During Ramadan, centuries-old Middle Eastern dish gains special flavor in Pakistani metropolis

People queue to buy harees in Hyderabad Colony, Karachi, Pakistan on Friday. Decendents of Arab families, who are now settled in Pakistan, put on fare their families’ age-old dish made by original recipe handed down by generations. (AN photos)
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People queue to buy harees in Hyderabad Colony, Karachi, Pakistan on Friday. Decendents of Arab families, who are now settled in Pakistan, put on fare their families’ age-old dish made by original recipe handed down by generations. (AN photos)
During Ramadan, centuries-old Middle Eastern dish gains special flavor in Pakistani metropolis
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People queue to buy harees from a shop in Hyderabad Colony, Karachi, Pakistan on April 15, 2022. (AN photo)
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Updated 17 April 2022

During Ramadan, centuries-old Middle Eastern dish gains special flavor in Pakistani metropolis

People queue to buy harees in Hyderabad Colony, Karachi, Pakistan on Friday. Decendents of Arab families, who are now settled in Pakistan, put on fare their families’ age-old dish made by original recipe handed down by generations. (AN photos)
  • Harees was introduced to the Indian subcontinent by immigrants from the Middle East
  • It was introduced to the Indian subcontinent by immigrants from the Middle East

KARACHI: During the Muslim month of fasting, one traditional Middle Eastern dish, harees, gains a special flavor in Karachi, where the original recipe is passed from generation to generation by descendants of Arabs who centuries ago migrated to the Indian subcontinent.

Harees is one of the oldest Middle Eastern dishes. It was already featured in the earliest known Arabic cookbook, “Kitab Al-Tabih” (“The Book of Dishes”), compiled in 10th century Baghdad.

The name harees comes from the Arabic word “harasa,” which means to mash, or to squash. Just as the name suggests, in the preparation of harees, wheat is ground with goat or mutton and then cooked over low heat until creamy.

The dish was introduced to the Indian subcontinent by immigrants from the Middle East who in the 17th century arrived in Hyderabad, a former princely state in the south-central Deccan region of present India. Their descendants moved to Pakistan after the partition of British India in 1947 and settled in the port of Karachi in an area now known as Hyderabad Colony.




A man sells harees in Hyderabad Colony, Karachi, Pakistan on April 15, 2022. (AN photo)

Shaikh Saeed bin Mohsin Baqirf Alamudi, whose father was among those who migrated from Hyderabad to the Karachi neighborhood, traced his family’s origins to Yemen.

“When my father was alive, Yemeni culture remained part of our home,” he said.

FASTFACTS

● The name harees comes from the Arabic word ‘harasa,’ which means to mash, or to squash. Just as the name suggests, in the preparation of harees, wheat is ground with goat or mutton and then cooked over low heat until creamy.

● The dish was introduced to the Indian subcontinent by immigrants from the Middle East who in the 17th century arrived in Hyderabad, a former princely state in the south-central Deccan region of present India. Their descendants moved to Pakistan after the partition of British India in 1947 and settled in the port of Karachi in an area now known as Hyderabad Colony.

Alamudi estimates there are now 500 families of similar ancestry in Karachi, but many of their members no longer even speak Arabic.

“We still follow a few things of our culture, like our dress and our food,” he added.

Qahwah, the most popular kind of coffee brewed in the Middle East, regularly accompanies his daily meals, especially during the month of Ramadan.




A serving of harees with local Pakistani condiments sold in Hyderabad Colony. (AN photo)

And so does harees.

“Harees is liked by people,” he said. “In our home, we eat harees fondly.”

Syed Mumtaz Ali, also a Hyderabad Colony resident, said it “is a dish of Arabs.”

His father opened a harees shop in the area over five decades ago. Now Ali himself runs his own restaurant, Munnu Bhai Food Corner, a continuation of his father’s business.

“The method is the same,” he said. “I have not changed it. It is the same mixture of wheat and meat, but we have added our own spices to it.”

On usual days, most of the buyers are Arab descendants, but during Ramadan, members of every Pakistani community arrive in Hyderabad Colony to break their fast with harees or take it home for iftar dinner.

“I sell 4-4.5 maunds (up to 180 kg) of harees daily,” Ali said.

Just next to Munnu Bhai Food Corner, there are two other joints serving the same dish, which shows how popular it is in the area.

For Saleh Abdullah Bawazir, also a Pakistani Arab, harees and his community are inseparable.  

“It’s mandatory,” he said. “We cannot live without it.”


Kremlin dismisses ‘stupid’ claims Russia attacked Nord Stream

Kremlin dismisses ‘stupid’ claims Russia attacked Nord Stream
Updated 28 September 2022

Kremlin dismisses ‘stupid’ claims Russia attacked Nord Stream

Kremlin dismisses ‘stupid’ claims Russia attacked Nord Stream
  • Europe has been investigating what Germany, Denmark and Sweden said were attacks which had caused major leaks into the Baltic Sea

MOSCOW: The Kremlin on Wednesday said claims that Russia was somehow behind a possible attack on the Nord Stream gas pipelines were stupid, adding that Moscow saw a sharp increase the profits of US companies supplying gas to Europe.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a daily conference call with reporters that the incident needed to be investigated and the timings for repair of the damaged pipelines were not clear.
Europe has been investigating what Germany, Denmark and Sweden said were attacks which had caused major leaks into the Baltic Sea from two Russian gas pipelines at the center of an energy standoff.
Asked about claims Russia might somehow be behind the possible attack, Peskov said: “That’s quite predictable and also predictably stupid.”
“This is a big problem for us because, firstly, both lines of Nord Stream 2 are filled with gas — the entire system is ready to pump gas and the gas is very expensive... Now the gas is flying off into the air.”
“Before making any claims, we should wait for investigation into these ruptures, whether there was an explosion or not,” Peskov said. Information on the incident could be expected from Denmark and Sweden, he said.
Nord Stream AG, the operator of the network, said on Tuesday that three of four offshore lines of the Nord Stream gas pipeline system sustained “unprecedented” damage in one day. All Nord Stream’s pipeline had not delivered gas by the time of the incident.
Nord Stream 1 has reported a significant pressure drop caused by the gas leak on both lines of the gas pipeline, while Nord Stream 2 said that a sharp pressure drop in line A was registered on Monday.


North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast – Seoul

North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast – Seoul
Updated 28 September 2022

North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast – Seoul

North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast – Seoul
  • Japan’s coast guard also reported a suspected ballistic missile test
  • North Korea also fired a ballistic missile toward the sea off its east coast on Sunday

SEOUL: North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korea’s military said, as South Korea and the United States staged joint naval exercises involving an aircraft carrier.
Japan’s coast guard also reported a suspected ballistic missile test.
The launch came two days after South Korea and US forces launched their military exercise in the waters off South Korea’s east coast involving an aircraft carrier.
US Vice President Kamala Harris is set to arrive in the South Korean capital, Seoul, on Thursday after a visit to Japan.
North Korea also fired a ballistic missile toward the sea off its east coast on Sunday.
North Korea has been subjected to UN sanctions since 2006, which the Security Council has steadily — and unanimously — stepped up over the years to cut off funding for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
North Korea rejects UN resolutions as an infringement of its sovereign right to self-defense and space exploration, and has criticized military exercises by United States and South Korea as proof of their hostile intentions.


17 dead in China restaurant fire: authorities

17 dead in China restaurant fire: authorities
Updated 28 September 2022

17 dead in China restaurant fire: authorities

17 dead in China restaurant fire: authorities

BEIJING: A fire at a restaurant in northeastern China on Wednesday killed 17 people and injured three, according to local authorities.
The blaze broke out at 12:40 pm in an eatery in the city of Changchun, the local government said in a statement posted on the Weibo social media platform.


Japan PM ‘regrets’ Morocco’s absence from TICAD 8

Japan PM ‘regrets’ Morocco’s absence from TICAD 8
Updated 28 September 2022

Japan PM ‘regrets’ Morocco’s absence from TICAD 8

Japan PM ‘regrets’ Morocco’s absence from TICAD 8
  • Japan PM Kishida Fumio asked Morocco to cooperate with Japan in the future

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said that Morocco’s decision to not participate in the 8th TICAD Summit was “regrettable” during a meeting on Wednesday with the Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch.

Kishida stated that he would like to obtain the cooperation of Akhannouch in order to promote the entry of Japanese companies into Morocco and also asked the Moroccan side to cooperate with Japan in the future, including on TICAD events.

In addition, Kishida said that Morocco’s ammonium phosphate is important for the stable supply of fertilizers and that he looked forward to Morocco’s constructive response on the matter.

The two leaders also exchanged views on international issues and resolved to continue working closely together in dealing with the food security risks.

Akhannouch expressed his heartfelt condolences on the passing of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and stated that he would like to further strengthen the cooperative relationship that the two countries have built over many years in a wide range of fields.

Kishida expressed his gratitude to Akhannouch for attending Abe’s state funeral and said that the two countries have enjoyed good relations for many years based on the friendship between the imperial and royal families.


Kishida promises support for two-state solution in meeting with former Palestine PM

Kishida promises support for two-state solution in meeting with former Palestine PM
Updated 28 September 2022

Kishida promises support for two-state solution in meeting with former Palestine PM

Kishida promises support for two-state solution in meeting with former Palestine PM
  • Kishida stated that Japan should refrain from any unilateral measures that go against the peace process

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday reiterated his support for a “two-state solution” to the Palestinian problem during a “candid exchange of views” with former Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Kishida stated that Japan should refrain from any unilateral measures that go against the peace process and said he would like to continue contributing to the improvement of the environment for the progress of peace in the Middle East.

Japan’s PM also expressed his support for Palestine’s economic self-reliance through food assistance of more than $8 million – which was provided in response to the deterioration of food security in Palestine as a result of the situation in Ukraine – and the “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” initiative promoted by Japan. Hamdallah expressed his gratitude for Japan’s support. 

Hamdallah conveyed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ condolences on the passing of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Kishida expressed his gratitude for the condolences sent by Palestinian officials.

Both sides agreed to continue to develop the relationship between Japan and Palestine.

This article was originally published on Arab News Japan.