We waited till 6:24 p.M. Before sitting down for dinner to break the 15-hour rapid. It became the appointed time whilst my Muslim friends ended a self-imposed deprivation of sustenance. Dilek and Erhan Balaban had prolonged an invite to iftar, the evening meal that ended abstinence from food. This is something they exercise throughout the 30-day Ramadan. In solidarity with them, I accompanied the Catholic manner of fasting to proportion something of their revel in. The Muslim calendar holds Ramadan as the holiest month of the yr. It’s believed this becomes the time while God revealed Islam’s sacred phrases to Mohammed. From May five to June three, Muslims accentuate their spiritual sporting events to deepen their courting with God. Abstaining from food and drinks from sunrise to sundown, with intervals for prayer, is part of their faith exercise.
The invitation to dinner at sunset turned into an expression of hospitality and friendship. It becomes additionally a risk to dine on home-cooked Turkish food, which I had loved on preceding trips to Turkey. The Balaban’s stay in Turkey; however, Erhan works in Manila, heading the Turkish Airlines workplace for the past five years. Therefore, his mom Dilek attempts to be with him throughout Ramadan. Despite not being aware of English, Dilek conveyed a warm welcome along with her completely happy countenance. A cooking buff, she organized Turkish specialties for the iftar. For starters, she laid the desk with appetizers. These recalled the meze plates presented onboard Turkish Airlines. Meze, famous in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern nations, is a ramification of small warm and bloodless food, like Spanish tapas.
I changed into amazed to see a plate of what appeared to be bloodless cuts with olives on the table. Erhan defined that the skinny slices, which resembled salami, have been made from halal red meat, processed, and organized in line with Islamic regulation. Dilek also served a rice mixture with olive oil wrapped in grape leaves known as karma. I had examined that making sarma is a uniqueness that each lady made with a signature approach. The ones served that evening were finger-size and tightly rolled to comprise the rice. I suppose the equal mixture also became stuffed into reducing portions of eggplant, zucchini, and pepper, which were served on a separate plate. The vegetable combination is referred to as dogma.
We commenced with a cold lentil soup, which Erhan explained became the traditional way to break quickly. In a beyond the visit to Turkey, I remembered having lentil soup with every meal. But what appeared uncommon then became a received flavor—bringing lower back happy recollections as I finished the soup. After she had cleared the bowls, Dilek poured olive oil and lemon on a bed of veggies, cucumber, carrots, and tomatoes.
Our dinner went on with Dilek filling my plate with sarma and dolma. Erhan cautioned I attempt it with the homemade yogurt, which his mom mixed with garlic. It became a winning aggregate. The yogurt also unfolded liberally over the manti, a traditional Turkish dumpling of meat that resembled ravioli; however, it is smaller. Next, Dilek presented a few pepper sauces for added flavoring. While I am no longer into spicy meals, the chili condiment improved the dish, and I finished each ultimate piece. Erhan had big servings with liberal use of the pepper sauce. Rice is likewise a part of Turkish meals, and Dilek served a bird dish on a bed of rice flavored with chook stock. It jogged my memory of Hainanese chook, the Singaporean staple that consists of rice enhanced by fowl inventory.
I took the simplest a small part of the rice after eating up the soup, salad, sarma, dolma, and manti. As soon as I started consuming the rice, however, my taste buds went into overdrive, and I had seconds and a workout of restraint for a 3rd serving. It went very well with the roasted hen, which I mixed with more salad and the yogurt. Dilek saved the communique by getting in Turkish. Sometimes Erhan would translate; at different times, she used an app that translated Turkish to English. She said that Filipinos are the rice specialists because it’s miles our staple food. She, but, did an exceptional model together with her rice dish.
We moved to the residing room for tea and dessert. I consider having Turkish tea simultaneously as looking out to the Bosphorus at sundown and traveling a tea farm in Rize, someplace on Turkey’s northern coast. The brew is strongest when it’s for a deep, darkish shade. Erhan gave a warranty that the tea we were drinking might now not keep me up because it changed into a lighter-colored variety. Sweetened with a chunk of sugar and served in a traditional Turkish tea verrine, it became satisfactory and soothing after the full meal.
Dilek lower back from the kitchen with a plate of flaky Turkish baklavas full of pistachios and other nuts. Despite being willing, I idea of foregoing dress; however, she got her lower back with a dish of assuring served in a bowl on a silver platter. The Turkish porridge is likewise referred to as Noah’s pudding. Legend has it that by the time the ark of the biblical patriarch had settled on Mount Ararat, the only closing food had been grains, dried fruit, and nuts. These substances were mixed to create assure to rejoice at the end of the flood.
Dilek said that wheat turned into the primary factor within the assure we have been having. The texture jogged my memory of our local guinataang mais. It becomes no longer too sweet and mixed sesame seeds, cinnamon, beans, dried fruits, and nuts. I had no hassle consuming the entire serving. It turned into an aromatic ending whilst Dilek supplied rose water to clean my arms.
The fragrance of a reminiscence wafted with the fresh hand dousing. It turned into Istanbul after I first had a rose jam that filled my mouth with the flower’s perfume. I wanted to linger for greater tea and communication. However, I turned into mindful that my dinner hosts were nonetheless going to do their prayers. So taking leave to become a protracted goodbye extended within the kitchen, in which Dilek wrapped up the baklava, packed sarma and dolma before enfolding me in her arms and sending me off with numerous embraces.