Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting. It’s special because it was in this month that the Quran was revealed, thus making it the most important time of the year. Muslims all around the world observe a day long fast in which they abstain from not only food and water, but also “fasting” from the sins of the eyes, ears, tongue, etc. It’s a time for reflection and becoming closer to God.
For Ramadan this year, my husband and I have made it a point to be more aware of the food we eat. It’s easy to over-indulge when the time come to break-fast, but it isn’t necessarily the right thing to do. Our reasoning this year is that since we’re nourishing ourselves spiritually, we should try to nourish our bodies with the foods we eat. This year, our break-fast meal consists of dates, water, and a bowl of fruit. We follow this meal with Maghrib (sunset) prayer, and then proceed to a light dinner.
In keeping with the spirit of eating light, I’m sharing a recipe for the chocolate pudding I’ve been keeping a stash of in my refrigerator. It’s light yet tastes indulgent, and a spoonful fulfills our cravings when our sweet tooth speaks up 🙂
Yield: 4 Servings
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt and mix well. Add milk and mix until smooth.
Transfer mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, bringing the pudding to a simmer. Stir often, and cook for a few minutes, until thickened but still loose. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Transfer to serving dish and place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to avoid forming a skin. Refrigerate until completely cool, at least 2 hours.
(Adapted from Food.com)
Just like Koftay, rice pudding (Kheer) is abundant in cuisines across the globe. The ingredients and method may be a little different here and there, but they all have a similar foundation of milk, rice, and sugar. The remaining ingredients can vary vastly from one cook to the next.
The Kheer recipe that I am sharing with you today is one that comes especially from my paternal aunt, Zaibun. It’s special in the sense that it replaces rice with semolina and includes an egg (which can be left out as well) for added creaminess. All of the ingredients are blitzed in a blender and the cooked for 20 to 30 minutes, unlike traditional Kheer which needs to be cooked and attended to for long amounts of time.
Also, just a note, after blending the ingredients together, you might notice that the mixture has foamed quite a bit. Don’t worry! The foaming will subside after the Kheer is cooked through and refrigerated.
Yield: 4 Servings
- 4 cups milk
- 1 egg
- ½ – ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup semolina
- 4 cardamoms
- Pinch of saffron
- A few drops of kewra essence
- Roughly chopped pistachios or almonds, for garnish
Combine milk, egg, sugar, and semolina in the jar of a blender and blitz until thoroughly combined. Don’t worry if the mixture begins to get frothy; It will subside after being refrigerated.
Transfer milk mixture to a large cooking vessel and add cardamoms and saffron. Cook over medium heat, making sure to stir often to prevent burning, for 20 to 30 minutes, until thickened.
Add kewra essence and transfer to serving dish. Garnish with chopped nuts and cool completely before refrigerating.
I normally shy away from writing about personal issues/beliefs or politics on this blog, and usually focus solely on the recipe on hand. However for the past few days my heart has been heavy.
I’m sure you all have heard the terrible news of what happened on Friday, December 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
I just can’t come to terms with what has happened.
I can’t imagine the pain the children and adults are going through, both those who have lost and those who were saved.
Our hearts hurt for you, but know that you are in our prayers.
Today’s post is dedicated to those brave and beautiful angels of Sandy Hook. For those who have left us, may your memories be a source of strength for your families; And for those who survived, may your road to recovery be fluid and tranquil.
*Recipe and photo updated 01/21/2014. Recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
Yield: 4 – 6 Servings
- 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca
- 2 ½ cups milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
In a medium saucepan, soak tapioca in milk for 30 minutes.
Whisk in salt, sugar, and egg yolk.
Place saucepan over medium heat and heat until the mixture comes to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Serve either warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers.