Five families share recipes that are integral to Ramzan in their household
Aren't there some things that have been done so religiously on a particular occasion that it seems like a tradition? Something that over the years blended so seamlessly with the occasion that it looks incomplete until that one thing is done. In many families, that tradition is related to food, a particular delicacy that reminds them of home, of their parents and of their childhood. This Ramzan, Indulge reached out to five families across the world and sourced five such recipes:
An alumna of Khastgir College in Chittagong (Bangladesh), which was known for revolutionary women who fought for Independence in 1947, Romena Akter and her husband moved to the United States years ago. A first-generation Bangladeshi immigrant in New York City, Romena spent years doing jobs that she was overqualified for before turning into one of the senior-most paraprofessionals for a school in Brooklyn.
At her home away from home, Romena finds comfort in preparing Beguni, a typical brinjal dish that is integral to iftar feast in Bangladesh. “Beguni is something that has always been there in my family’s iftar feast,” she recalls.
Ingredients: Eggplant oil – as much as you need for deep fry, 1 cup besan, ⅓ tsp ginger, ½ tsp red chilli, ½ tsp turmeric, ⅓ tsp baking powder, salt as needed, water as needed.
1. Cut up the eggplant into slices. Place into a bowl
2. In a separate bowl, add besan powder, ginger, red chilli, turmeric powder, baking powder, salt and mix everything with water to make a thick batter.
3. In a pan, heat some oil. Now, dip one slice of eggplant into the batter and then fry it until it turns golden brown in colour.
2. Dahi Bhalla and Rooh Afza
For Zainab Umar, a resident of Faisalabad (Pakistan), Ramzan is incomplete without Rooh Afza and Dahi Bhalla. Her mother, who is a doctor, juggled between working at her own clinic and preparing the iftar table throughout the month and perhaps why the dishes are simple. “On iftar table, Rooh Afza is a must,” she says and adds that apart from this drink, a dish that is close to her heart is Dahi Bhalla, which her mother prepares every year. “She learned it from my grandmother (her mother),” she adds. Her mother also has an easy trick to make the recipe successful – sprinkle a bit of chaat masala for flavour and colour.
Ingredients: ¼ cup of water or as required, 1-2 tbsp coriander powder, 1-2 tbsp crushed garlic, ¼ tsp baking powder, 750 gm yoghurt, 2 tsp crushed green chilli, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp cumin seeds powder, ½ tsp black pepper powder, 1 tsp salt, cooking oil for frying, lukewarm water as required
1. Take yoghurt, add cumin seeds powder, coriander powder, salt, garlic, green chilli, and mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, add some gram flour and water and let it rest for 30 minutes. Afterwards, add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, baking powder, and cumin seeds. Add some water and mix well until it turns into a smooth batter.
3. Fry dumpling sized pieces from the batter in some oil and you’ll end up with “baray.”
4. Once ready, soak your baray in water for 10 minutes, squeeze most of the water out, and then add them to your yoghurt mixture.
3. Nombu Kanji
Chennai-based author Gulsum Basheer jokes that her family’s iftar is considered incomplete without nombu kanji, a porridge with rice and meat. “My son does not feel full if he has not had nombu kanji after he breaks his fast,” she quips. Nombu Kanji is an authentic Rowther Muslim recipe and is usually served in mosques.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup uncooked rice, 1/4 cup moong dal, 1 tomato, 4-5 mutton bones or 1/2 cup minced meat, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 piece cinnamon, a few mint leaves, 2 slit green chillies 1 finely chopped onion, 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste, 1 teaspoon chilli powder.
1. Pressure cook the rice, moong dal, tomato, and meat or meat bones till well cooked and soft.
2. Once ready, remove it from the heat and add 1 cup thick coconut milk.
3. In a separate kadhai, add oil and fry the cinnamon, mint leaves, green chillies, chopped onion, ginger garlic paste, and chilli powder.
