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Spice up your life during Ramadan

Spice up your life during Ramadan

(Dp-news-Kuwait Times)

Upon entering any Middle Eastern household, a distinct aroma of home-cooked dish fills the air. However, the pleasant welcome fragrance originates from a rich selection of spices. Kuwait, based in a strategic geographic location has adopted the use of many a spice from the East and the beyond. Spices here are not only used for different dishes but for sweets and drinks also. Spices are also used in the natural herbal medicines in curing diseases or illness, natural masks and beauty products.

In the olden days spices were sold in small shops called 'Hawaay' located in the traditional markets of Kuwait. As supermarkets replaced the small vendors the spice-only shops became extinct. Today, those who are spice-savvy, however, prefer to shop for herbs and spice at the special places. "We speak the same language of spice," says one such shopper.



Spices become a needed commodity during Ramadan. "Every year I notice an increase in the sales of spices during Ramadan. I think that people buy more food stuff in general during this month and the spices are part of it; people cook more," said Jasim, a salesman in a spice and herbs shop in Salwa.
His shop sells more than 20 spices that are used in preparing variety of dishes. "I have many other kinds of herbs and plants used especially for the traditional medicine and beauty purposes, which make a total of about 100 kinds," he said.

I have more or less all the necessary spices and rarely people demand something that's not available in my shop," he says adding that even if there is a demand for a more exotic spice, he is able to provide it. There are certain kinds of spices that are more demanded especially during Ramadan. The Saudi Spice is the most demanded and sold spice, which is a mix of spices such as cinnamon, pepper, dry onion and cumin. "This is the most expensive spice; one kilo of it costs KD3," he said. Also the bay leaf
and the dry lemon or lime is considered one of the best sold spices during this month, he added. Sweet spices come next to the Saudi Spice. The reason, Jassim explains, is that in Ramadan people like to eat more sweet dishes and frequent visits to friends and family.

Sweet dishes are a must-have on the table," Jassim says. In addition, Ramadan is a time for drinking the Chamomile tea and the Miramiya (Sage) tea after Iftar, Jassim points out. The prices at Jassim's have stayed stable during the whole month of Ramadan. "The spices are usually brought from India, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and others. There is the chewing gum sold by kilo that is imported from Africa," Jassim says. Having worked in the spices field for six years, Jassim claims that it is important to know your trade. He says, "I know all the spices and herbs available in the market. I can always give a good advice on what to be used".

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