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‘Id ul Adha, creating traditions

This is my second ‘Id ul Adha in Guyana. At least this year my sister and niece were also here; last year sister the elder was in Trinidad, bearing the niece in her belly. I seem to be creating new traditions for myself, and these will be reflected in the recipes I will be posting soon.

The posting may take me a few days, since I am currently packing to go to Barbados. Or trying to, anyway. I celebrated ‘Id, perhaps settling into Guyana a bit more since it was my 2nd such celebration and similar routine, all the while knowing I was going to be displaced from a “home” for another time. Yes, Lifespan of a Chennette will be posting (hopefully) from Barbados for the next several weeks. I cannot be more definite about the time period since these decisions were taken during the whole Christmas holiday season and I first heard 2 weeks, then told in passing 2 months, and once people start talking in months who knows…

Anyway, ‘Id ul Adha is technically the bigger of the two ‘Ids Muslims celebrate (‘Id roughly means a celebration and is the same as “Eid”; the “E” and the apostrophe both represent the sound of a guttural letter in the Arabic alphabet) and the preference for the spelling is because that’s the way my father taught me the science of transliterating the arabic language into English spelling :)). The other ‘Id is ‘Id ul Fitr, which is the celebration that comes after Ramadan (since Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar, ‘Id ul Fitr is really in the month of Shawwal, the first day of the month AFTER Ramadan). ‘Id ul Fitr is usually more recognised in Trinidad and Tobago than ‘Id ul Adha, possibly because the one Muslim public holiday is granted for ‘Id ul Fitr, and possibly also because of the public awareness of a whole month of fasting that precedes it. Guyana has a holiday for ‘Id ul Adha, while Suriname has a holiday for ‘Id ul Fitr. Guyana also has a holiday for Milad-un-Nabi, the supposed birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (s), but I am not getting into that.

More exposition :) ‘Id ul Adha commemorates the sacrifice of the Prophet Ibrahim (s) (or Abraham) of his son Isma’il (see the apostrophe again?). There’s a difference of belief between Muslims and Christians, where the latter believe this near sacrifice involved the son Is’haq (Isaac). Muslims who can afford it are obligated to sacrifice our best animal and distribute the meat. The usual practice in this part of the world is to sacrifice bulls, each animal being held in “shares” of an odd number. Or, if Mom gets the urge, she does her sacrifice in a sheep, and we get mutton 😀 I like mutton. One year, maybe I’ll do mine in mutton. Although it hasn’t been so many years since I have actually had money to be able to be one of those who can do the sacrifice.

Guyanese vermicelliMy ‘Id this year, like last, was spent at my brother-in-law’s village masjid in Guyana. There were 18 animals this year, which included all 6 shares (spread over 2 bulls) of my immediate family. I didn’t stick around much after the salaah (prayer), just like last time, just a little bit longer to lime with the sister and niece, take some pictures and politely eat some vermicelli. Vermicelli is Guyana’s answer to our Trini sawine. Except it’s not. It’s made from the same ingredients, but entirely different product. There it is, what we in T&T tend to call sawine-cake if we refer to it at all, because it’s the same vermicelli noodles, milk, sugar and spices, but not in a liquid drinkable, soupy form, no. It sets into a solid substance that is cut into squares. I don’t hate it, but it’s not something I necessarily like. Although this one yesterday, was not bad. I don’t have a picture of sawine I only have a couple not so great photos of sawine, but found one on Flickr that gives you an idea of the Pakistani version – Pakistani vermicelli, although in our family we like ours to swim in a bit more milk :-)

Guyanese masjid cookingI also got to see them light up the firesides to cook the rice, and dhal and prepare for the kurbani (sacrifice) beef. In Trinidad, we may use the same big pots (karahis) but cook over big gas ring stoves. In my home village Cottage, I grew up with the cooking of pelau on ‘Id ul Adha, as the complete meal in a pot for all the people dealing with the cleaning and sharing of meat. There were years also with rice and dhal and curry beef (with stew chicken for those who didn’t eat beef – obviously not Hindu 😉 but not everyone likes red meat) and sometimes hot paratha on the BIG tawahs (or purchased cheaply) to go with a good stew beef (curry beef I am not a big fan of, stew on the other hand I can actually enjoy once in a while!). This time, unlike 2 Ramadans ago, I surreptitiously managed to take a picture of the firesides.

