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The way Muslims break their fasts during Ramadan varies across families, communities, and cultures, but one thing that’s common is for restaurants around the world to offer set carryout meals called iftar boxes: neatly packaged dinners for people who are fasting to pick up, take home, and eat for iftar, the post-fast evening meal.
“Ramadan is a time for reflection,” chef Farhan Momin says. “It’s a very spiritual month, and it’s very humbling.” Farhan runs Atlanta Halal Meat & Food, a butcher shop and takeaway spot, with his father Ahmed, and this year for Ramadan, they’ve created an iftar box filled with foods inspired by the dishes that their Indian American family enjoys together. Available for local pickup, the box includes a rotating selection of iftar dishes, including the sandwich Farhan invented when he was reheating food his parents dropped off in his college dorm and the Medjool dates the Momins traditionally use to break fast each evening.
“Dates signify a blessing from God,” Ahmed says. “Breaking your fast with one gives you energy for the evening prayers and subsequent feast,” Farhan adds. This box comes with Medjool dates—which Farhan loves for their rich taste and high sugar and vitamin content—plus seasonal fruit.
The Nimbu Pani
Whenever Farhan tells people he’s fasting during the Muslim holy month, he gets the same follow-up question: “Not even water?” Drinking anything is prohibited until iftar, so the Momins wanted to offer something that is easy on the stomach after a day without food or beverages. Enter their nimbu pain (top left corner), a lemonade spiced with black salt and cumin.
Samosas are a must at iftar parties Farhan has attended. One big samosa, filled with potatoes and peas and served with cilantro and tamarind chutneys, is nestled in the box.
The Nihari Sandwich
One time in college, Farhan left some nihari—a slow-cooked meat dish—on the stove for too long, and it shredded apart. So he took some bread “and treated it like a sloppy Joe,” he said. “It was delicious.” Now on the menu at Atlanta Halal Meat & Food, it’s become a best-seller. So naturally it’s part of the iftar box.
“Kheer is just quintessential to Ramadan for us,” Farhan shares. This cardamom-y rice pudding (top right) is served for dessert at least a few times during Ramadan in the Momins’ household. “After fasting you want something a little sweeter, and kheer is very good because it is filling and cooling,” Ahmed explains.
Take a scoop of kulfi; add rose syrup, milk, agar-agar jellies, vermicelli, and basil seeds; and you get this falooda (bottom right corner). “It’s a delicious, high-calorie way to cap off your fast,” Farhan says of the dessert.
Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit