Halal is an Islamic concept that means lawful and permissible. It ensures that Muslims follow a strict code in every part of their lives, including their finances, personal care, clothing, and, perhaps most known, food. Halal food follows Islamic guidelines from the Quran and Hadith, the teachings of the prophet Muhammed. May peace be upon him.
It is Haram, prohibited in Islam, to eat food containing blood, alcohol, or pork. For meat to be considered Halal the animal should be slaughtered in a way that it will not suffer, and it should be butchered and prepared in such a way that it contains no blood.
However, Halal food is not just good for Muslims; it offers many advantages anyone can enjoy despite their religious beliefs. Halal meals are more hygienic and clean, contain fewer bacteria, are more ethical, and provide better quality. Since Halal food is certified, transparency ensures you know the source of the ingredients while enjoying and appreciating different cultures.
There are many diverse and culturally rich Halal recipes you can try. Depending on the region, the same food can be cooked differently. However, the process is often easy, meaning you can make your own variations without fearing it going awry.
Roasted Goat leg
Goat meat has a natural, unique taste, which is elevated by roasting. Therefore, keep it simple with a few spices for the best results. Try this recipe to get a smokey, tender meat bursting with flavor.
Ingredients (Serve for 4)
- 1 Goat leg, 2 lbs of meat
- 1 Clove of garlic
- 2 sprigs of fresh Rosemary
- Half a lemon
- 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
- ½ liter of yogurt
- 1 spring of fresh thyme
- ¼ liter Olive oil
Preparation and Cooking
- Prepare the goat leg by first removing the silver skin. This is the whitish translucent membrane with white fat.
- Gently slice the meat creating ridges. This will increase the surface area for cooking and also increase the amount of meat directly in contact with the marinade.
- Mix your olive oil, garlic, cumin powder, rosemary, thyme, Worcestershire Sauce, and yogurt in a bowl. Yogurt is great for flavor and ensures the meat is crispy and juicy.
- Marinate the goat leg for at least 24 hours and preferably 48 hours in aluminum foil.
- After marinating the goat leg, place it in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for four to five hours. With this goat roasting process, slow cooking ensures a soft interior and a crunchy exterior.
- Once the meat is dark brown, remove it and place it on a baking tray. Add about a quarter liter of water to the baking tray and tightly seal the container with aluminum foil.
- Return the goat meat to the oven until 200 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature.
- Remove and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Serve with a side of your choice.
Homemade Chicken Shawarma
Shawarma is one of the most popular wraps in the Middle East. It is made by marinating your meat and slowly roasting it in a Shawarma oven. Even though Shawarma is easy to cook, the preparation process may be long. Since most of us do not have a Shawarma oven, we will use an alternative recipe with just as much flavor.
Ingredients(serve for 2)
- 1 lbs Chicken thighs
- ½ Tsp Turmeric powder
- 10 Garlic cloves
- ½ Tsps Cumin powder
- 3 Tsps of White vinegar
- 2 Tsps of Tomato paste
- ¼ liter of olive oil
- 3 sprigs of coriander
- 2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- ½ a liter of yogurt
- 1 Pita bread
- With this Shawarma recipe, it is essential to mix the marinade first before introducing the meat because of the size of the chunks of chicken. This way, every chicken part is well-flavored, and you do not get over-spiced bits.
- Mix the olive oil with turmeric powder, cumin powder, white vinegar, tomato paste, 2 cloves of garlic, cayenne pepper, 1 sprig of coriander, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. For this recipe, do not add yogurt to the mix until after marination. Always add the yogurt later in Shawarma to ensure the rest of the spices are well-pronounced.
- Preferably, use chicken thighs and not breasts. Cut your chicken thighs into slices about 2 inches thick.
- Blend the marinade and add your slices of chicken.
- Place in the fridge for about 24 hours.
- While letting your meat marinate, prepare the Shawarma garlic sauce.
- Blend the remaining 8 garlic cloves in ¼ liter of olive oil until it appears like a white spread.
- Add ¼ liter of yogurt to the garlic sauce.
- Place garlic sauce in the fridge to set for 24 hours as well.
- As mentioned, ideally, you would need a Shawarma oven, but as an alternative, you will use a skillet. Heat a heavy skillet to very high temperatures. It is imperative that the skillet is scorching because the sauces in your marinade could make the chicken steam, making them rubbery, which we do not want to happen. We want the chicken to be crispy and juicy.
- Add the remaining ¼ liter of yogurt to the marinade and mix
- Place your chicken slices on the hot skillet.
- An excellent way to know if your skillet is hot enough and if you have properly spiced your chicken is if your eyes become teary. The smell should hit your nose instantly after placing the chicken chunks on the skillet. If you’re not tearing, the skillet isn’t hot enough, or you have not spiced the chicken enough.
- Do not toss or turn your chicken. Wait until one side is completely browned, then turn once to cook the other side.
- Even though your chicken chunks should be cooked and tasty at this point, using a skillet does not give the meat that smokey taste associated with Shawarma. To achieve this taste at home, first place a small piece of foil paper on a metallic bowl. On the foil paper, add a little oil. Place the metallic bowl on your skillet and drop a piece of charcoal on the oil. Cover for 5 to 10 minutes to achieve that fantastic smokey taste.
- Remove the metallic bowl of charcoal and the meat.
- Take your pita bread and whip the remaining marinade and sauces from the skillet with it to reduce waste.
- Remove your garlic sauce from the fridge and apply generously on the pita bread.
- Add your slices of chicken.
- Add pickled onions, lettuce, or other fresh vegetables to taste.
- Wrap the pita bread with chicken slices in aluminum foil.
- Cut Shawarma into two and enjoy
As you can see, Halal recipes are easy but need you to be dedicated to the process. The recipes above are not set in stone, and you can modify the ingredients to sort your pantry or your taste. Get creative and enjoy healthy halal food.