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Ingredient Tue Aug 10 2010
Ramadan begins tonight. For people who are Muslim, the 9th month on the lunar calendar began today, and Ramadan continues for the next month. This is a time of fasting and being patient and spending more time and energy focusing on Allah. The fasting is the hard part, especially during the summer when the period from sunup to sundown can be quite long. (5:54 am to 7:56 pm, for example)
Since Ramadan is about fasting, and not about food, there aren't many dishes that are universally common across the variety of Muslim countries that practice fasting during Ramadan. However, dates are commonly eaten at this time. Not only is it believed that Mohammed broke his fast by eating dates, but they're particularly well-suited to fasting. Dates are high in fiber, sugar, magnesium, and potassium. When dates are eaten as part of a light meal with protein and complex carbohydrates, it may be easier to fast without experiencing a severe sugar crash.
Almost all of the grocery stores along Devon Avenue Between Bell Avenue and California will sell dates in a variety of forms. You'll be able to find them dried by the pint, quart, or case. And the season for fresh dates that are mostly grown in California is just beginning.
For ideas on what to do with dates, you can try the Orange Pistachio Salad with Pomegranate Molasses or the Dates with Spiced Molasses and Candied Ginger. You can also substitute dates in any recipe that calls for dried figs.
And if you're looking for some ideas of dishes that will likely be made all over the world in people's homes to celebrate Ramadan, AllRecipes.com has a pretty great round-up with some very interesting dishes.
Assallamu Alaikum--May peace be upon you.