This is not another weight loss article!

By Maasi Wajo

Hello guys and I hope you all are fine and since we’re almost done with Ramadan, busy preparing for the splendor that’s Eid. Ramadan this year, has been really challenging for the most of us, mostly because of soaring temperatures in our country coupled with the very irritating load shedding (non) routine. Speaking of which, please do say a little prayer for all those people we lost in Karachi due to this terrible, terrible situation. My heart goes out to their families 😦

Now coming back to the article, it is about something that I should’ve written at the very beginning of Ramadan but my procrastination got the better of me; as it almost always does. Sigh.

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Our usual Iftar table looks a little like this!

Binging on food is an extravagance most of us like to indulge in during Ramadan, something that basically kills the main purpose of the Holy Month, i.e. detoxification. The trick is to eat properly and to remain hydrated, especially in a climate as hot as ours. We can work upon getting our whole twisted eating lifestyle back in order during Ramadan if we try enough.

And this year this is exactly what I tried to achieve. Before the beginning of this month, I vowed that I’d change this overeating routine of mine, and guess what, it worked out just fine.

I started keeping track of my portions with the use of this very effective App, MyFitnessPal— and made it a point to not drink water an hour before and after my khana. At Iftar time it can’t be helped of course, but I handled this by taking only a few sips, painfully ignoring the very tempting Rooh Afza on the table. Sigh.

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Oh how I missed thee, my lovely!

Half an hour after a very light Iftar (usually a couple of pakoras and a very small amount of dahi bhalas), I would take another glass of water; after an hour of which I’d take dinner. Now, after an hour and half of dinner I’d go on a water binging spree, drinking a glass of water after every half an hour. I made it a point to drink at least 7-8 glasses of water every night. At around 2 I’d stop drinking water altogether, because really, my tummy’d start protesting by that time. I’d take some namkeen lassi instead, and at 2:30 a cup of tea. At 3 I’d take my sehri, and finish it off with a cup of green tea.

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My love, a glass of namkeen lassi, that I took every day in sehri!

Now what I was essentially doing here was that,

1) I was eating sweet and salty food separately, and,
2) I was giving at least half an hour in between any two meals (or water drinks)

I found this regimen really helpful since unlike the previous times, my tummy feels really nice this Ramadan and I don’t feel as bloated as I used to. At Iftar parties, a little bit of gluttony couldn’t be helped but while doing my Iftar at home, I tried to stick this routine as much as I could.

And about whether or not this regimen helped me with my weight loss issues? Well, I reluctantly weighed myself today and guess what……… it says I’m a little over ten pounds lighter than the last time; which was about a month ago!! Trust me, it’s as much of a surprise for me as for you since we all tend to gain weight in Ramadan, rather than lose it. I just hope I don’t go completely excited on Eid and eat myself to oblivion again. But one can hope.

I know I know, I should’ve written this way back since Ramadan has now almost ended but trust me, you can try it later as well. Since I definitely am going to! Better still; let’s do this together and keep each other in check! Let me know what you think of it!

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Recipe: Paratha Rolls

By Maasi Javeria

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Salam Dearies!

And Ramadan Mubarak! Well yes, it’s a bit late for greetings, and I am really sorry for catching up this late with you guys. But it won’t happen again. Promise! So this Ramadan it’s our humble Goal to make it easy for you ladies out there regarding the age old “what to make for Iftar” problem. We will try our best to provide you with recipes that are made with ingredients, which are already present in almost every home. And you won’t have to rush to the super market for anything. Absolutely loved Maasi Saba’s jalapeños poppers recipe. Definitely will try it sometime soon.

Today I will be providing a recipe for Paratha Rolls. Noooo!!!! We are not going to use any frozen flour based paratha’s. We will make our own wholesome, healthy and of delicious home made paratha’s. Trust me your kids will love it and you never know, may be that finicky hubby of yours might also show some appreciation :p 

Ok coming back to the recipe, I’ll be giving u minimum standard recipe that you can double as per your family members/requirement.

PARATHA

1) 1/2 kg whole wheat atta, or your regular atta would do just fine. You can also put 1/4 kg chookar in 1/2 kg regular aata to give it that whole wheat touch.

