For Muslims here and abroad, the fasting month is nearly over and many are making preparations to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr.
For 30 days during Ramadan, the Muslim faithful abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset - but that will come to a close on the evening of Wednesday, May 12 when celebration of Eid begins.
Like any celebration, no Eid party or commemoration is complete without food, so Canvas has visited two Muslim restaurants in Auckland where festive dishes will be served.
The owners of Songket Malaysian Cafe in Northcote and Paradise Indian Restaurant in Sandringham are also sharing recipes for their traditional favourites.
The Arabic word Eid means "feast, festival or celebration" and it's a worldwide celebration for Muslims who regard it as a joyous and happy occasion shared with family and friends, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
It may be the biggest Islamic celebration back in his native Hyderabad, but Paradise restaurant boss Salah Mohammed says he considers himself blessed to be here.
If it wasn't for the Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people would flock to the Old City and thousands would head to the shopping street of Charminar and Laad Bazaar to feast on delicacies.
But with the virus raging in India, Salah says this year's celebration will be different, with many celebrating in their homes and extending greetings to family members and friends via Zoom and social media.
Salah moved to New Zealand 14 years ago. He says he misses celebrating Eid with his family.
"In India, most of us work long hours and Eid is the only time we actually spend quality time together as a family," he says.
Growing up, his duty was to make sheer khurma - a dessert that literally means milk and dates - and is made only during Eid, according to Salah.
"We'd make this in huge portions and cook it in a huge pot and we would put it into small containers and distribute it to our neighbours and friends," he says.
"To me, sheer khurma is the taste of Eid. It brings back such fond memories. Eid is not Eid without it."
His other festive favourites are haleem, a rich mutton stew, and kadai gosht or lamb kadai, a curry made by slow-cooking lamb pieces on the bone with tomatoes, onion, garlic and garam masala, and shish kebab.
This will be the fourth year that Nooreizzrul Ifzat Noorul Nazir, 24, will be celebrating Eid - or Hari Raya as it is known in his native Malaysia - away from his family.
Nooreizzrul has fond memories of Raya celebrations growing up in Kajang, about 20km southeast of the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
"My annual duty during my teenage years was to marinate and skewer satay, while my other family members would 'gotong royong' [cooking as a community] to cook the other dishes like rendang and sayur lodeh," he says.
Lontong, a dish made of compressed cake in a mixed vegetable coconut curry, is what he would eat first thing on Hari Raya morning.
A long-standing tradition in Malaysia is the open-house gathering, where almost every Muslim residence opens their homes and spreads warm hospitality to guests - be they relatives, friends or even strangers.
Nooreizzrul and the other co-owners at Songket, a business they just took over in March, will be planning to recreate this "Malaysian festive feel" this Hari Raya.
Besides putting traditional festive dishes on the menu, they are also planning an open-house gathering for friends and special customers.
"I miss my family lots, but in New Zealand, friends and some of our close customers have become like family now," he says. "It is only right that we extend the warmth and joy of Raya with all who have made us feel welcome in our adopted homeland."
Eid means "celebration" and Mubarak means "blessed", often Eid Mubarak is used as a greeting over this period but the Malaysian greeting is "Selamat Hari Raya".
A mixed vegetable curry dish paired with ketupat (compressed rice cakes), lontong is a Hari Raya staple at many Malaysian homes. The curry's mixed vegetable gravy looks spicy but is quite mild and is even slightly on the sweet side, with a beautiful coconut milk aroma. It's a dish Songket Malaysian Cafe boss Nooreizzrul Ifzat remembers having for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the festive season. This is his version:
6 Tbsp oil
40g galangal, crushed
2 sticks lemongrass, crushed
1 litre coconut milk
1 litre warm water
1 carrot, cut in chunks
150g long beans, cut in 4cm lengths
2 pieces tempeh, cut in cubes
4 beancurd, cut in cubes
1 pack su'un/cellophane noodles
100g fuchuk/beancurd skin, soak until soft, cut into 2.5cm lengths
150g cabbage, cut in pieces
Salt and sugar
150g red onion
80g fresh turmeric
40g dried shrimp, soaked for a while
Ingredients to be served together
Compressed rice cake, steam until cooked, cut into cubes
Tempeh, thinly cut and deep-fried
Beancurd, cut into cubes and deep-fried
Sambal anchovies, optional)
Heat oil in a wok until hot. Stir fry blend ingredient until fragrant, add crushed galangal and lemongrass.
Pour in coconut milk and warm water and bring it to boil over moderate heat, stirring continuously so it's not lumpy.
Add carrot and long beans. Cook until the vegetables are softened.
Add tempeh, beancurd, su'un, fuchuk and cabbage, cook until soft.
Season with salt and sugar. Add more water if the soup is too thick.
Serve with compressed rice cake, boiled egg, fried beancurd, fried tempeh, fried anchovies and sambal anchovies (if using).
Other traditional Hari Raya food that's available at Songket during the festive season
Satay ayam with spicy peanut sauce
Seasoned, skewered and grilled chicken meat served with peanut sauce, with a side of ketupat and cucumber slices.
Rendang involves the marinating and preparation of beef that is slow-cooked in coconut milk and spices over a few hours till the meat is soft, spoon-tender and aromatic.
Biskut cornflakes madu
No Hari Raya celebration is complete without sweet treats and cookies. One of the more popular ones is the butter honey cornflakes cups.
A must-have in any Eid spread, shish kebab is made with a spicy meat mixture threaded on a skewer and cooked over an open fire. Variants of this delicacy are found throughout the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus - and, according to Paradise Restaurant owner Salah Mohammed, it is also an Indian favourite. This is his version:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
4 pinches of cinnamon powder
4 pinches of China salt or monosodium glutamate (MSG)
5 pinches of chaat masala
1 green chilli, chopped
1 bunch of coriander, chopped
1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 pinches of red food colouring
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp ginger
1 kg minced lamb
Mix all the ingredients into a bowl and ensure they are combined well. Marinate for at least an hour. The mixture could even be left in the refrigerator overnight.
Thread the meat on to skewers, leaving enough space on one end to allow ease of turning the skewers.
Preheat the barbecue or grill pan to medium-high heat. Add the meat when the grill is hot but not smoking.
Cook for about five minutes per side, until each side is brown.
Other dishes to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr at Paradise Indian Restaurant
A Mughlai dish of rich mutton curry made by slow-cooking lamb in bone pieces with tomatoes, onion, garlic and garam masala.
No Eid spread is complete without biryani, especially in Hyderabad. The fragrant rice dish is layered with favourite meats that usually include chicken, lamb or goat.
A popular Iftar staple, haleem is a rich mutton stew made with coarsely pounded meat. The dish is slow-cooked for seven to eight hours and vigorously stirred with a stirring stick.
A must-have sweet treat for Eid, this wholesome sweet milk pudding and vermicelli is topped with nuts and raisins.