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Our Ramadan Tables

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun was proudly rated #1 for best Halal Food Blog in 2012 and 2013 and #1 for Best Halal Food Website for 2013 by CrescentRating's Halal Friendly Travel (CRaHFT).

W

e are, Fauzia M. Afif and Fozia A. Najfi, two close friends who happen to share the same name (just spelled a little differently), live on opposite sides of the world, and run a recipe website called Fauzia’s Kitchen Fun.

With the Holy month of Ramadan upon us, we, like many other Muslims around the world, have already begun preparations in our homes. During Ramadan, Muslims are obliged to fast during daylight hours from sunup to sunset.

To some people, Ramadan may be difficult to understand, in particular the joy with which Muslims prepare to fast for a whole month. Weeks and perhaps even a month prior to Ramadan, you will find many homes preparing a selection of different foods and freezing them. For some who prefer to taste as they cook, it’s easier to do this before the Holy month commences. Whatever your taste buds crave, it is more convenient to simply pull a meal out of the freezer and quickly cook or warm up in time for serving.

There are usually two meals that are had every day during Ramadan, one before the fast commences (known as Suhoor) and another to break the fast at sunset (known as Iftar).

We would love to share how we celebrate Ramadan in our homes during meal time.

Fauzia M. Afif - "In my home, Suhoor is usually a light breakfast-like meal which may consist of healthy cereals, milk or tea, simple cookies and fruits. The second meal, Iftar, is considered the main meal and is normally a combination of dishes that will comfort and satisfy, as well as refresh the body.

We break our fast with homemade nutty khajur-pak (date and nut truffles). Most days we have a starter of warm shurba (which is a delicious savory porridge), followed by some hors d'oeuvres like fried lentil fritters or bhajias, samosas or kebabs served with tangy dips and chutneys.

This is followed by a main protein-rich dish of either chicken or steak, served with sides, a flatbread like naan or parathas and a salad. There’s normally a light dessert a few hours after Iftar, usually something cool and refreshing, such as a milk-based pudding or an icy homemade lime granita."

Fozia A. Najfi"Suhoor in our home is generally heavy. It consists of parathas, a curry with some sort of protein, or khageena, a spiced up egg omelet.

There are times though when you just don’t feel like eating a full meal so early in the morning. You can always turn to something lighter such as a good-for-you protein shake, like this green shake recipe from Whole Foods Market®.

For Iftar, we open our fast with traditional dates and a fruit chaat, which is a fruit salad spiced with cumin and black pepper, and deep-fried goodies such as pakoras. If I don’t have time to make my homemade pakoras, I’ve found that Saffron Road’s certified-halal Crispy Samosas are a good option. I warm them and serve with a selection of chutneys and dipping sauces, like this Spicy Mango-Tamarind Chutney.

Spicy Mango-Tamarind Chutney
This thick, tangy, sweet-n-hot sauce goes beautifully with samosas, lentil fritters, pack potatoes, pakoras and such savory snacks. It's easy to prepare and can be made in bulk up to 2 weeks in advance and any leftovers can be refrigerated.
Yields 2-3 cups
 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup tamarind chutney
1 medium semi-ripe mango, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped or grated
8-10 ripe soft dates (without seeds)
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
2-4 tbsp. red chile flakes - more for very hot, less for mild
Salt to taste
 

Instructions
1. Put the chopped/grated mango, soft dates, chiles, ketchup, garlic, ginger in the food processor with tamarind chutney.
2. Process until thick and combined.
3. Give it a taste and adjust by adding more dates or extra ketchup for sweetness, salt, if needed or chiles for extra heat.
 

TIP: You can use a blender if you do not have a processor. I like the slightly textured results from a processor as opposed to the very smooth results from a blender.
The flavors develop further the longer this dip sits, so it's ideal to prepare it a few hours or up to a day before you serve it.

The staple drink at our Ramadan table is lassi, a Pakistani/Indian yogurt and fruit shake. Here is our recipe for a traditional mango lassi, and a vegan version of a lassi from Whole Foods Market.

For the main course I generally serve a traditional Pakistani meal or whatever is craved by the family members – as long as it’s hearty, we are happy.

Certainly, Saffron Road’s certified-halal frozen entrées are a great option when everyone’s hungry and there is no time to cook a big meal – whether that’s during Ramadan or just a typical weeknight. From chicken biryani to macaroni and cheese, there is no shortage of variety. Plus, all the meat used in these meals comes from animals raised without antibiotics."

Fauzia’s Kitchen Fun is excited to have access to Saffron Road’s incredibly delicious products which have made Ramadan meal-planning such a breeze! Their frozen entrées, simmer sauces and savory hors d’oeuvres free up one’s Ramadan days from endless kitchen tasks, allowing for more time to focus on Ramadan activities and still be able to present your loved ones with delectable Iftars.

So, that is a glimpse into our homes during Ramadan meal times, and we are glad to have the opportunity to share these small, special moments with all of you!

You’ll find more recipes from Fauzia’s Kitchen on their blog. They’re also hosting special giveaways with Saffron Road during Ramadan. Find out more on their Facebook page.

What foods start your day or break your fast during Ramadan?