We’ve started to count down for the end of the Ramadan month. There is a very sweet festival waiting for all muslims at the end of this fasting month. And I want to share still another Ramadan tradition before it ends. This is a month when rich people think more of the poor. People understand the importance of foods more as a result of their fast and they realize that not everybody can afford even the basic foods. You know iftar tents open for the poor, but there is still another good way of helping these poor people if you want to help individually.
In the past, people used to buy some packaged foods, put them in a bag, and take it to the poor people’s homes. Today, these packages are prepared by big markets and they are sold there. These packages are called Ramadan Package (Ramazan Paketi). So what does a ramadan package contain? A usual ramadan package generally has dry foods such as rice, bulgur, chickpeas, lentils, beans, black tea, pasta, sugar, salt, flour, vermicelli 1 or half kilo packages from each. In addition, there is a 1-kilo-bottle oil. So it becomes easier for people. People go buy ramadan packages from the market and take it to the ones in need. Markets prepare different versions of ramadan packages according to the quality and price of the foods. Then you can buy the package suitable for your budget, and help others. Also, you pay less for these foods when you buy them in these packages, so this is another reason for people to prefer buying these prepared ones from markets. You can also make some additions to these packages with some meat, chicken, cheese, etc. if you’re an indivual supporter. Besides the people helping individually, the municipality of the city buys ramadan packages in big numbers and distribute them to the neighborhoods they’ve assigned in advance. These packages can also be given to the workers of big companies as a gift. In short, ramadan packages are great gifts if you want to support one’s budget at least in this month.
Today, our dinner was a simple sauteed meat (veal) served with our usual rice pilaf.
- 500g meat (veal or lamb), diced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped in half moon (I used purple onion)
- A few scallions, chopped
- 2 medium sized tomatoes, grated
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt to taste
- A pinch of black pepper
- A pinch of thyme
Put the meat in a flat pan, cover it and cook it over low heat until it releases its water and then absorbs it back.
Add olive oil now and stir. Sprinkle salt and other spices.
Put peppers first and stir it until they get tender, then add onions and scallions and keep stirring.
After they all get tender, pour grated tomatoes and stir once. Cover it and cook for about 10 minutes more.
Finally, take it from fire and put the bay leaf on the top, cover it again. Let it rest for some minutes. The flavor of the bay leaf will spread into the dish during this time. As I don’t love a very dense flavor of bay in my dish, I use this method, but if you love it, you may put it into the pan with the spices.
Support The Poor
Mrs Duck is shopping for dinner and she decides to buy some meat to cook a tasty dish for her family. However, she will buy more than she needs this time. Her husband is at the market buying a ramadan package for a poor family, and she wants to add some meat to this package. She knows how expensive meat is for some families and this will be a perfect package if they add the meat. When the butcher learns why she’s buying more, he generously adds a little more meat for free to contribute this ramadan package. And they both wish all people do the same more often without waiting for this holy month. (drawing by mom)