As Muslims around the world gear up to celebrate their most beloved festival Eid ul fitr after a month of rigorous fasting and utmost reverence, the entire world is gripped by the festive spirit and the holiness that this very holy festival brings unto us. For many of us 90’s kids, Eid has been forever synonymous with feast and enjoyment. At a time when India had emerged to be seemingly more secular and festivals more inclusive of all, Eid indeed was one of those celebrations we would all wait eagerly to partake of.
Like all other festivals, Eid ul fitr is all about celebrations and compassion, with an array of munching delights out there to hype up the merriment just a bit more! And indeed, as someone with an entire mouthful of sweet teeth, Eid brings to me the exhilarated joy of sweet exuberance like no other thing in the world ever can.
Perhaps the bounty of sweet treats that Eid bestows so generously makes it all the more enjoyable and happy. Here’s a look at some of the traditional desserts from around the world that for sure lights up Eid for everyone out there!
Eid ki Sewaiyyan
For a country where Muslims constitute the largest minority population, the traditional version of eid remains moderately rooted in traditions. Remarkably then, sewaiyyan is the very ubiquitous Eid sweet that we would gulp and slurp in large spoonfuls, taking in every trickle of taste as if it were the proverbial nectar of the Gods. And indeed it is! The special Eidi Sewaiyyan is an emotion that’s not very hard to identify with, once you have been treated to this scrumptious dessert. Rich, creamy and delightfully sweet, the awaitment of a bowl of this delicious gorgeousness marks all Eid celebrations and makes us experience heaven bursting in our mouths!
However what we know as Sewaiyyan isn’t interpreted the same everywhere around the globe. The same preparation goes by different name in different countries, with slight variations in preparation but the underlying essence of the dish remains the same. Sweet and delightful indeed, as beautifully enchanting as the festival it signifies.
For most of the south east Asian countries, sewaiyyan or seviya is the name given to the dish made of vermicelli slowly cooked in creamy milk, sweetened with sugar and enhanced with the addition of dry fruits and the like.
#2 Sheer Khorma
Pakistan however calls this essentially vermicelli dish as the sheer khorma. Literally translating as milk with dates, the sheer khorma is made richer by the addition of dates, among other dried fruits, and also butter.
#3 Shai mai Eid
In Myanmar, the similarly prepared vermicelli pudding is known as Shai Mai Eid. This version of the sewaiyyan is served with fried cashews, raisins and coconut shreds after it is cooked tender in milk.
#4 Siwayyon ka zarda
Though of unspecified origin, Siwayyon ka zarda is also one lesser known interpretation of the vermicelli. A comparatively drier vermicelli dish loaded with ghee and sugar, the zarda however is also a bit trickier to make.
Kheer might not be a traditional Eid dessert but this preparation of rice in sweetened milk and loaded with dry fruits, specially kaju and kismish, has very much emerged to be a part of all celebrations of the sub continent.
A warm, milky rice pudding also dominates the Eid platter of the Middle Eastern countries. Known as muhalabiya, the pudding is served garnished with crushed pistachios.
Morocco’s version of the pudding is known as laasida. Laasida however is not a rice based preparation. The Eid breakfast specialty is similar to rice pudding but is made of couscous, butter and honey.
#8 Halvo (xalwo)
Somalia’s trademark sweet Eid preparation goes by the name xalwo. Essentially a version of the halwa, the Somalian xalwo is made of sugar, oil and cornstarch with the addition of nutmeg and cardamom and rarely peanut.
Like every celebratory occassion, Eid is also a confluence of near and dear ones, replete with conversations and complete with the iconic combination of tea and biscuits. Traditional biscuits are also an essential part of the festivities.
Specially in Egypt, cookies dominate Eid festivities. The traditional ‘kahk’ that are walnut filled cookies covered with powdered sugar are also sometimes served plain. These small circular biscuits with a delicate exterior are very much an integral part of the Egyptian Eid celebrations.
The Palestinian version of the Eid cookies are known as Graybeh that are generally stuffed with either pine nuts or almonds.
#11 Hab el hal
Palestine also has special cardamom cookies that are just the perfect accompaniment to the tea. Called Hab el hal, these cookies are relished by groups of people while reliving moments and memories.
The biscuits that are an essential part of the Iraqi Eid celebrations are known by the name Klaicha and are stuffed with dates or walnuts.
In Arab countries, the Eid special cookie like preparation is known as Ma’amoul. An ancient filled pastry or a shortbread cookie made with dates or nuts or also almonds and figs, Ma’amoul is in fact the king of desserts in the Arabian mainland.