2) One instant yeast sachet (instant yeast will spare you the hassle of first soaking the regular yeast and waiting for it to rise). Do read the instructions, usually one sachet is enough for 1/2 or 1 kg whole-wheat flour.

3) 1 egg

4) 3 tablespoons oil or desi ghee (I prefer desi ghee as it makes it super moist)

5) 5 Tb sp black seeds (kalongi seeds)

6) 4-5 cups of warm water

7) 1 tsp salt

8) 1 tbsp sugar (trust me!)

For the Filling:

 1) One whole chicken: get it bone less n ask the butcher to cut in small cubes, smaller than the regular sized cubes, that way u get both type of pieces the breast n thigh.

2) 2 tsp black pepper, crushed

3) 4 tbsp oil

4) 1/4 tsp garlic paste ( i always prefer home made )

5) 1 tsp salt

6) Cheese slices

7) Ice berg

8) Plain ketchup and chilli garlic ketchup.

METHOD :

Now don’t get scared looking at such long method I have only tried to explain it to you guys till the last bit.

First we will make parathas so that the time it takes to rise, we will be done with our chicken.

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Mix all the dry ingredients of paratha, no sequence required.

Now start putting water, those of you who are going to knead it in food factory or the mixer should put eggs and oil half way between when the dough is kneading.

Those using hands should make a centre in the atta ( whole wheat flour)

Put water n eggs n oil n start working from the centre, until it is firm not very hard or soft, just the right amount of firmness which would be easy to handle it for making the balls n Roti.

Now we don’t to put all the water all at once, just enough that your dough is kneaded to perfect consistency. Like wise if the dough becomes too soft you can add more whole-wheat flour, or if too hard take some more water but remember it has to be hot.

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Now when you are done with the kneading of dough cover it with cling film or cloth and keep it aside in a warm place for 1/2 an hour to let it rise. Don’t worry if it hasn’t risen exactly double or even near it as per your expectation, this is not a pastry competition we are having so chill n relax; you can never go wrong with this dough.

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Filling method:

Now if you r even little bit of familiar with cooking or even if not, this part is piece of cake.

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Fry the garlic in oil, don’t let it gain colour. Put chicken, salt, pepper, and let it cook on low flame first and covered, after fifteen minutes or when the water is drying out almost, start frying it on medium flame till it is nice and tender.

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Now take your dough, half hour is maximum for giving it rest. Start making balls little less than almost the size of tennis ball.

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Roll out a Paratha and carefully put this rolled out Paratha on the hot flat pan or tawa. Now put ghee just enough to cover it don’t let it run on the hot plate on both sides and let it get a nice golden brown colour— those of you more diet conscious can go with only putting oil on one side, which I normally do for my self or skipping it altogether.

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Now when your done with your Paratha, the dough will make easily 6-7 paratha’s or may be couple more. Depending on the size of balls you have made.

Take one Paratha, put plain ketchup and chilli garlic ketchup spread it on Paratha (my little one doesn’t like ketchup so I put cream cheese for him), put your chicken in the centre length wise, a nice quantity, take slice of cheese, half it and put it on the chicken both halves again length wise. Now top it with ice berg or what ever veggie (like shredded carrots or cucumber, my personal favourite is ice berg).

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And fold it, now don’t roll it, just bring the both corners on each other and lock them in place with 2-3 tooth picks on top n bottom. No need for centre.

VIOLA guys enjoy and let me know. If you guys had a good time making and eating it. Total prep time is an hour and a further half an hour for filling.

Same as it takes us to prepare a Salan or gravy, but lot yummier!

Recipe: Jalapeño Poppers

A couple of days back I was having a little chit chat with Maasi Saba and well, the subject of Iftari came up, which usually is the most popular topic of discussion in our households during Ramadan. I wanted to make something simple but different and voila! She recommended this amazing jalapeño poppers recipe, which I made as soon as i could and was an instant hit in my family!!

Read the recipe in her own words and discover for yourself, these scrumptious little jalapeño poppers. And do try, I’m sure your kids will love you for this!

