Celebrating Eid with Cape Malay cuisine
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EID, is a few days away and Muslims around the world will take part in the celebration of breaking the fast with friends and family.
Last year the religious holiday was in hard lockdown, so many are looking forward to sharing a feast with more loved ones around the table.
Popular local chefs shared what they are preparing for the auspicious occasion, with old favourites from traditional Cape Malay cuisine.
Food writer and chef Cariema Isaacs recently launched her cookbook titled Curried. Born and raised in Bo-Kaap, she has so many special memories of Eid, growing up. She fondly remembers shopping for clothes for the day, wishing neighbours and receiving money, then coming home to enjoy the meal that her mother and grandmother had prepared.
“During Eid breakfast, we like to say what we are grateful for and give thanks to God for having been able to fast during the month of Ramadaan,” Isaacs said. Cariema, currently located in Dubai, plans on spending a peaceful day with her family enjoying a wonderful lunch spread. This will then be followed by a Zoom call with their extended family in South Africa.
Her signature Eid dish is a roast leg of lamb served with vegetables paired with peppery gravy and sweet yellow rice. In addition to this, prawn and crayfish curries are always present at her table on this special day.
Bo-Kaap Kombuis is a restaurant run and owned by Nazli Larney and her husband Yusuf. Larney is the head chef at the traditional Cape Malay restaurant that specialises in Cape Malay cuisine.
Since 2006 when the restaurant opened, Larney has been developing her recipes. “Cape Malay cuisine is so easy because it’s our lifestyle. We come from generations of people who could cook so well; this kind of food is what we grew up with,” she said.
The chef remembers Eid always being about celebration and a time for family. She said everyone would have lunch or dinner together at her mother’s house; regardless of how small the house was, there was room for every family member.
Last year was the first Eid celebration that Larney had spent apart from her family. This year they hope to gather in small groups for various meals, instead of hosting everyone together for one meal, in respect of Covid-19 restrictions.
“For Eid this year, I want to cook every dish that keeps within the tradition of my Cape Malay heritage. I can’t wait to make my signature crayfish curry with a leg of lamb and savoury rice,” Larney said. She looks forward to Eid breakfast that they will share with her husband’s family when the men return from the mosque. This includes corned beef, an array of savouries, and freshly baked bread.
Taste Malay is a company owned and operated by Fayruza Abrahams that was founded in late 2017. Combining Cape Malay and a fusion style of cooking, Abrahams offers cooking experiences on Airbnb where she teaches attendees how to cook a three-course meal. In addition to this, Abrahams is the author of her cookbook titled Around My Table.
For this talented chef, Eid is about memories. “In the same way that you’d associate someone’s perfume scent with them, I associate the aromas in the kitchen with memories of many Eids in my childhood. Whenever I prepare meals for Eid, I experience instant nostalgia,” she said.
Last year, she spent Eid at home with her household and had a Zoom call with her family members. This year, they plan to spend Eid at her mother’s house while still keeping it small with only immediate family.
In the Abrahams family, Eid meals are potluck-styled. Her contribution to the spread is the traditional dish, denningvleis. It’s a sweet and sour lamb stew marinated in aromatic spices. For Eid breakfast this year, Abrahams plans to bake some fresh ciabatta rolls.