Mouth-watering Ifthar packages

Ifthar offering.  

ALLAHUMMA LAKA sumtu wa'ala rizqika aftartu (O God, for you did I fast and with your bounties did I break the fast). The prayer on their lips was short, simple and inaudible. For them it had great significance, after abstaining from food, drink and other worldly pleasures during the day. They were breaking their fast at a restaurant in the city at sunset on a Ramadan day.

Call it Ifthar, Ramadan fast breaking is special by all means. Muslims hasten to break their fast at sunset while their friends from other communities often join them to satiate their curiosity. For Ifthar remains a unique annual affair with special kind of food.

Several hotels in the city have realised the significance of Ifthar. The special Ifthar packages offered by restaurants like the Chicago Plaza, Canopy Coffee Shop at Abad Plaza, Cylone Refreshments (Padma junction), Nadaan and Cochin Tower are well appreciated.

Is there an Ifthar without `tharikanjhi' in Kerala? A delicacy or payasam of rava, `tharikanjhi' has become synonymous with Ifthar. So has rice pathiri, which still remains a predominantly Muslim food. And to go with pathiri, there is arguably no better item than chicken curry.

The Ifthar buffet offered by the Chicago Plaza has everything a fasting man requires. Dates and orange and some fruit juice make perfect starter, followed by a combination of snacks such as samoosa, unnakkai, cutlet and fried banana. Rice or wheat pathiri and idiyappam are served with chicken curry or fish roast. Ghee rice is indeed a speciality of the Chicago, followed by tea or coffee and firni or pudding for dessert.

The ambience is perfect for the Maghrib prayer. Quranic verses are heard through the stereo. Soon after breaking fast, people are led to the prayer hall. ``We arrange a complete Ifthar'', says K.A. Ansari, general manager of the hotel.

At Canopy, the crowd remains steady. The `tharikanjhi' offered by the restaurant has already become a hit. The Ifthar package is more or less the same. But beef roast remains a speciality with pathiri.

The steam-baked ada can satisfy those who are averse to sugar and oily items. For desserts, Canopy offers caramel custard, pastries or pudding, along with tea and coffee. Like Canopy, Abad Metro in the city and Abad Hotel at Chullikkal too are offering the Ifthar package. The Canopy has already started displaying the Eid cakes. Farook Yousuf Sait, who manages the restaurant, says the number of curious calls he gets has been on the rise.

But the package offered by Cylone is the cheapest available. It contains samoosa, irachipathiri, cutlet, unnakkai, banana roast, chicken ada, idiyappam, pathiri, chicken curry, tharikanjhi and tea. But, above all, the pre-dawn meal called suhoor provided by Cylone from 3.30 a.m. has become a comfort for the men who live alone in the city.

Muslims believe that anyone who feeds a fasting person too will have the same amount of reward from God as the fasting person. The restaurants, obviously driven by this spirit, are offering the packages at affordable costs.

Ramadan is a time when through fasting and breaking the fast, the people feel an increased sense of unity within the community. More than going without food, fasting draws them into a reflective and more humble state of mind.

By Abdul Latheef Naha