Up next in How to Celebrate Ramadan (8 videos)
Celebrate the Islamic month of fasting known as Ramadan with this Howcast video series about the Muslim observance.
You Will Need
- Approved ingredients
- Culinary skill
Understand the terminology
Learn the correct terms. Halal means permissible, lawful, or recommended in Arabic, while haram means illicit. These two words are often used to describe foods that are either allowed or forbidden.
Plan your menu
When planning your menu, keep in mind that Islamic law has several different schools of interpretation. All agree that fish with scales are halal, for example, but there are differing opinions on shellfish.
Steer clear of pork
Islamic law forbids the consumption of pork. Look carefully at ingredient labels—meatballs, hot dogs, and even marshmallows can contain pork or pork products.
Eat correctly slaughtered meat
Other meats are not automatically halal. Animals must be ritually slaughtered in the name of Allah with one slit to the throat, and then drained of all blood. This slaughtering method is called zabihah.
Steer clear of carnivores and carrion
Carnivorous animals, birds of prey, and animals killed by accident or by another animal are all haram.
Islamic law forbids alcohol consumption, which includes cooking with alcohol. In recipes calling for wine, beer, or liquor, substitute mixtures of vegetable stock, fruit juice, and vinegar.
Eat your veggies
Eat as many vegetables and legumes as you want. They’re all halal.
Beware of vanilla
When making dessert, beware of vanilla, a common ingredient in sweets. Vanilla extract's alcohol content makes it haram, but pure vanilla beans are halal. Synthetic vanilla flavor may be permitted if the manufacturer used no alcohol to process it.
Hit the stores
Once you've chosen your menu, it's time to buy the ingredients. Many cities offer halal butchers, and your local market may offer halal packaged foods.
Cook your meal
Cook your meal. Once you know your ingredients are halal, there are no more restrictions, and you can adapt any cuisine to these rules.
Give thanks and eat
Before eating, remember to give thanks to Allah for the food before you. During the meal, always pass to the right.
Share your meal
Invite others to your table. When the prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was asked what his favorite food was, he replied, "The one I am sharing."