Upon my return to my flat, after catching up on some sleep (the salaah was at 7 am and I got to my sister’s to help at 6 am), I made sweet bread, and later accras. These are the traditions that I seem to be making as I made accras several times during my first Ramadan in Guyana (2nd Ramadan I ended up spending most of it, not fasting, in Trinidad with the typhoid fever) and then for my first ‘Id ul Adha, so it seems to be an ‘Id thing for me. And for that first ‘Id ul Fitr I spent in Guyana with the sister, I made sweet bread, nice Trini coconut sweet bread, spiced just right and NO little things in it other than grated coconut. No raisins, or cherries or mixed peel to ruin the taste or texture (yes, just my humble opinion, but there it is…). Last ‘Id ul Adha, knowing that I was about to receive my first share of beef all by myself, I spent some time cleaning the freezer (tiny, small flat), while I waited. What on earth was I going to do with this beef?? I don’t eat much red meat, eating beef with spaghetti and lasagne occasionally (MINCED) and not much else. I was going to be getting hunks of beef!

Beef Rendang-First attemptI had seen this and was intrigued by the recipe, so I set about to research and came up with Beef Rendang, an Indonesian beef curry with coconut milk and spices. Mmmm. I made it that first ‘Id and it was great. I had to improvise and used several different recipes to come up with one that I could manage (after all no galangal or lemongrass), but it was worth it. And I made it again later in the year, modifying it to add some bhaji (spinach). And tried it with the kurbani mutton my family had when I visited Trinidad later. Mmm. So, that’s what I am doing right now. Making a beef rendang from my recent cookbook purchase Curry, fire and spice: over 150 great curries from India and Asia (Mridula Baljekar). Of course with modifications, since I still have no lemongrass or galangal. But more exposition on that process in a later post.

For now, I must end my ‘Id ul Adha and return to thoughts of work. Suitcases rarely pack themselves, and kitchens NEVER clean themselves. Don’t get me started on the clothes in the washing machine. Sigh.

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51 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. niceness :)
    still trying to understand what ‘shares’ means but i’ll figure it out :)

    1. The TriniGourmet on January 1st, 2007 at 10:34 pm
  2. i like sawine 😀

    2. The TriniGourmet on January 1st, 2007 at 10:34 pm
  3. darn…and I tried so hard to expound on everything 😉 let’s see – people share the cost of an animal, if it’s a large animal like a camel or a bull, (with sheep or goats, it’s an individual sacrifice)
    so…all the people who shared the cost of the animal, get an equal share in the meat, so “shares” :)

    3. chennette on January 1st, 2007 at 10:41 pm
  4. oh !!! 😀 heee 😀

    4. The TriniGourmet on January 1st, 2007 at 10:57 pm
  5. do you have to watch the animal get cut? :O

    5. The TriniGourmet on January 1st, 2007 at 10:58 pm
  6. no…some places, people have it done by a butcher and they just collect the neatly packaged meat; the butcher or organisation may distribute the meat to the the poor directly, so you’re just receiving your personal share; and in some places, the sacrifice takes place on the mosque compound or some such area (villages, rural communities), where people who want to watch can and then everyone pitches in to act as butcher for the day (if you haven’t hired a couple real butchers)
    I saw it when I was a child a couple times and I am ok with that. I know where beef comes from. :-)

    6. chennette on January 1st, 2007 at 11:05 pm
  7. if someone is vegetarian then i guess they would ask for their share to go to someone else /the poor etc. ?:) is vegetarianism seen as weird?:)

    7. The TriniGourmet on January 1st, 2007 at 11:08 pm
  8. would they be considered uncool if they were vegan and didn’t take part at all?

    *i’m maco :P*

    8. The TriniGourmet on January 1st, 2007 at 11:08 pm
  9. i want sawine :(

    9. The TriniGourmet on January 1st, 2007 at 11:09 pm
  10. Well, technically…if you were vegan and you believed it was wrong to kill animals at all, then it would be difficult to be completely Muslim, since the sacrifice and the belief that God created certain animals for food, is part of the religion. As long as you say the necessary prayers, have good intentions, and don’t wantonly kill or waste the meat, then you can use the animal lawfully for food (except of course for the pig :)) and for other needs, like clothing or shoes, I think. No one can make you eat it, but if you are an adult and have the means, the sacrifice is obligatory. There may be other conditions, I don’t know.

    As for vegetarianism, there are many people who may choose not to eat meat and are Muslim. You still make the sacrifice and give away to charity and your share to charity or to friends.

    Are there any similar obligations in Judaism that require the eating of meat, if not the sacrifice?

    10. chennette on January 1st, 2007 at 11:28 pm
  11. There isn’t really a requirement of eating of meat in Judaism. I think I probably have these questions on my mind cos Tu B’Shevat is coming up… which is like the celebration of the trees, and the seder (religious dinner) for it is a vegetarian one. There’s a school of thought that in like the messianic age we will all be vegetarians and no one will eat meat anymore. But there’s another school of thought held by some Orthodox that with the rebuilding of the Temple, that is supposed to come with the messianic age ,that animal sacrifices will be re instituted and that makes them giddy and more than a little turned on (there are no animal sacrifices cos there is no Temple). So those are two completely different Jewish ways of viewing the role of meat in ‘the perfect world’ :)

    There are some traditions that say that a Shabbat meal (Fri. night) without meat is cause for grieving but i think that’s more anecdotal 😛 There’s also the requirement to place a shank bone on the Seder plate for passover.. but some vegans use an Orange or cube of tofu instead. Not sure if all schools of Judaism would approve it but I don’t think it would stop them anyway 😛

    I tend to eat more on the fish/veggie side of things cos that way i can enjoy dairy desserts without the 3 hour waiting period that comes with eating meat :)

    11. The TriniGourmet on January 1st, 2007 at 11:42 pm
  12. Hmm, wonder if the Shabbat meal without meat as “bad” is in any way linked to the tradition of some Christians to eat fish on a Friday :-) I guess there are always going to be people who practise their religion differently – free will and all! There may very well be a group of vegan Muslims I don’t know about.

    There really is no element of vegetarianism in Islam…I don’t think there is anything about meat/no-meat in the Islamic teachings on the Messiah/Mahdi either…it’s not obligatory to be a carnivore, but there are no periods where you abstain from meat. Fasting is fasting from ALL food and drink and there are no other special periods of food-restriction. What is halaal (lawful) is always halaal and what is haraam (unlawful) is always haraam, unless in times of desperation.

    And thus have I passed 2 more hours of not packing my suitcase…I really am skilled at procrastination!

    12. chennette on January 1st, 2007 at 11:51 pm
  13. i told myself i’d go to bed an hour ago 😀 but then you got me curious with this thread. and then you got me even curious about veganism and islam lolz…

    ‘that group of vegan muslims’ http://www.ivu.org/news/1-96/muslim.html

    ok me really go night night now 😀 you go pack :) why you bother unpacking is beyond me lolz 😀

    13. The TriniGourmet on January 2nd, 2007 at 12:02 am
  14. yeah – I did some googling after that question :-)

    I unpack so I can wash…that’s the only reason…well, that and the fact that every now and then I get fooled into thinking I am in one place for a few weeks and I want to live life “normally”.

    14. chennette on January 2nd, 2007 at 12:23 am
  15. Sorry I didn’t take pictures of the sawaine yesterday/day before yesterday.
    6 shares in your immediate family?
    /me is confused…
    I didn’t think a brother-in-law was immediate family…

    I’ve met a vegan jew and vegetarian jews (because it was easier to keep kosher that way…they said).

    You don’t eat shrimp!!!

    15. Lilandra on January 2nd, 2007 at 1:18 am
  16. I didn’t mean that last bit badly because people tell me things like “You don’t eat pork!!!” and I survive but other people seem to be touch so I’m sorry if that was upsetting.