If tea and biscuits are on the radar, can coffee and cakes be far behind? Of course not! Eid in some countries also calls for warm, spongy cakes and juicy pastries that are not just sweet- they are heavenly!
#14 Lapis Legit
Among the most celebratory of Eid special cakes is Indonesia’s thousand layered cake Lapis Legit is the most iconic of the lot. A typical cake of flour, butter and eggs infused delightfully with spices like cardamom and clove, the layered cake is a very time consuming Eid delicacy.
A traditional middle eastern cake, Basbousa is made from semolina batter and sweetened with orange flower water or rose water syrup.
#16 Cake wa Kolcha
Afghanistan’s extensive Eid spread also has a cake on the platter. Similar to a pound cake, Cake wa Kolcha is a relatively easy on the palette preparation amongst the myriad of Eid delicacies.
Another middle eastern dessert specialty, Kunafa is a cream filled pastry sugar soaked and garnished with crushed nuts and pistachios. A super rich sweet dish that sure enhances the festiveness of celebrations like Eid.
Layers of buttered filo pastry soaked in honey or sugar syrup and served with nuts, Baklava is a crispy dessert that is the mainstay of Eid celebrations in the Arab countries.
But apart from the more celebratory cakes and biscuits and pudding, Eid festivities are as steeped in uniqueness. Some of the most unique Eid desserts are also some of the worthiest!
Turkey‘s very essential sweet is the lokum what is known to the rest of us as Turkish delights. The gel like dessert is sugary starch with nut fillings. These sweet and chewy candies are not just delicious, they are also enticing with their array of vibrant colors!
An exclusively Eid bread, Cambaabur is a Somali wheat and millet combination that is savoured with yogurt. Eid servings are a bit more elaborate, with sprinkled sugar complementing the tanginess of the yogurt.
#21 Umm Ali
Middle East abounds in desserts that sound as unique as they are in their very essence. Literally translating as Ali’s mother, Umm Ali is a close variant of the bread and butter pudding with nuts, but without the eggs.
An Eid dessert that is quite distinctive is the Bosnian sweet dish Tufahija. Essentially walnut stuffed apples, poached or stewed in sugar syrup, Tufahijas are one of the most elaborate among desserts. They are traditionally served in a glass bowl with syrup and whipped cream and are just the perfect sweet ending to a meal.
A jelly dessert much like lokums is the Yemeni traditional delicacy Aseeda. Made with wheat and honey as the primary ingredients, Aseeda is also one of the mainstays of religious and traditional Eid festivities in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Libya and Sudan. In Sudan, the flan like dessert is typically served boiling hot and eaten quite fast.
A popular dessert of the Arab countries, Balaleet is an interesting traditional sweet and savoury preparation. Sweet vermicelli noodles are topped with a fried egg to make this Eidi delight with a twist.
Saudi Arabia’s Eid celebrations are incomplete without the extensively prepared dessert by the name Debyazah. Cooking Debyazah is however a tedious process, with almost three days of extensive preparation. Made of fresh nuts and dried fruits, Debyazah is definitely an extravagant Eid treat.
Legamat or Luqaimat is another Eid favorite from the Middle East that are fried doughnuts or dumpling coated with thick sugar syrup and bears close resemblance to Gulab Jamun.
Close on the heels of Luqaimat is another Arab dessert Awameh or ‘lugmet il Adi. Fried dough puffs drained and soaked in sugar syrup, Awamehs are also sprinkled with sesame seeds for the added crunch.
Another Eid special is Qatayef– a special fried or baked pancake like dessert filled with sweet cheese or nuts and soaked in sugar syrup.
#29 Kopra Pak
The most exotic of ingredients come together for this another extravagant Eid dessert. Made of mawa and saffron, freshly grated coconut and milk, Kopra Pak is all things divine and heavenly.
#30 Bint Al- sahan
A Yemeni sweet dish Bint Al- sahan is made from a dough of white flour, eggs, yeast and clarified butter. The dish is prepared in an oven with all of its layers baked separately and served with honey on top.
#31 Sufi Malpua
A very sweet dish that is an Eid ul Fitr specialty, Sufi Malpua is a regal upgrade of the malpuas that are anyway a revered Indian dessert. With special ingredients like Kesar, Maida, Sooji and also condensed milk, Sufi malpuas are exotic in their taste and inviting in the fragrance.