Halal, meaning “permitted or in accordance with Islamic law,” includes avoiding pork, animal blood, carrion (decaying flesh), predatory animals and alcohol. Not only restricted to what is lawful and permissible in food, the term also applies to matters of daily life as well, including cosmetics, prepared foods and pharmaceuticals.
The Quran, the holy book of Islam, teaches Muslims that all animals should be treated with respect and should be well cared for.
“Our concern is that we believe animals are often not treated humanely,” said Imam Tamer Selim at the Grand Mosque of Oklahoma City.
Zabiha is the method of ritual animal slaughter by a Muslim while reciting the Takbeer — the animal is killed quickly with a sharpened knife, without suffering.
Shopping for halal meat and other items is just a short drive away.
Halal Meat and Grocery, 3620 NW 39th St., offers a wide variety of halal grocery items including an array of herbs and spices.
Halal Mart, 3718 NW 50th St., sells halal meat (including goat) and groceries, plus an assortment of teas.
Restaurants catering to halal dietary laws are closer than one might think.
On Saturdays, halal lamb mandi is a featured special at Ol’ Gyro, 3513 N. Classen Blvd. Mandi comes from the Arabic word for “dew,” nada, and the dewy, moist texture of the lamb comes through, along with the cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. This traditional Arabic dish is served on top of basmati rice and merits its Saturday-only specialness.
Try the Turkish “pizza” at Istanbul Turkish Cuisine, 3604 N. May Ave. Lahmacun is presented as three individual rounds of thin crust and looks like a pizza, but the similarity stops there.
The toppings — spiced beef and lamb, with onions and tomatoes — are divine, and you can watch it bake in a Turkish-style open oven. It’s traditional to put a few squeezes of lemon and cilantro sprigs right on top of your lahmacun before diving in. An order of Turkish coffee makes everything perfect.
Sheesh Mahal, 4621 N. May Ave., offers a delightfully fragrant chicken korma. A spicy south-central Asian dish. The word korma is from the Urdu language and means “braised.” At Sheesh, the chicken is slowly braised with onions, garlic, curry spices and yogurt and is served over fluffy rice.
Shawarma Vite, 1129 Elm Ave., in Norman has a Moroccan chicken sandwich worthy of the lunchtime crush. The thinly sliced marinated chicken is served in pita bread and topped with tomatoes, onions, pickles, shredded cabbage and parsley and drizzled with mint sauce. Moroccan sweet mint tea is a nice addition.