Assalamo alykum. In the 5th Chapter of Ramadan An Event to Share, we have with us South Arfrican blogger Dilshad Parker from Hungry for Halaal. Her space not only features recipes but halal restaurants in and around South Africa. If you happen to travel this part of the world, her space is must to check out for the best foodie haunts. Today she is sharing with us South African Ramadan with the recipe of Pez.
Assalamoalykum. Thanks to Huma I am delighted to share with you some of our Ramadan traditions in Cape Town. While we live in a Western country there are pockets of Muslims all over and these communities have integrated well with the population. We have been fortunate especially in Cape Town to have much tolerance, understanding and respect in being able to practice our religion easily and without restraint.
When I was growing up, during Ramadan in the suburbs which are predominantly Muslim you would find as dusk descends, young children hurrying over to neighbours bearing plates of snacks for iftar, and hurrying back home with plates filled with snacks from the same neighbour. This exchange kept the community bonds strong especially during the blessed month. Today, things have changed so much. The communities are no longer so tight and many young professionals have moved into more affluent neighborhood where the neighbor are seldom Muslim.Now we don’t hear the Muazzin’s call in person but instead turn to technology and switch on the radio to the Islamic station to hear the athaan for Magrib and time to break fast. In Cape Town it’s traditional to break your fast with milky rose flavored falooda and snacks like samoosas and pastries. But one of the most rooted traditions in my Konkani house has become the addition of pez,(pronounced pears). This rich, creamy porridge with vermicilli, semolina, sago, cardamom and cinnamon isutterly warming and comforting after a long day of fasting. A small bowl after breaking fast with dates and water sherbet has become our tradition before the evening meal.
The Cape Town Malay community has a tradition of making this dish only from the 15th of Ramadaan. But we as Konkanis make it all month. There are different versions of it. I have had it thin and runny enough to drink from a cup or extra thick like pudding which has your spoon standing up straight which was just as delicious. I like it as a porridge, somewhere in the middle so I can scoop up the deliciousness with my spoon and savour every morsel.
Here is my recipe for this hearty and warming dish.
25 ml butter
25 ml sago
100 ml water to soak the sago
125 ml extra-fine vermicelli
25 ml Semolina
3 cinnamon sticks
3 elachi (cardamom) pods cracked
1 litre milk
15 ml rose water optional
45 ml sugar (or more or less to taste)
25 ml blanched and slivered almonds (optional)
Soak the sago in the water for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter on medium heat in a saucepan. When it has melted, add the elachi and cinnamon and let it become fragrant for a few seconds. Then add the vermicelli and toss about till it starts to go golden brown. Add the semolina and stir about till it goes slightly pink. Pour the milk into the saucepan. Bring to the boil while stirring then add the pre-soaked sago and simmer for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking. The sago should become transparent. Add the rose water, sugar and almonds and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes before serving. You can add more milk if you want it thinner. It also thickens up upon standing.Enjoy.