— Maasi Wajo

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By Maasi Saba

All day long, you think of what you would like for Iftar. You go through the list like a routine. Pakoras? What kind of pakoras? Fruit chaat, dahi bharray, dahi pakoria, chinese rolls, sesame chicken on toast, kebabs, shami kebabs, etc. But as the time rolls on, going into the kitchen is like jumping over a hurdle. But, alas, we still go in, and we prepare Iftar for our loved ones. We try to make it tasty and interesting. (But there is always one person who is not happy.) We make different drinks, different types of milk drinks, and have an assortment of dates on the table. We also put out all the sauces, ketchups, and chutneys we have in the house to make the food more interesting. I hope our families will be happy with our effort.

Trying to make different things for Iftar isn’t easy. Sometimes our efforts backfire and everyone looks at the dish and then our faces thinking, “What is that supposed to be!” I think we all have those bad days. Those days I wish I had someone else doing the work in the kitchen!

Today, we have a quick and easy recipe to share with you. I have been making this for a few years and my family loves it. Well, minus my younger two who don’t like jalapeños. In the U.S., my mom would buy jalapeño poppers from Costco and we would devour them before we sat down at the table. They were delicious! They made them using whole jalapeños stuffed with cheddar cheese! YUM! You can’t find them here, and you can’t use cheddar cheese either. That particular cheese here is a bit in the oily side and it will just lose its shape n become mush. My mom tried making it with cheddar and mozzarella cheese and they opening while she was frying them.

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For this recipe, you will need to buy fresh cottage cheese, a bottle of jalapeño slices, egg, flour (optional) and bread crumbs for coating. 

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 I took about 3-4 heaping spoonfuls of jalapeños, drained and roughly sliced them.

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I have a family of eight members all under our roof so I used two cottage cheese and crumbled it up with my hands at first and then a fork.

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I mixed the two by hand and was able to shape them into small little croquet shaped balls. I had to put them in the fridge for an hour because that day it was particular hot, and my own sweaty hands were ruining the shape.
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After 2 hours, I dipped them in a well beaten egg and coated then with breadcrumbs. (You can add flour as well if you like). I froze mine immediately for later use.

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When frying, make sure the fire is not on low or they will open up before they are golden brown.

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Jalapeños give it the right tangy and spicey taste! These jalapeño poppers are very tasty. Now you will have to adjust to your liking the amount of jalapeños added. I didn’t add any seasoning, but you can if you want.

Decorative Moods

By Maasi Saba 

A little something we did for Ramadan this year!
Ramadan mubarik! I pray this year will be a better year for all of us. Ramadan is a time when we seek to grow closer to Allah SWT, and to attain as many good deeds as possible. We also strive to better ourselves and make improvements in our character in general. Each  year we begin the month of Ramadan with much zest. We are able to wake up on time to prepare Sehri, and are comfortable enough to prepare Iftari. The beginning is always great.
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Lanterns in our lounge as well. Don’t you think they’re pretty?
We set our personal goals we want to achieve, map out the Duas and special prayers we want to say to Allah SWT. Everything goes smoothly. Alhumdulillah. It’s about a week into the month that we do start to slow down. Well, I’m assuming half of us?? With the heat and electricity breakdowns during the day, I know my mood begins to waver, as well as my children’s’.

FullSizeRenderThis year, I wanted to do something different. From last Ramadan, I noticed many people abroad decorated their homes to bring in the festive mood. I had saved many pictures, and this year with kids in tow, we decided to make our own decorations and make the home more colorful and happy.

When I was living abroad, I never found any Eid, or Ramadan decorations. But I’ve noticed that things have changed and people are more aware of our religion as well. On Etsy, one is able to find cookie cutters for Eid. They include a mosque, moon, star and another shape as well. One can find hanging lights with moon and stars. Also, wall hangings and banners all saying “Eid Mubarik”, or “Happy Ramadan”, and many more things are readily available in the U.S. now. That makes me happy as a Muslim.

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This is how we made our simple lanterns!
This year, my daughter made many different colored lanterns to hang around our stair case and in the lounge. We all contributed in making our Ramadan Mubarik banner as well. Right now, we are working on making different lanterns with the number of days written on it. So each day after Iftari, we can remove one lantern. This helps the kids to know how many days are left.

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Making these decorations has also helped the days go by quicker. The kids are not in the mood anymore to do any holiday homework, and making them read a book is sometimes a chore in itself. These projects helped them take their minds off of the thirst for a little while. I hope some of you will also try this and include your children to help you. It’s good bonding time as well.