Any cuisine, from Asia to the Americas, is considered halal if it has been prepared according to Islamic dietary guidelines. However, the natural progression of halal cuisine has been through the spread of Islam, since many cultures have their own dietary guidelines or choose not to conform to these restrictions. As a result, countries in the Middle East, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Indian subcontinent where Muslims make up a large percentage of the population boast the greatest variety of readily available halal meals and traditional recipes that are made with all natural and halal ingredients.
Unlike most other dietary customs, halal is governed by different interpretations of Islamic ethics and not religious heritage. Other cuisines evolve through an interplay of cultures and exposure to different customs, but halal requires more creativity. While brushing against other peoples has also influenced halal cooking, halal is also changed from within a culture. As more people convert to Islam, or as Islamic theology states, “revert” to there natural religion, they must adapt the tastes and dishes they were raised with to halal guidelines. This, along with customary culinary development, has lead to an increase in American, Italian, Mexican, and various other types of cuisines adapting their own dishes to Islamic standards. The result is a need for experienced cooks who can take different dishes and recreate them based on halal cooking standards.
Does halal mean the food is Middle Eastern or South Asian?
Absolutely not! That’s why I started this site. I come from a background of Sicilian and Puerto Rican heritage where I enjoyed some very delicious food growing up. When I became Muslim and chose halal-only food in my lifestyle, I learned to simply make simple substitutions where pork was commonly used (i.e. pork-based pepperoni on pizza) or alcohol was incorporated into my favorite Italian desserts.
Islam has been made easy for us- we simply have to use a little creativity to tweak some recipes we see or read about across cultures and use the abundance of halal options there are in this world. Check out some of the recipes I have for Norwegian, Italian, Mexican and more food from around the world on this site.