Though every Middle Eastern country has its own national and public holidays, one thing that binds them together is that celebration of two main feast throughout the year: Eid Al Fitr, a three day feast marking the end of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid al Adha, which marks the time that Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca. What’s more, you can be sure that when it comes to either of these festivals, food will play a very integral part in their celebration.
As families gather together during these special holidays, most Arab countries will have larger versions of their national dishes, while others will make special meals for the holiday feast. When it comes to these delicious delicacies and Arab hospitality, if you’re invited to an Arab house during these special occasions and you leave hungry, then that’s your fault. So, eat up and enjoy all of these festive foods that you can indulge in during these special times of year which will give you a great taste of Arab culture!
A Levantine dish, kibbeh are football-shaped croquettes made with bulgur dough and semolina that are stuffed with ground meat like beef, crushed walnuts, grated onions and an assortment of herbs and spices like parsley, black pepper, cumin, red pepper and salt fried. Sounds really mouth-watering, right?
Tagine is a hearty Moroccan stew prepared with plenty of lamb or beef, aromatic vegetables and spices, and quite often, fruits like plums and apricots. All of this is slow-cooked to perfection in an earthenware pot called a tagine, from whence this delicious meal gets its name.
It’s been called a celebration of food, and what better than this dish originally from India to celebrate a feast? Truly, nothing beats biryani, a delectable dish of vegetables and meat buried under a mountain of delicately spiced fluffy rice, especially if you have a big Arab family with an even bigger appetite.
This flavorful, buttery shortbread cookie, shaped in the form of domes, balls, or flat cookies, is filled with a variety of stuffing including dates, pistachios, or walnuts and rose water, then covered with powdered sugar once baked. Primarily served during the Eid festivals in the Levantine countries of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine they are also served as kleicha in Iraq and kahk in Egypt and Sudan.
An essential dessert in Ramadan, ghraybeh, is another Middle Eastern shortbread cookie that you’ll also find among the sweets offered during the Eid holidays. They have an awesomely crunchy and buttery texture that melts in the mouth, making you believe in love at first bite.
This jelly-like dessert known as aseeda is made up of a cooked wheat flour lump of dough with butter and honey added to the top. It is enjoyed in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Sudan and Libya where it is one of the most popular dishes traditionally eaten during religious festivals.
Called khushaf by Egyptians and hosaf (or “water”) by the Turks, debyazah is a rich, thick mix of fruits, nuts and dried apricot seeds. Saudis look forward to eating this dish for breakfast in Eid so much so that they start cooking it three days before the Eid holidays officially start.
Word-famous baklava is a crunchy dessert and is especially loved throughout the Arab world. Made of layers of filo pastry, butter and a mixture of chopped nuts baked in an oven and then soaked in a sugary sweet rose-flavored syrup, it served on many tables across the Middle East, if not the world.
Now that we’ve got your mouth watering for a taste of Arab food, why not satisfy your hunger to learn Arabic language skills by downloading the Kaleela Arabic language app? Much like the variety of food you’ll find all across the Arab region during the Eid holidays, Kaleela offers a variety of Arabic dialects including Levantine Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic and now you can even learn Syrian Arabic at the touch of your fingers, anytime, anywhere! Out of all the Arab language apps out there today, Kaleela is truly the best way to learn Arabic in a fun and interactive way.