Eid al-Adha: What to Enjoy If You Have a Food Intolerance

This year, Eid al-Adha will be celebrated across Australia with great enthusiasm, happiness and generous, delicious foods.

“Eid al-Adha is an Islamic celebration that is nearing the end of the Hajj, which is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia,” says Huda Al-Sultan, a certified Saudi-born dietitian and cook.

Muslims who do not go to Mecca celebrate it [at home]. Families and friends gather together to enjoy their time with each other. We eat a lot and there is always a lot of beautiful foods on offer, including sweets.”

“Eid is an opportunity for us to get to know each other better. So let’s look at Eid as an opportunity to create unforgettable moments, care for each other and think carefully.”

If you have nutritional requirements or food intolerances, you may have mixed feelings about what you will eat during upcoming gatherings. Will there be any culturally appropriate (and downright delicious) desserts to feast on?

The Sultan believes that people should take festive days like Eid as a positive opportunity to embrace our differences – including the differences between all of us in the way we eat. To do this, she told SBS, we must comprehensively cater to guests with dietary requirements.

“Eid is an opportunity for us to get to know each other better. So let’s look at Eid as an opportunity to create unforgettable moments, care for each other and think carefully.”

Embracing difference by accepting food intolerances

Chef and cookbook author Amina El Shafei feels the same way. A mother of three has one child with a nut allergy and another child with an allergy to cow’s milk.

Since nuts and dairy are a large part of many desserts, I have gained a strong culinary awareness of how to make desserts that cater to different nutritional needs.

She says there are some smart ways to cook safely around diet preferences or a health issue, while staying true to your nutritional beliefs and making sure every guest is satisfied.

“So be experimental and open to eating sweets from different cultures to suit your dietary requirements. We have the opportunity to do that here in Australia.”

“In Australia today, there are many different ingredients available that cater to dietary restrictions and food preferences,” says Al Shafei, who was born in Saudi Arabia to a South Korean mother and an Egyptian father.

“It is also important to remember that Muslim [celebratory food] It is not limited to Middle Eastern sweets only. It includes sweets from Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa, India and Pakistan [and more]. So be experimental and open to eating sweets from different cultures to suit your nutritional requirements. We have the opportunity to do this here in Australia. It is a matter of acceptance.”

Here are seven Eid desserts that can be made to suit specific dietary requirements.


Reese’s Milk

Various types of milk rice, which are naturally gluten-free, can be found in many cultures from India (semiya payasam) to Southeast Asia (Pulut Hitam) and the Balkans (sutlijas).

However, the Arabic version of rice with milk – rice with milk – is usually made with slow-cooked rice, milk, and orange blossom water. This dish can also be modified to suit dairy-free tastes. Simply replace cow’s milk with oat milk or lactose-free milk.

Maamoul vegan or gluten free

These popular Middle Eastern cookies are made with thick pastry made of ghee. But if you want to do without the dairy component, use vegetable butter.

For a gluten-free option, try making maamoul with your favorite gluten-free flour. Or, a bakery source that will make it for you.

Sultan: In the past, you would have struggled to find the maamoul that suited different dietary requirements. But these days, there are many home businesses and boutique bakeries that cater to people with dietary requirements.”

Sugar Free Baklava

Baklava is a popular sugar-rich dessert in Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Bosnia, Egypt and Syria.

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, have insulin resistance or gestational diabetes, you should avoid foods that are high in sugar. The plus side is that many stores in the Middle East now sell sugar-free baklava to replace sugar with ingredients like stevia.

If you are not sure if a sugar-free product is right for you, speak with the food producer directly and your GP.

Korean tteok

Tteok is a type of sweet and chewy Korean cake, made with rice flour.

“There are upwards of 50-100 types of Korean rice cakes,” says Al Shafei, delving into her South Korean heritage. “Festive rice cakes usually have a filling. Two plant-based flavors are pumpkin and red bean—and these options can also meet many nutritional requirements.”

Turkish Delight

Traditional Turkish Delight should not contain dairy, and it is also vegetarian.

However, some modern recipes may use gelatin as a stabilizing agent and include milk-based ingredients to lower their sugar content.

If in doubt, check the nutritional label on the back of the store-bought product. Or, make your own Turkish Delight the traditional way.

“But these days, there are many home businesses and boutique bakeries that cater to people with dietary requirements.”

floats

Floaters from Lebanon. However, the same dessert can be found throughout the Middle East, the Gulf, and the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and has a different name: Awami, Awamat, Lokumades, and Lokma.

Whatever the name, the dessert is distinctively characterized by donut balls covered in simple syrup. This dessert is dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan.

znud six

This Arabic dessert is crunchy on the outside, fried and dipped in sugar syrup, smooth in the middle, and filled with a thick, clotted cream called ashta. “It’s really delicious.”

It’s easy to make the treat nut-free: just ask the cook or producer to ditch the nuts on top completely or keep the nuts separate.

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