Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

XXXL Chicken Biryani

I forgot to mention that a few weeks ago, our BFFs from Bahla came to our house for dinner! This meant that I needed to a) get a seriously halal meal on the table, and b) possibly serve it to the men and women separately. I knew that Abdallah and his family would be gracious no matter the arrangements, but I wanted to get this one right.

So we a) ordered the XXXL chicken biryani (size designation theirs) from Gazebo (the local Indian restaurant), and b) served it to the men upstairs in the majlis, and the women and children downstairs on the living room floor. It was so legit.

And the biryani was seriously XXXL. The pictures do not do it justice. It was so much food.

The pot extends into its styrofoam base, by the way, so there is even more biryani than meets the eye.

And do you know the nicest thing? After we had eaten, I slipped upstairs to put Sterling to bed, and by the time I came down, the other women had cleaned up dinner! I cannot keep up with their graciousness!

My mom was asking me about the halal bit, by the way. Halal is a system of morality in Islam, but when applied to food, it means that it is free from pork (or pork-derived products), alcohol, and that any meat was slaughtered according to certain rituals and procedures. Since we live in the UAE, the food we buy from the grocery store (and from restaurants) is halal.

Therefore, I knew that technically, if I prepared a meal from scratch for Abdallah and his family, it would be halal. But over the years, I've sensed sometimes that some Muslims sometimes maybe sort of get kind of nervous about eating food from a non-Muslim's kitchen. And maybe that feeling is justified - I do, after all, have vanilla extract from the US in my pantry. I sometimes buy bacon from Spinney's, and it sits in my fridge with all the other food in there. So while I would of course take the greatest care in preparing a halal meal for a Muslim guest, in this case, it was just easier and safer and perhaps more respectful to get takeout from an Indian restaurant, who for sure for sure would do halal right.

(I compare this to the feeling I get when I am served a beverage at a non-Mormon's house. Is it going to be tea or coffee?? What will I say if it is? Etc.)

And we ate the leftovers for every meal for about three days until lo, verily, we could eat no more biryani. The end.


November 7th, outsourced