Halal Goes Global

15 Jan 2015
POSTED BY Y Magazine

With news that the halal food industry is on the rise, Matt Blackwell looks at a potentially revolutionary addition to the market



The Arabic word “halal” translates literally to “permissible” or “lawful”. Islamic dietary laws state what foods Muslims can consume, while outlining those that are “haram” – “unlawful” or “forbidden”.

According to these guidelines, pork and all pork by-products, animals that were dead prior to slaughtering, animals not slaughtered properly, blood and blood byproducts, alcohol, carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears (e.g. snakes and insects) are among some of the things forbidden to followers of Islam.

Halal is widely regarded as one of the most humane methods of slaughtering animals, with the goal being to limit the amount of pain the animal has to endure.

According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the halal food and beverage market has grown to become a $1.1 trillion industry worldwide and is predicted to rise to $1.6 trillion by 2018. Halal food now accounts for 16.6 per cent of the global food and beverage market, causing food manufacturers to sit up and take note.

One of the success stories of halal food is The Halal Guys, based in New York City in the US. Founded in 1990, The Halal Guys started out as a single food cart before experiencing a surge in popularity and demand that saw them open a further three carts around the city, as well as two brick-and-mortar shops. They now have more than 35,000 fans on Facebook and are offering the opportunity for others to open franchises.

Many non-Muslim countries have their own authorities responsible for certifying halal foods, but while the halal food market is increasing, it is still far from being available all around the world.

One Y reader who frequently travels for business says it is difficult to find halal eating establishments outside of the region and adds she often has to adjust her diet accordingly.

These worries could soon be a thing of the past, with the launch of a new app aimed at Muslims who travel abroad often. HalalTrip is already one of the world’s biggest online agents for halal travel and CEO Fazal Bahardeen has recently unveiled an app that is designed to simplify the travel experiences of Muslims across the world.

The HalalTrip mobile app will allow users to share and rate halal food across the world, upload images, comment and share with millions via social media.

“We want to make it easier and more fun for people to plan trips and discover very important things that influence their travelling decisions, such as places to eat along their journey,” Mr Bahardeen says.

“Halal food is one of the most important aspects of Muslim travellers and we have seen a huge increase in the industry from restaurants wanting to become halal and more Muslim-friendly to accommodate this market.”

The app also offers a prayer time and direction calculator for use while on board a plane, while other planned additions for the future include city guides and a hotel booking service.

The free app is available for both iPhone and iPad, as well as Android smartphones and can be downloaded by searching for “HalalTrip” in the App Store or on Google Play.

Recipe

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Halal Cart Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

Bring the taste of New York’s halal street food scene into your home with this delicious recipe

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 to 8 chicken thighs

For the rice:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 and a half cups rice
  • 2 and a half cups of chicken stock

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Method

  1. Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic and olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth. Add half the marinade to the chicken, turning to coat. Ideally, leave the chicken in the fridge for at least one hour.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add chicken pieces and cook without disturbing until they are lightly browned. Turn and repeat the process on the other side.
  3. Remove chicken from the pan and roughly chop into chunks. Add chicken and remaining marinade to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate while cooking the rice and preparing the sauce.
  4. Melt butter in a pan and then add the turmeric and cumin. Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly toasted (about 4 minutes).
  5. Add chicken stock, raise the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, yoghurt, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and parsley. Whisk to combine.
  7. Return the entire contents of the chicken bowl (chicken, marinade, and all juices) to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.


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