    /foot in mouth

    16. Lilandra on January 2nd, 2007 at 1:19 am
  17. ahm…well, he’s family?
    whatever, I stressed…packed, but now cleaning up kitchen so I don’t come back to strange smells
    and still have to go to office tomorrow EARLY

    17. chennette on January 2nd, 2007 at 1:19 am
  18. heeee me no stress lilandra :)
    i doh eat shrimp
    i doh eat shark
    i doh eat crab
    i doh eat stew chicken n macaroni pie on de same plate 😀

    it all good ;D

    18. The TriniGourmet on January 2nd, 2007 at 3:41 am
  19. @TriniGourmet: do you eat stew chicken and macaroni pie at the same time???
    tsk tsk tsk
    bad kosher! :-p

    @Chennette: Well you said immediate family. Why you have to go to the office for?

    19. Lilandra on January 2nd, 2007 at 4:09 am
  20. no lilandra i said i don’t 😀 lolz 😀 *wake up yuh eyez* 😀

    20. The TriniGourmet on January 2nd, 2007 at 4:12 am
  21. wait, why you up? go to bed 😀

    21. The TriniGourmet on January 2nd, 2007 at 4:12 am
  22. i thought all of allyuh was supposed to go to sleep last night, not continue to surf and post comments…

    22. chennette on January 2nd, 2007 at 8:20 am
  23. i’s a bad gyul 😈

    23. The TriniGourmet on January 2nd, 2007 at 9:05 am
  24. TriniGourmet, although I am Christian, my denomination also observes the clean/unclean meat rule. So no shellfish, shark, pork and all that.

    Chennette, yuh know it real hard to keep track of you. One minute yuh in Trinidad, the next minute yuh leaving Guyana to go Barbados, lol.

    I also wanted to tell you I had a lemon grass plant but my dog didn’t like it so she killed it. I have to find another and keep her away from it. She kills everything I try to grow.

    24. Mani on January 2nd, 2007 at 12:05 pm
  25. @TriniGourmet: You said you don’t eat it on the same plate…you could be I think it is Romulan (?) or Monk…put it on separate plates and eat it :-p

    Must be more specific

    @Chennette and TriniGourmet: I grading! I can’t sleep if I was grading. I done now. So, now I sleep. I even went to work. Aren’t I a good girl? I must earn the expensive camera and lenses Chennette wants me to buy.

    25. Lilandra on January 2nd, 2007 at 2:40 pm
  26. heeehe yuh trying to get me in trouble lilandra lolz 😀

    i makin barfi 😀 aren’t all yuh proud ? 😀

    26. The TriniGourmet on January 2nd, 2007 at 3:24 pm
  27. Now see, if you still lived over here we could tell you exactly how to use that freezer full of beef. 😉

    More traveling, moving, packing, unpacking… more immigration officers to get to know… oh the excitement!

    Happy New Year!

    27. ewe_are_here on January 2nd, 2007 at 5:19 pm
  28. Romulan, iz Romulan…that’s how they figure out that woman who was pretending to be Vulcan that time…I remember

    @ ewe are here oh, I would love to cook for people and have others eat it :-) although it may not be prime Angus or whatever! I already cooked my first set and gave most of it to the sister…she didn’t understand why I was cooking after 9 pm to give it away the next day…

    @ Mani – I would ask why your dog doh like your cooking so that she killing your seasonings. you’s be cooking experimental dog food for her nah? I don’t know where to find lemongrass in Guyana unfortunately.

    And to all, yes, back in a hotel and running through airports for the New Year! Happy 2007!!

    28. chennette on January 2nd, 2007 at 9:08 pm
  29. heheh – just had a thought – now I going to get Trekkie searches finding my blog…as if the search for Linux Eid Mubarak and Crystal Meth recipes weren’t strange enough (crystal meth?? what’s next – homecooked LSD?)

    29. chennette on January 2nd, 2007 at 9:16 pm
  30. mmmmm :) sounds like a good addition to my barfi 😀 damn! why you took so long to post this 😀

    30. The TriniGourmet on January 2nd, 2007 at 9:24 pm
  31. I remember one book I read…I thought it said Romulans separated their food…but I forget…*sigh*
    I will ask my fount of Trekkie knowledge.

    How’m I getting people into trouble? Barfi is good…too much dairy :(

    31. Lilandra on January 2nd, 2007 at 11:01 pm
  32. crystal meth in barfi?

    32. Lilandra on January 2nd, 2007 at 11:02 pm
  33. me no trekkie :) picard’s the hott tho :)

    spike de barfi oui 😀 😀

    next thing some rabbis read this thread and think i eating de food on separate platez 😀

    33. The TriniGourmet on January 2nd, 2007 at 11:14 pm
  34. Hehehe!
    Well, that’s why you have to be more careful of what you say! :-p

    So lacing brownies with crystal meth is kosher?

