Holiest month in Islamic calendar in Zanzibar
Cooking during Ramadan: Alfreeda Bozen (photo) has prepared a special iftar dish for us
Ramadan (also: Ramadhan), a month-long period of fasting from sunrise to sunset, and opulent iftar meals at night, is for Muslims all over the world a festive and contemplative time. Depending on the sighting of the moon, it is expected for 1-30 April this year; Zanzibari often start it one day later! Faridi Hamid, a historian in Zanzibar, says: “Visitors are encouraged to learn more about the meanings and customs of Ramadan. It’s a period of restraint and spiritual connection with others.” During the day, non-Muslims may eat and drink normally; most restaurants offer food and beverages a bit away from the public eye.
Try a Ramadan recipe!
Claudia Afreeda Bozen, 35, who runs the KwetuKwenu kiosk in Fumba Town, has selected a traditional recipe for us:
Sweet coconut bananas (in Swahili: Ndizi Mbivu)
Ingredients for 2 portions (multiply as desired): 2-3 green bananas, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 3-4 cardamom pods, fresh vanilla.
Peel the bananas by knife, cut them lengthwise and into smaller pieces. Extract fresh vanilla (you’ll find the best in Zanzibar!), open cardamom pods to sprinkle the seeds over the bananas and water in a non-sticky pan. Slowly bring to boil for about ten minutes, when the water has evaporated add the thick coconut milk and sugar, continue boiling over little heat, until it has a thick, creamy consistence.
If you want to make this dish the real Zanzibar way, place a layer of banana peels on the bottom of your cooking pan or pot while boiling. It will intensify the flavour. Have a lovely iftar!