It is customary in Syria to have a white main dish on the first Iftar table of Ramadan. This might be true of other neighboring countries but I cannot claim what I do not know. White for many cultures is considered as a good and auspicious color and as thus has no religious significance whatsoever. Of course in Levantine Cuisine a white meal could only mean that a dish is prepared and cooked in Yogurt Sauce. As far back as I can remember we always had Shakrieh on Ramadan 1st. It' is one of my all-time favorite dishes especially since I'm biased anyway to anything cooked in yogurt. Shakrieh is a year round Syrian recipe and is not unique to Ramadan.
Here it is, in very simple steps, Shakrieh in its most basic form, the Tartoussi way.
1 kg lamb chunks (Mozat)
3 large onions cut in rings
6 to 8 cups plain yogurt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon Salt
2 sticks Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
1 cup of Rice or Burghul (cooked the usual way on the side)
-Heat the salted lamb chunks and onion rings in a large frying pan with the oil. Stir well with a wooden spatula for 5 minutes.
-Bring 4 cups of water in a pot to a boil. Add the lamb chunks, onion rings and cinnamon sticks. Cook over medium-high for one hour. Save the broth.
-Separately bring 6 to 8 cups of plain yogurt, cornstarch and raw egg to boil over medium-high making sure to stir slowly but constantly (non-stop otherwise the sauce is ruined) until it starts boiling. Reduce heat to low and add the lamb chunks and the tender onions plus one cup of the broth to the yogurt. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
-Cook the rice (or burghul) with 1 cup of broth (or more) as usual.
-The Shakrieh and the rice (or burghul) are served side by side in individual plates but presented separately on the table.