Thanks to our friends at Robinsons Supermarket, we received a few Halal products to play with in the Pepper kitchen. Halal is an Arabic word that translates to lawful or permissible. In Islam, it refers to the types of food and drink that the faithful are allowed to eat, as well as being a guide to proper behavior in normal everyday life. Food that is forbidden is called haraam (also spelled haram).
While the concept of halal food has religious roots, even non-Muslims may benefit from adopting some of its tenets. Much haraam fare (like alcohol or liempo) are actually considered bad or fattening by modern health-buffs.
Pork is one of the things on the permanently banned list (sorry guys, no bacon for you), but that’s okay because beef, chicken, fish, and lamb are allowed.
One interesting thing to note is that beyond the meat itself, even the preparation that goes into the slaughtering of the animals affects whether it is halal or haraam. In addition to certain religious requirements, a Halal food supplier also has to practice specific steps in order to ensure that the animal doesn’t suffer, and the meat does not get tainted.
The proper slaughtering process involves three main parts (if you’re squeamish or a vegetarian, this the part where you skip ahead to the next paragraph). First, prior to anything else, the butcher prays. He says “Bismillah” (In the name of Allah) before even touching the animal and then declares “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest) thrice. Only then is he allowed to kill the animal (while it is still conscious) by slitting its throat with a very sharp knife. The butcher must take care to fully sever the throat, windpipe, and the blood vessels in the animal’s neck without cutting the spinal cord. Finally, since the consumption of blood is haraam, the animal is drained fully of all its blood, making sure no blood clots remain, before it is considered halal.
For this recipe, we’re making use of Halal Paratha and Chapati. If you’re unfamiliar with these products, they’re similar to the much more common Roti. All three are types of Indian flatbread, differing only in thickness and texture. Chapati is made from very fine whole-wheat flour. It’s made to be very, almost paper, thin. Paratha, on the other hand, is slightly thicker compared to Chapati, with several oiled layers in each. The Roti you’re probably already familiar with. It is the traditional unleavened whole-wheat bread that resembles a Pita.
We made a Masala-based Curry Vegetable dip (that’s Halal, too!) to complement the Paratha and Chapati. The spice from the masala is balanced out by the toasted coconut, while the bland zucchini absorbs the flavor, giving each bite a Middle Eastern punch. Add a drizzle of yogurt if you want a bit of creamy tartness.
For more Halal products, you may visit any of the selected Robinsons Supermarket branches below, and check out their new Halal section that carries Halal-approved items.
Robinsons Place (Ermita), Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Place Metroeast, Bluewave 2 (Marikina), Mercedes (Pasig), Robinsons Magnolia, Techno Plaza (Eastwood), California Garden Square (Mandaluyong), Centro Pacita, Robinsons Forum (Pioneer), Cybergate (Davao), Abreeza Mall (Davao), Fuente (Cebu), Talisay (Cebu), Banilad (Cebu), Mactan (Cebu), Tacloban, General Santos, Geegee Mall (Ozamiz), Pagadian, Robinsons Place (CDO), Gusa (CDO)
You can also visit the Robinsons Supermarket Facebook Page for more information.
Vegetable Masala with Paratha and Chapati
Total Time: 25 minutes / Yield: 2-3 servings
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp chopped onion
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 carrot, cubed & blanched
- 1 potato, cubed & boiled just firm
- 1/2 zucchini, sliced
- 2 tsp chicken powder
- Salt, to taste
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Sauté the garlic and onion for 1 minute, then add the curry powder and the Garam Masala.
- Sauté until it becomes fragrant (this will take about 1-2 minutes).
- Add the coconut milk and water, then season with chicken powder.
- Wait for the mixture to boil.
- Add cubed carrots and potatoes.
- Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.
- Add the zucchini and boil for another minute.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Paratha and Chapati.