If your bonus for fasting during the holy month of Ramadan is losing a few pounds, and gaining a few virtues, then indulging in the traditional iftar banquets is strictly no-no. Also, it’s best to turn a blind eye to the ghee-soaked malpuas (sweets) and deep-fried kaleji (liver) that tempt you from street corners and enjoy instead a three-course spread dished out by Hughes Road-based homemaker and roza-keeper, Nuzhat Fakih. Nuzhat’s appetiser is low on oil and high on proteins. Her main course, steamed and grilled, is full on nutrients. And the dessert, made from wholewheat milk, is loaded on the ‘good’ vitamins. Enjoy without guilt pangs!
Main course: Grilled hara chicken with couscous salad
Ingredients: 1 chicken (roughly chopped),1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste, 1 cup coriander leaves, 1/2 cup mint leaves, 2 tsp green chilli paste, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 cup yogurt, juice of 1 lemon, salt as per taste, 1 cup couscous (cooked with chicken stock), handful of black olives, tomato wedges for garnish
Method: In a mixer, grind ginger-garlic paste, coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chillies and cumin powder into a fine paste. Season it with salt and add yogurt and lemon juice to it. Marinade chicken pieces in this paste and steam in a pressure cooker until tender. Transfer the pieces on to a greased grilling pan and cook until golden-brown. To assemble, make a bed of couscous and place grilled chicken pieces on top. Garnish with black olives and tomato wedges before serving.
Dessert: Badam hareera
Ingredients: 1/2 litre milk, 3 tbsp wheat (soaked in water), 1/4 tsp cardamom powder, handful of chopped nuts, few strands of saffron, sugar as per taste
Method: To extract wheat milk, grind wheat along with the water in which it is soaked. Strain this mixture with the help of a strainer or muslin cloth. Discard the molasses and transfer the milk into a heavy-bottomed pan. Add cardamom, saffron, sugar and nuts to this and bring it to a boil. This should take about five
minutes. Once it reaches a custard-like consistency, pour it in a serving bowl and refrigerate for a few hours. Serve cold after
a heavy meal.
“Since iftar is the first large meal of the day, it is important to pack it with nutrients instead of calories. For starters, I’ve made steamed kebabs that limit the usage of oil to greasing. They contain ample protein and feel light on the stomach. The meat for main course is steamed and grilled — this helps keep the nutrition intact and avoids over-cooking. The marinade of yogurt aids digestion and gives it the dish a refreshing touch. My dessert uses homemade whole wheat milk that is loaded with vitamins and doubles up as a filling treat for sehri (meal consumed before starting the fast) as well.”
Appetiser: Steamed chicken kebabs
Ingredients: 2 pieces of chicken breast (chopped roughly), 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste, 1/2 tsp chilli paste, 1/2 cup spring onions (chopped), 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1 slice of bread (chopped roughly), 1/4 cup spinach (chopped), sprinkling of cheese (optional), 1 tbsp oil, salt as per taste
Method: In a mixer, grind chicken, ginger-garlic paste, chilli paste, spring onions, cumin powder and bread into a coarse paste. Season it with salt and divide the entire mixture into two equal portions. Place one portion of this mixture on a rectangular sheet of aluminium foil and flatten it with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle spinach and cheese on top and fold the paste into a thick roll (like Swiss roll). Wrap this mixture by folding the foil paper and steam it in a pressure cooker or a dim sum steamer for 15 minutes. Unwrap the foil and cut the kebabs into thick circles. Serve on a bed of shredded iceberg
lettuce, cabbage and lemon wedges.