4. Now, add the cooked rice and moong dal mixture. Mix well and heat on low flame for five minutes, until well blended.
(Representative picture of Malpua)
Reshma Aslam is a Mumbai-based entrepreneur who sells homemade desserts such as chocolate cakes, brownies and ferrero rocher cakes. During this lockdown, when most bakeries are closed, Reshma is receiving large orders for Ramzan. But, her own iftar, which always included fried items such as kebabs, samosas and malpua which she would order from a local restaurant, couldn’t be the same owing to the pandemic. But, instead of being upset about it, Reshma decided to make them at home.
Ingredients: 150 grams all-purpose flour, 40 grams rava, ½ tablespoon baking powder, 4 eggs, ¼ cup milk, 100 grams of mawa (homemade preferable), 100 grams of sugar, ½ tsp cardamom powder, 5 to 6 almond powder, 5 to 6 almonds chopped for garnishing, ghee for frying
1. To make homemade mawa, take ½ cup milk powder and 3 to 4 tbsp milk. Mix it well and microwave it for 30 seconds. Take it out and give it a stir. If it’s still wet, keep it again for 30 seconds (Repeat until dry and crumbly completely)
2. Once this is done, mix rava, all-purpose flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add enough water to make it into a thick paste. Cover it and keep it aside for 6 to 8 hours.
3. Afterwards, add lightly beaten eggs, sugar, cardamom powder, crumbled mawa, almond powder and enough milk to make it into a fairly thick batter.
4. Heat ghee in a pan and pour one large spoon of the batter in it. Fry it until it turns into golden brown on one side. Now flip and fry it from the other side. Once it’s ready, remove it from the pan and keep it aside.
5. Follow the same procedure for the remaining of the batter
5. Chicken Samosa
Fauzia Vohra, who grew up in Chennai and now lives in Doha, Qatar, says that samosas are an integral part of Ramzan at her home, as it is in most homes observing this month of fasting.
“During Ramzan, a dish I lean towards the most is Samosa, it was a part of typical iftar at my parents’ house when I was growing up. As a child, I looked forward to preparing samosa with my mother. Even today, that tradition continues, bringing back the nostalgia of my childhood days,” says Fauzia before sharing the recipe.
For the samosa sheet: 500 gm maida, 1 tsp salt, warm water for kneading the dough, oil as required
For the filling: 200 grams minced chicken, 1 finely chopped onion, 1 green chilli, 1 tbsp garlic paste, ¼ tsp paprika or red chilli powder, salt and black pepper to taste, 1 pinch of nutmeg powder, 1 pinch caster sugar, ½ bunch chopped, ½ litre oil, 12 to 15 samosa sheets.
For samosa sheet:
1. In a bowl, combine maida and salt. Knead the dough and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
2. Make 15 round balls from this dough. Roll each one like a roti/chapati, as thin as possible, using dry maida/flour.
3. Now take one flat roti and apply oil on it evenly. Don’t overdo it. Keep the second flat roti above it and repeat the process. Do it with 5 rotis. Do not apply oil on the top of the fifth roti.
4. Since you have 15 rotis, make 3 such stacks
5. Now roll 1 set and do not apply too much pressure on it. Roll it smoothly.
6. Heat a flat pan/tawa. Just medium hot. Put the rolled roti on it. Flip it as quick as you can in almost less than 10 seconds. Cook it on the other side for the next 10 seconds.
7. Take it off the pan and keep it on a clean cloth. Very gently separate the layers. If you had applied the oil evenly and rolled it smoothly, the layers will come out nicely.
8. Now place the cooked rotis on a chopping board. Fold them half and cut the sides to make the edges straight and get a rectangular shape.
9. Open them out and cut them vertically in half to get a samosa sheet.
10. For samosa filling: In a wok or cooking pot, add oil and heat on medium flame. Add garlic paste and saute for 3 seconds. Afterwards, add minced chicken, salt and black pepper to taste, paprika or red chilli powder, nutmeg powder and caster sugar and mix. Cook until minced chicken is tender. Remove it from the flame and allow it to cool down. Now add finely chopped onion, green chilli and fresh coriander and mix well.
11. Put a portion of the mince mixture on the samosa sheet and fold. Seal it with a runny batter of flour and water or egg white.
12. Repeat the same with all samosa sheets.
13. In a wok, pan or Kadai, heat oil and fry samosas on medium-high heat. Serve them with green chutney, ketchup or any preferred dip.