With these easy and yummy sehri recipes, Ramazan will go by like a breeze

Published: May 24, 2018
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This time I have decided to do sehri recipes that are easy, filling and delicious. PHOTO: ARHAMA SIDDIQA

It’s the month of fasting, so Ramazan Kareem to all! I hope your fasts are going well so far, even though the weather has not been kind as yet sadly. This time around I would like to share two stories with this blog in light of this holy month, and spread some positive messages.

A couple of weeks ago I attended a workshop in the Manpower Institute (I did not know this existed previously). During the commencement speech, the Director General of the Institute, Ms Khalida Gulnar said a few impactful words which still resonate with me. She said that in order to be good communicators, one needs to be a good listener as well. If we practice listening, our tolerance level will increase.

In this day and age children have become more possessive, husbands and wives fight more often than not, and as sad as it is to say a sister does not trust her brother enough to leave her kids with him. It is because somewhere along the way we forgot to communicate with one another and are engaged in our phones, laptops and tablets.

This is also the primary reason why Muslims are suffering today. Another reason for this is that Muslims have somewhat distanced themselves from the teachings of the Quran, according to Gulnar. It is a sad reality, but a reality nevertheless. The powder keg that is the Middle East today bears witness to this.

Humanity has indeed reached another low. Hypocrisy is at its peak. As Nelson Mandela said,

“There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.”

One should invest their time in doing practical things and fixing the broken link of communication. Sit with your parents and siblings every day and make it a point to ask about their day. Trust me; when everyone abandons you, these people will always be there at the end of the day. Value them.

The second lesson learnt is more recent. I’ll keep the backdrop brief. Last week, I discovered someone spreading rumours – whether the person was a victim of a misunderstanding, or party to misdemeanour, I do not know. Nevertheless, once I found out and confronted the person they refused to talk about it, which led me to antagonise another person for being an accomplice.

I later apologised because the thing is, unless one actually witnesses something happening they should not take another person’s word for it. Be on the alert, sure, but do not believe anything unless your eyes have seen it for themselves. I did not know the truth, but at least I shouldn’t have pounced on the person I thought was guilty. So a public apology to the second person.

After all, Ramazan is the month of blessing and one should try and correct themselves and learn patience from this holy month. In light of this I am not only sharing positive messages, but also sharing some delicious recipes. This time I have decided to do sehri recipes that are easy, filling and delicious.

I like to mix things up when eating food. The same kind of dishes get redundant after a while, plus if food is not enjoyed it’s like eating air (albeit filling air), because the cravings still remain.

Who doesn’t love a good potato dish? I decided to make the popular and easy Aloo Bhujiya. Pair it up with a desi ghee roti, paratha or even a piece of toast, and it’s definitely a sehri must-have.

The perfect sehri for me would be the childhood running: anda paratha, dahi and chaye. But in this day and age when everything causes some kind of health issue, it’s not advisable to have this every day. But then again, seeing as the fast is long and the sun sweltering hot, energy is needed throughout the day.

This Healthy Smoothie is ideal for just that. Peanut butter releases energy throughout the day and Chia seeds (tukh malanga) have a profound cooling impact. In fact it is advisable to store a small jug of soaked chia seeds and use it throughout the week. Add it to the iftar drinks and generally practice this in the summers; it really helps throughout the day.

Aloo Bhujiya

Ingredients

Potatoes: 3, boiled

Oil: ¼ cup

Garlic: 1 tsp, chopped

Ginger: 1 tsp, chopped

Salt: 1 tsp

Red Chilli Powder: 1 tsp

Turmeric: ½ tsp

Onion Seeds: 1 tsp

Zeera (cumin): ½ tsp

Onion: 1, diced

Tomatoes: 2

Green Chillies: 4

Method:

1. Cut potatoes in small squares and boil, then keep aside.

2. Heat oil; fry onions, add ginger and garlic, zeera and onion seeds.

3. Once the onion has browned a little, add in the tomatoes, green chilies and spices and cook till oil separates.

4. Then add the potatoes and 1 cup water, cover and cook, and then slightly mash potatoes. Serve garnished with coriander.

