Ramadan is the holy month in Muslim calendar and is celebrated with real zeal and zenith. This month is specified for fasting in which there are only two meals in the day. The meal which is taken at early morning before dawn is called “Sehri” and the meal, which is taken at the time of ending the fasting day at sun set is called “Iftar”.
Ramadan is also characterized by the various types of foods and dishes which are prepared for the Sehri and Iftar. In Pakistan, there is a variety of dishes which are especially made for the iftar parties and dinner in the Ramadan. There are two different categories of the iftar i.e. one is at the time of Iftar and other is for dinner after offering the evening prayer.
For Iftar, the most important are the drinks. Among the drinks there are many types of drinks made at the time of iftar to quench the thrust of all day long. In Pakistan, the nature of drinks made is different in the different cultural areas. For instance, in most of the villages of Pakistan, ”lassi” drink is used at the time of iftar. Lassi can be saltish or sweet. Lassi is also an integral part of Sehri in the rural areas of Pakistan as it is said that after Lassi drink made by plain yogurt there is sufficient decrease in the intensity of thrust all day till Iftar. Moreover, the most famous drink in Iftar is lemon drink which is a mixture of lemon, sugar, chilled water and salt in trace amount. It is believed to restore the loss of minerals in the hot summer. The lemon drink can be added with some colored substances like the famous Jam-e-Shereen, which can also be served alone without lemon in it. Some people are used to taking the drink of milk plus soda which is especially known to quench the thrust and to restore the energy level of fasting people. In Iftar parties, various types of dates are served to end the fasting. The Iftar in Pakistan is incomplete without the most famous dish of Pakoras and Samosas, which after dates have become an integral part of Iftar. The conventional dish of Dahi Ballay and fruit chart are also a part of Iftar. In sweets, Jaleebi, Gulab jaman and Ras Malai are the favorite dishes.
Then at dinner, various dishes of meat and vegetables are also prepared. At dinner, the chicken and mutton qorma, marine and river water fish, chicken baryani, chicken haleem, siri paye, rice, jalfareezi are famous. In vegetables, okra, cucurbits, potato dishes and some pulses are also of high traditional value. The vegetables mixed with chicken, beef and mutton are also popular.
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