Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 37, Tuesday September 18, 2007



Special Feature

Portions of Iftar

The year has spun around, and once again we are face to face with the holy month of Ramadan, when we are bound by sacred duty to fast from sunrise to sunset. The rojas we keep are no doubt very successful in teaching us about humility and self-control; all the same, for ravenous sinners, one of the most important moments of Ramadan is the iftar, where we gobble down as much fried and oily food as possible and throw all calorie-concerned issues to the wind! As much as we enjoy the traditional piaju, beguni, and jilapi, however, eating these treats everyday is not a very good idea for your health.

Since your throat will be extremely parched by sunset, the obvious way to break your fast would be to drink a lot of water. Don't stop there; more than one or two glasses of liquids are needed to rejuvenate you. Drinking fruit juices would be a good idea, and on any other day you would be advised to stay away from the sugar-filled juices sold in the markets, especially the special sherbets that are sold during Ramadan! After fasting all day, however, your blood sugar becomes low, so drinking these might actually be a good for your health.

If you prefer to stay away from these marketed goods, though, you can just make any juice you want at home. The first choice for most people could be lemonade, since it is always yummy and you can add liberal quantities of sugar to that if you choose. You can also opt for pineapple or papaya juice, or pretty much any kind of fruit you can stuff into a blender! Green coconut water or “daber paani” is also a suitable choice of drink for iftar.

Main Course
After fasting all day, instead of eating a variety of fried food, it would be much better to eat just one main course and one or two appetizers alongside. The halim is actually a pretty good dish to eat as the main course, since the variety of lentils and meat is a source of protein. In fact, this dish became most popular in this area during the Mughal era, when during times of scarcity soldiers would have this dish to gain energy. Nevertheless, since this is cooked with a lot of oil and contains quite a large store of fat, it is better not to partake of too much of halim.

Noodles cooked with an assortment of vegetable are probably the best dish to have during iftar, since it has a pretty high dietary value. After all the yummy food usually eaten for iftar, this might not sound too appetizing, but if you pair this with meatballs and mix some chilli sauce or seasoning, it can turn out to be quite delicious.

If you are really starving, you can just make some fried rice with vegetables and chicken and enjoy your iftar, but be careful not to eat too much in a short time, and make sure you have a light dinner to make up for it.

Yes, everybody will grimace when hearing this, but even so this has to be said. You must eat a lot of fruits and vegetables! But instead of going to the trouble of making so many dishes, you can just cut up all the carrots, tomatoes, lettuce and other vegetables you have, add some dressing, salad herbs or simply lemon juice and enjoy! Or at least try to. If you prefer fruits, you can also make a fruit salad, which might be much tastier.

Don't worry; it's not necessary to force yourself to eat nutritious food that you don't even like on every iftar, just for the sake of staying healthy. Since you are not eating the whole day, it's perfectly all right and actually quite essential to eat a certain amount of sugar. You can make some delicious shemai for one meal, where the calcium filled milk will do wonders for your health. Or you can make rice pudding or opt for custard, where the added fruits should also be healthy. If you like spicy food, go for some chotpoti once a week, and there's no reason why you shouldn't have some chocolate cake or roshmalai now and then!

Fasting from sunrise to sunset can be a tough job, so there's no need to starve yourself and throw out all our traditional iftar food. It's just important to make sure you eat in moderation and instead of making ten platters of food every evening, simply try one or two new dishes for your daily iftar menu, which will all together lead to a tasty, nutritious and hassle free meal!

By Shuprova Tasneem
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Special thanks to Khazana

Pop Up

Start Up earlier this year with your house-cleaning spree, instead of waiting for the day before Eid. Cleaning up a house in a day- or even a few days- is difficult, particularly with so much dust accumulating throughout the month. So get out your brooms and start cleaning up your act.

Start with the minor nitty-gritty like dusting the furniture (even the hard-to-reach areas) on a daily basis. Further, take off with some furniture polishing, at least on a weekly basis. Also give some thought to the carpets and the mats- make sure that the dust does not accumulate. So wash regularly and put out to dry.

-LS Desk






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