Healthy Smoothie

Ingredients

Milk: ½ cup

Yoghurt: ½ cup

Banana: 1

Peanut butter: 2 tbsp

Chia Seeds: 1 tbsp, soaked for three hours

Method

1. Blend milk, yogurt, banana, peanut butter and chia seeds.

Enjoy!

All photos: Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

The author is a LUMS and University of Warwick Alumnus and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). She calls herself a bibliophile,a dreamer and an avid foodie. She also has a food website at www.chakhoous.com . She tweets @arhama_siddiqa (twitter.com/arhama_siddiqa)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Saqib Ali Rana

    seriously? I also want to write a blog about ‘how to make ice’ now. Will start with a paragraph about nihilism and how it affected my moral framework during university daysRecommend

  • Patwari

    Ahhh, as usual, perfection in real time. Great pictures, easy to follow recipes,
    [mouth watering selections] there, Nirvana in the kitchen, carrying over to the
    dining table. Or dastarkhwan. Either one will do.
    Your blog is Pavlovian. You see it, read it, you get hungry. Beat a path to the kitchen.
    The Aloo ki Bhujiya is one of ‘yours truly’ favorite dish. Along with Bhindi ki Bhujiya.
    Could eat one of these every day. Throw in a tandoori nan or paratha. Satisfaction!
    With ice cold water, thank you. Currently watching calorie intake, to get rid of 1 1/2 lbs.
    gained due to 3 square meals [rather feasts] a day on an extended two week trip.Recommend

  • Parvez

    The fun part of her blogs are always the beginning …… seriously.Recommend

  • Parvez

    This being the month of Ramazan your two stories were quite appropriate. The first dealt with sensible advice and religious matter and that brought back something I as a child was told by my father and that was …. try never to discuss religious issues in public …. and as I grew older I realized the wisdom in his words. On the issue of this generation being completely absorbed with their cell phones etc, I came a cross a new word that was coined in Australia for this, its called ‘ phubbing ‘……I thought they could have come up with something better.
    Your second story taught a brilliant lesson …. and I liked the fact that you were strong enough to apologize.
    Now to the all important part, cooking….what is Chia seed ?Recommend

  • Patwari

    See, well, er, it all depends. In your comment’s case, it would be like
    talking in the wind. It will go nowhere, might even land in the wrong
    place, like your own ear. So, not much of a going concern, is it?
    Everyone has their own morale compass. Non are alike. Women are more
    sensitive and forthcoming. In case you just realized that.
    Sure, you can write a blog, about anything, even on how a person is able
    to keep his right foot on his left shoulder. Or maybe about the nearest
    Andromeda Galaxy, perhaps the Magellanic Clouds? We all know about the
    theory of Relativity, [you know…. E=MC2 …so that’s a non issue here]
    By the way, they discovered how to make ice almost two hundred years ago.
    Might behoove you to invest in a hand cranking contraption, that will make ice
    cream. Mango to boot!
    [Abject apologies, Arhama, so sorry, had to do it.]Recommend

  • Areeb Khan

    Yeah you are right , I realised later on that I shouldn’t have at all,
    to each their own…
    hahaha phubbing doesn’t quite fit but thank you I did not know this!
    I wasn’t strong enough actually , I just felt bad that I who tells people not to jump to conclusions did EXACTLY that and thats wrong. plus extra headache for everyone to boot!
    Chia seed which my mom told me later on is tukhmalanga, you know those insect like ant like things that we in Pakistan normally soak for a few hours and they swell up and are added to drinks roohafza especially in the summers to keep cool…Recommend

  • Areeb Khan

    and I just noticed areeb khan, but thats because I was using another desktop and their facebook was logged in, but its me!
    and thank you for pointing out the religious thing , you are absolutely rightRecommend

  • Areeb Khan

    thank you thank you!
    I have had fried bhindi never a bhujiya though, will try that!
    I LOVE naan all kinds, especially rogni naans
    I actually fry them in oil and water and have them with tea sometimes…Recommend

  • Areeb Khan

    Plus I learnt a new word so thank you !
    for the weight I’d say and I found this works seeing as I can’t go to gym these days and I found this effective
    have three melas in small portions, dont go hungry at all , lots of warm water NOT cold and do not eat late at night , stop eating/ snacking by 7 pm at most!Recommend

  • Areeb Khan

    My trainers say I should eat as much as I want whenever I travel, because no point not binging then!
    which is why I always gain and its a battle taking it off later but at least I have fun food memoriesRecommend

  • Areeb Khan

    Not at all, thank you.Recommend

  • Areeb Khan

    hahahRecommend

  • Sane

    Leave Ramazan to its true spirit. Ramazan is not food festival.Recommend

  • Umar Nazar

    Lovely article, I will definitely try to make the smoothie.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Huh? Wha? How is this relevant to Gullu Butt’s comment?Recommend

  • Parvez

    So, Areeb Khan = Arhama Siddiqa…….Uff !Recommend

  • Parvez

    What a coincidence …just today my friend of over forty years invited me for Iftar …and there was this drink that his wife loves and it turned out to be this drink with the Chia seeds or tukhmalanga and it was delicious … and that lead up to me telling them of your blog and them showing me the little black seeds. See… from where to where ….Recommend

  • Parvez

    You’re more than welcome ….. In your last blog you said you were to go and teach school children English and use cooking / food as the topic…… so how did it go ? Was it a rewarding experience ?Recommend

  • Hamsid

    hahah NOOO , this was because a friend’s facebook was logged in =pRecommend

  • Hamsid

    please do and let me know how it goes!Recommend

  • Hamsid

    haha I am glad! ,
    I didn’t know tukhmalanga were chia seeds myself, My aunt who is Moroccan told my mom recently herself and I was like ahhhh..Recommend

  • Hamsid

    All will be answered in my Iftar blog coming up next IA =)
    but yes it was an amazing experience !Recommend

  • Patwari

    How about you call it ‘falooda’ instead of all these tongue twisters….Recommend

  • Patwari

    Bhindi ki Bhujiya is …bhindi, onions, red chili peppers,
    tomatos and salt to taste, cooked in oil of your choice.
    Just like Urvi ki Bhujiya, Bagen ki Bhujiya, Chawlai ki
    Bhujiya, Kareley ki Bhujiya, Harry Potter ki Bhujiya,…
    Mutter ki Bhujiya, nothing to it.
    Chawlai is spinach.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Warm water?! Seriously! Might as well call Dante in Florence.
    Well, just made reservations at Dante Alighieri’s First Circle.
    He said there may be a required wait in Purgatory, then to cross
    the River Styx and there, you will be at the First Circle’s door.
    Will have all the warm water.
    [this is going to definitely throw you off!]Recommend

  • Hamsid

    haha took me a while to get around that myself =pRecommend

  • Hamsid

    chawlai is the first time being used for spinach ! whereabouts is this word used?
    ahh no i have had bhindi ki bhujiya- I love it actually , I have never heard it called bhujiya though but with a garam paratha and garam chaye its the best !Recommend

  • Patwari

    Chitral, [more like Hunza] Kaghan. Not everyone uses this word there.
    More colloquial. ‘Yours truly’ ancestral roots are from there.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Ok, this is beyond me….so I’ll use an expression I learnt from my children…… WHatever ( deliberately spelled so )Recommend

  • Parvez

    Ah ! you are turning this into a ” Homeland ” style TV thriller …… Ok, we shall wait.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Chitral, Hunza/Kaghan. Colloquial. Even there, very regional.
    Chinese connotations, origins. Since close to the border.Recommend

  • Parvez

    …so we shall wait.Recommend

  • Parvez

    OK, this is beyond me …..Recommend

  • Patwari

    It was gluttony to the nth level on the ziarats. You can say by choice, perhaps.
    Fact is, it was very hot. Was hugging walls just to find a sliver of shade. Dashing
    from wall to wall. But inside the shrines it was mega air conditioning! Giant fans,
    misty, fine, water sprays, through pipes, super well organized. Everywhere.
    So, maybe, could be, hot weather makes you hungry? Hmmm…
    Besides, had to eat in the hotels, only. Sumptuous buffets! Including pizza!
    [guides kept us away from restaurants and street food, as risky, smart decision by them]Recommend

  • Hamsid

    hahahaRecommend

  • Hamsid

    chitrali cuisine I heard is simple and delicious but I never really looked into it , will do so , they don’t really eat spicy food right?Recommend

