. `Aripathiri' and `Kozhicharu' are the other two `Mappila' dishes found commonly in most Iftar menus.

The main course is often the famous `Kozhikodan' Biriyani, both chicken as well as mutton.

By Anand G