KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — This Ramadan, it’s all about sharing.
Picha Project, a home-grown social enterprise that delivers traditional meals made by families from marginalised groups, is bringing you new and meaningful ways to break your fast. The first is buka puasa family packages from their Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghani kitchens, including some traditional foods the families break fast with in their respective home countries.
From Razan’s Syrian Kitchen is a buka puasa set of basmati rice, curry chicken, Arabic fusion beef rendang, fattet magdoos (eggplant with minced lamb), fattoush salad, basbousa (Syrian coconut cake) and ma’amoul. Co-founder Kim Lim says, “Ma’amoul — Arabic cookies stuffed with dates and nuts — are usually made at the end of Ramadan to prepare for Eid celebration. They are often eaten along with the Arabic coffee.”
Sara’s Afghani Set includes Qhabeli rice, curry chicken, curried eggplant, mantu, bolani (vegetable-stuffed flatbreads) and salad. Co-founder Suzanne Ling shares, “When our Afghani family breaks fast, they first make tea and have that with bread, cheese, vegetables and dates or soup. Mantu — Afghan dumplings filled with minced chicken, beef or lamb — is one of the foods they break fast with too.”
Nawal’s Iraqi Kitchen offers a buka puasa set with a distinctively tomato accent with their tomato rice and tomato-based roast chicken. They’re also including a fresh salad, falafel, kibbeh (spiced patties) and kanafeh. Picha’s Lee Swee Lin explains, “Kanafeh is an Arabic traditional dessert made with cheesy pastry, which is then soaked in sweet syrup.”
Lovers of chicken korma will appreciate Dalia’s Palestinian Set, which also includes basmati rice, roast chicken, mixed vegetables, lentil soup, hummus, dates and chocolate cupcakes. Those seeking smaller meals may try Muna’s Light Bites, a quartet of chicken popiah, lamb kibbeh, mini vegetarian pizzas and chicken puffs.
Picha Project is also celebrating this holy month through a programme where the public can buy meals from a refugee family to be given out to communities in need. This allows the communities involved, such as those from refugee learning centres and People’s Housing Programme (PPR) areas, to break fast with a proper nutritious meal.
Lim says, “We started this in remembrance of our Syrian chef, Zaza, who wished to give out food for free to the poor during Ramadan, two weeks before he passed away. After his passing, we wanted to continue spreading his kindness and spirit of giving through this movement.”
Those looking for more cultural exchanges may consider spending a special Ramadan with the Picha families by attending an open house at a refugee’s home. This promises to be a rare experience to break fast with the host family and learn about their life whole enjoying an authentic home-cooked meal.
Alternatively one can opt for a buka puasa buffet catered by Picha Project, an opportunity not only to try dishes from different countries such as Myanmar Rohingya curry and Palestinian chicken mandi but to also learn about these different cultures. This is the third year that Picha Project has done buka puasa catering; the team has previously catered for World Bank, MaGIC, AmBank, MISC, British Council and TalentCorp.
Ling shares, “In doing larger events, we realised that our Picha chefs’ strength is in catering. They’re really good in their food presentation. It has also been a great learning curve, challenging us to be more professional in our service.”
Picha Project believes that the way we break our fast this Ramadan can change the lives of others in powerful ways. Lee says, “In this season of giving, let’s not forget our brothers and sisters who have gone through so much hardships in life, and are still fighting hard for their future. As they put food on our table, we will be helping to put food on theirs. Your actions can make a change.”
Picha Project’s Ramadan Specials
Each buka puasa family package is meant for 8-10 pax while the light bites set can feed 15-20 pax. Delivery is free. For the open house dinner (RM85 per pax) with a refugee family, both individual bookings (19th May, 7pm-9pm) and private group bookings (15 pax, any day) are available. Contact Logeetha at [email protected] or 012-6794353. For contributions of meals to communities in need as well as Ramadan and Hari Raya buffet catering, contact Suzanne at [email protected] or 016-2690610. Visit www.pichaproject.com to learn more.