    34. Lilandra on January 3rd, 2007 at 1:06 am
  35. steupz 😛 all yuh bussin meh filez 😀

    35. The TriniGourmet on January 3rd, 2007 at 2:58 am
  36. Hey you don’t like cooking for me….

    sob sob sob

    Hi ewe are here —-I said hello on your Blog !!!!! Hope you don’t mind….

    36. Hmmmm on January 3rd, 2007 at 11:03 am
  37. I have a lot of recent ‘gavle goat cam’ and related search hits on my blog. Hmmm. Go figure.

    37. ewe_are_here on January 3rd, 2007 at 1:17 pm
  38. To: Hmmmm.

    Of course not! The more the merrier!


    38. ewe_are_here on January 3rd, 2007 at 1:18 pm
  39. TriniGourmet: tsk tsk tsk

    Who doesn’t cook for Hmmmmmm??

    39. Lilandra on January 3rd, 2007 at 2:42 pm
  40. Lilandra – Chennette doesn’t like to cook for me…..and when I make stuff for her she never takes pictures of it….sob sob sob

    40. Hmmmm on January 3rd, 2007 at 4:25 pm
  41. She always complains about cooking for me :-(

    41. Lilandra on January 3rd, 2007 at 6:03 pm
  42. What is this? Criticism when I am away and deprived of internet access so I can’t refute the tales!!

    Hmmmm – I cooked for you! Did we not make curry chicken? And all the years before, developing paratha skills and experimenting with accra… And as for pictures…I have tonnes of pictures of certain twin babies, but next time I’ll forget them and focus on the food :) Which was great everytime you cooked and much appreciated, especially that pasta and courgettes thing you made. I know the real reason you fretting is because I refused to change nappies 😉

    @ Lilandra 😛

    42. chennette on January 3rd, 2007 at 7:58 pm
  43. Well, I not sure how one cooks a tin of baked beans but I’m sure that’s a great accomplishment.

    At least, those are the stories I heard!

    43. Lilandra on January 3rd, 2007 at 10:55 pm
  44. stop trying to get me in trouble…if we go vacationing I will make sure you not invited anywhere else…that is of course, if I’d be invited!

    44. chennette on January 3rd, 2007 at 10:59 pm
  45. How am I getting you in trouble??

    45. Lilandra on January 4th, 2007 at 12:51 am
  46. lilandra only bussin people filez 😀

    46. The TriniGourmet on January 4th, 2007 at 2:49 am
  47. lalalala

    Lilandra is all alone…suffering separation anxiety from all that marking and being away from the computer…hehehe

    47. Lilandra on January 4th, 2007 at 4:38 am
  48. Hey I made fried bakes, trout with vegetables (or was it salmon??) and ammmmm fresh fruit with stuff – dessert (that people hadn’t had…that looked pretty…can’t remember what else.

    But the curry chicken was VERY nice…and all of the food in Barbados….before you made new university friends…

    Lilandra – thanks for the heads up on the baked beans…you can’t imagine the insults on that front…

    I made toasties as well…oh will have to think about what else…but we did see lots of things/castles…with strange people following us…smile

    Oh and for some reason the twins loved you on sight….hopefully number 3 will be the same…you should have changed nappies – its character building and it would have given me some free time to cook… :p

    48. Hmmmm on January 4th, 2007 at 4:00 pm
  49. Changing nappies is character building?
    I must have loads of character by now, with more to come!
    (Though not as much as Hmmmmm, mommy of multiples! 😉 )

    49. ewe_are_here on January 4th, 2007 at 5:34 pm
  50. HA! You shouldn’t invite her over by you anymore.

    50. Lilandra on January 4th, 2007 at 6:16 pm
  51. if only ewe were having multiples

    51. Lilandra on January 4th, 2007 at 6:17 pm

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  1. […] made this for ‘Id ul Adha this year, and ‘Id ul Fitr last year. New traditions. Posted in Ramadan, Trinidad, ‘Id, Trinidad and Tobago, recipes, […]

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