Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mom’s Ramadan Recipe: Chhole


What you need:

2 cans chickpeas, drained and washed
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon yogurt
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
Salt, to taste
Water, as required
Optional: 1 cubed potato

For garnish:
Chopped cilantro
1 sliced tomato
1/4 sliced onion
1 chopped green pepper

How to make it:

In a small bowl, mix the turmeric, salt, red pepper, ground cumin powder, and 3 tablespoons of water.

Heat oil in pan on low heat. Add above mixture and stir well. Keep adding 1 tablespoon of water every 30 seconds for 3 minutes while stirring (so that the mixture doesn’t dry out). Finally, add potatoes with another 2 tablespoons of water and stir. Add chickpeas and 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer on low heat.

Meanwhile, mix yogurt and tamarind paste in a separate bowl and keep aside.

Once water has evaporated and potatoes are tender, remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes (the chickpeas should be tender as well, but not too soft).

Add tamarind and yogurt mixture to the chickpeas and mix well. Place in serving bowl and garnish as desired.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Ramadan Season 2011

Today was the first day of Ramadan. Out of the 12 months in the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan is when Muslims are supposed to fast. Fasts begin at sunrise and last until sunset. My family starts their day by waking up really early and then fueling themselves for the day ahead. After the morning prayer, everyone goes about their day as they normally would, but without eating or drinking. About an hour before sunset, preparation begins for Iftar, the time at which we break our fast.

People usually greet each other by saying Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem. [Because of the recent events in the Middle East, many Egyptians are avoiding anything with the term Mubarak in it.]

Click here to read last year’s post on Ramadan.

I have a few goals this Ramadan that I wish to accomplish:

(1) Memorize Juz ‘Amma

Explanation: The Koran, the Holy Book of Muslims, is divided into 30 parts to make it easier to read in a month, or to memorize it. The whole Koran contains 114 Surah (chapters). Juz ‘Amma is the 30th part of the Koran. Since the Surah are shorter in this part of the Koran, Muslims start memorizing the Koran with Juz ‘Amma.

For a better explanation of what a Juz is, click here.

(2) Memorize Surah Mulk

Explanation: In simple terms, a Surah is a chapter of the Koran. Each Surah has a name and this particular one is called Surah Mulk. Since Surah Mulk is 30 ayaat (verses), it is an ideal Surah to memorize during Ramadan (which also lasts for 30 days), which means we memorize one ayah (verse) per day.

To access Surah Mulk, click here.

(3) Read Islamic fiction/non-fiction

Explanation: To keep with the spirit of Ramadan, I want to promote Muslim women writers. I will read books, essays, short stories, and anything else written by Muslim women and review it on my blog.

I will be using a Facebook page created by a friend for recommendations. Click here to take a look.

(4) Reach out to my non-Muslim connections

Explanation: This is probably one of the most important goals I have this Ramadan. I have a lot of non-Muslim friends and acquaintances, which is why I wanted to reach out and include them in my Ramadan celebrations [I have already asked one of my friends to fast with me for one day].

In the coming days, I will be sharing book reviews by Muslim women writers and some recipes of my mom’s Iftar dishes.


^Iftar feast, clock-wise starting from upper left: dahi bade, chhole, pakore (traditional Indian/Pakistani cuisine for Ramadan).

How are you planning to spend your Ramadan? Do you have any goals? If you are not Muslim, what are your thoughts on Ramadan? If you have any questions, feel free to ask them too!

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