  • Hamsid

    hahah it literally flew over my head =p
    but I shall use google to understand and construct a reference =pRecommend

  • Hamsid

    on the contrary hot weather kills hunger winter is the time for binge eating! but but but travelling makes one hungry- then the weather doesn’t factor inRecommend

  • Patwari

    Hmmm…interesting. Because summer is when people are
    more active. Due to warm/good weather. Outdoor activities.
    From time immemorial. People are out and about. Therefore
    more calories burnt, therefore more caloric fuel needed, therefore
    more hungry, therefore more eating…therefore more Bhindi ki
    Bhujiya?…interesting.
    Like farmers planting/harvesting. Livestocks/herds taken up
    higher, or to summer pastures etc. These are basic, simple, rule
    of the thumb examples now. Sure this is year 2018, not everyone
    is planting, or is a Powenda.
    Winter is when everyone bundles up. Less activities. Indoors. Due
    to, obviously, cold, inclement weather. Not as active.
    Hmmm, interesting…But the body is burning more calories just to
    keep itself warm….therefore more Aloo ki Bhujiya?…interesting.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Here is a clue. There’s a total of Nine Circles.
    In descending order.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    hahah touche my friend touche, you are right there , lets agree it varies from person to person- as a person who just stuffed herself at iftar, I am inclined to think you are right!Recommend

  • Patwari

    One other fact. Women are more religious then men.
    At least when it comes to ziarats. Just a personal observation.
    Kufa, Karbala, Najaf, Samarra, Khadimiya, the 5 main ziarat
    places in Iraq, were packed with women pilgrims. That included
    the bazaars too. Majority were from Iran. Plus the local Iraqis.
    Some Bahrainis and Jordanians.
    It was just qafila, after qafila, from Iran. All in their their black chadors.
    The ratio was 80:20 women. Despite it being the low season.
    All of this, was a very surprising fact.
    The imams’ shrines/maqbaras are open 24/7. No restrictions. Go anytime.
    Very heavy duty security, checkpoints, metal detectors, everywhere.
    Indeed, the whole trip was a very profound experience, indeed.
    By the way, was in Doha, Qatar too, on way to Iraq. Richest country in
    the World!! Doha looks futuristic!Recommend

  • Patwari

    No, not spicy. Grilled meats is more like it.Recommend

  • Areeb Khan

    I am currently reading up on Iraqi politics and its fascinating!
    Going to read up on Iran versus Iraq history- because whatever the present situation is, the cause of it is embedded in the history books- Middle East being my area of research, I thought it was high time I started working on the historical aspect!
    Qatar is one smart country- despite the blockade they came through! played it super smart
    ok going wayy wayy of tangent here sorry !Recommend

  • Patwari

    The Iran vs Iraq was only due to the megalomaniac Saddam and his henchmen. He attacked Iran. Did not win. Then invaded Kuwait.
    Iran is 90% of a certain minority Islamic sect. While Iraq is almost 80%
    of a certain minority Islamic sect. So yes, these two countries are close, have a lot in common, due to the same Islamic minority sect that they practice. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to know this.
    Bahrain is the third. With 75% of the population belonging to a certain minority Islamic sect. [the ruling family does not belong to this sect,
    and is kept propped up by Saudia, that pays Pakland’s retired and serving military personnel to keep the Bahraini royal house intact and
    in power]. [Then come the Alawites of Syria… then the Lebanese…]
    You can see this ‘closeness’ among the populations of these 3 countries
    from the masses of Iranis and Bahrainis thronging Karbala, Najaf, Kufa, and Samarra. Not to mention the discussions ‘yours truly’ had with numerous citizens of these countries, both men and women, belonging
    to just about every strata of their societies.
    Trip was very informative, but that’s an aside…the Ziarats were paramount and as the ragged cliche says,…on the bucket list.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    I am so watching documentaries on Middle Eastern history now, Iraq is interesting because the party that has just come to power is both anti-Iran and anti-US, so I don’t know how this will play out…Recommend

  • Isabella Lee

    Such an awesome food is this especially this protein shake which looks so yummy.Recommend