Ramadan time or the fasting time, in a year, observed by the Muslims all over the world, is a time for repentance, patience, good deeds, self control and to know the value of hunger. It is the 9th month of Islamic calendar which is considered to be the holiest month as Quran was revealed in this month. Fasting is also considered to be healthy as it helps us to burn our stored fat and purify our body.
Through years of experience, I have started believing in spirituality and maintaining minimal nature. While we can indulge in some fancy food once in a while, its always better to have healthy and light food after long fasting hours. We follow a light but filling meals which consists of salads with fruits and veggies, soup and a steamed or baked main dish which is not very heavy. All these should be consumed in small quantities. These combination of foods cover up the nutrition which is needed by your body and gives you the energy needed for the followng day for fasting.
This Iftar meal consists of a fresh juice, mixed fruits with a simple healthy dressing, a clear soup with loads of greens and main course dish which is steamed. It’s mango season and who would not love to have mangoes. I’ve come up with a mango juice which is slighlty different. Raw mangoes are used to make this thirst quencher. Ginger, salt, raw sugar and a tad of ginger and rose essence makes you irresistable to this juice. For the cooling affect, I’ve added basil seeds which altogether spreads a sense of calmness in your body. Ginger aids in digestion.
Clear chicken soup provides you with all the proteins needed. Addition of the greens like spinach, leek, parsley along with mushrooms and garlic provides you fibres and vitamins to sustain through the whole day while fasting. I’ve added some onions and bayleaves to obtain an added flavor in the broth. You can also add celery to to make it more healthier. Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly, strain the broth from the solids and separate the chicken out, debone and shred and set aside. Saueteeing the veggies should in rare mode or medium rare. Mushrooms should be cooked and soft. You can adjust seasoning in the broth and let it boil. Place the veggies in soup bowl and pour over the boiling hot soup and you are all set.
Erachipathiri is a favorite of our family and friends. Its a steamed rice cake with a meat, fish or vegetable filling inside. Its a satisfying dish which serves the health purpose too. I havent shown the making of the beef filling, which is the most preferrred and tastiest option. You can refer my athishayapathiri or beef samosa video or web description for this (http://simiskitchendiaries.com/samosa/) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JUWrzgc4SY). Parboiled rice is the customary rice used for making this. Though I used to make it with it in beginning, I prefer Basmati rice over the parboiled type. Flavor and aroma of basmati is so overpowering that it adds on to the enjoyment when you bite into every time. Only difference is that we soak the parboiled rice in warm water whereas basmati is soaked in normal water for 8-10 hours for a smooth fine batter. When you grind it in blender take care that the grinder/blender does not get hot. Always grind the rice first, transfer half of the batter and then add the coconut, shallots and fennel for the final grind.
I’ve used a mix of berries, avocados with regular apple, mangoes and bananas so that all the nutrients and antioxidants are supplemented while fasting. A simple dressing of honey and lime juice to round of the fruit platter which also adds benefits to your body. You can choose a mix of fruits you prefer according to the availability.
One final health tip too, always break your fast with couple of dates and half glass of water. Give sometime to your body to absorb these, you can do your prayers this time and then have the meal. This will help the body to adjust the intake of food rather than hogging up it at a go. These are all easy to make dishes, except the erachipathiri. So do try this out. Stay healthy and stay blessed during this holy month !!!
For the Raw Mango Cooler
Peel and cut the mangoes. Add the mangoes along with ginger , salt sugar syrup and ice cubes . Blend to a smooth juice. Can strain if you like.
Add the essence and basil seeds soaked in a cup of water. Mix up and keep in fridge till ready to use.
Mixed Fruit Platter:
Add all the fruits to a bowl. Mix honey and lemon juice together. Swirl it over the fruits and mix gently and keep chilled until you use it.
Clear chicken Soup:
Wash and drain the chicken. Add rest of the ingredients to chicken in a pressure cooker. Cook on high flame for a whistle, then reduce the flame and cook for 20 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes and till all the pressure is released. Strain the broth from the solids. Remove the chicken pieces. Debone it and shred it. Set aside.
Boil the stock by adjusting seasoning and keep warm till it is ready to serve.
Wash and drain all the veggies. Slice the mushrooms. Chop the spinach, spring onions, leek and parsley finely.
Heat a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and fry them till browned. Add the mushrooms and cook till all the water is absorbed and soft. Add the spinach and cook for a minute on high flame proceeded by leek and spring onions. Cook till moisture is absorbed and the greens are just wilted. Finally add the parsley and cook for a minute.
Place the veggies in a soup bowl and pour the hot soup over it when its time to serve food.
Wash and soak the rice in water for 8-10 hours or overnight. Drain and add to the grinder. Add a cup of water and grind to a fine batter. Take out half the batter from the mixer and add the coconut, fennel, shallots and 1/2 cup of water more. Grind finely.
Add to the separated batter and combine well. Add rest of the water and salt to taste. Mix up till you get a loose batter.
Place an aluminium foil as shown in the video in a steaming container. Grease with ghee. Pour 2-3 ladles of batter according to the thickness you prefer. Layer the beef filling on top of it. Pour two more ladles of batter followed by a sprinkling of corainder leaves.
Boil the water in a steamer. Place the container in the steamer and steam for 20-25 minutes or until done. Reduce the flame after 10-12 minutes.
Allow the pathiri to cool down a bit and then cut into desired shape and serve.