Ramadan Like An Adult
One of the responsibilities as an adult if you live alone is to learn how to cook. I remember my first year at UC Berkeley, my roommate and I finished the last of what our moms had cooked us and we looked at each other wondering who will cook the following night(Mild dramatics here, lol). I think college is one of those points in someone’s life when they need to get out of the “my parents will do it” kinda mode and get into “I’m responsible for myself” kinda mode. I remember learning how to cook, doing laundry, cleaning the apartment, and the dreaded grocery shopping all while studying for a full schedule of classes. But, that’s life. That’s how you prove to your family that you are an independent individual, responsible and self –sufficient.
One of the first shehris and iftaris I hosted with my roommate was during the junior year. All our friends would take turn hosting and it would be a fancy affair. I was reminiscing about my early adult days/college days when I thought it would be fun to post some tried-and-true recipes that won’t cost a pretty penny and are super easy so you can have your own shehri or iftari feast with your friends. Yes, this post is for all of you hard-working college goers who want to play host in their not-so-clean-but-clean-enough apartments.
So here goes: Shehri
· 1 cup olive oil
· ½ medium onion, chopped
· 3 medium potatoes, boiled and cut into teaspoon-sized pieces
· 4 large eggs
· ½ cup basil, cilantro, and green onion
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over the medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté it for about 5 minutes or until it is light golden. Add the potatoes, and season them to taste with salt. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes longer, stirring, until they are tender.
2. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the potatoes until lightly browned and crisp. Remove potatoes and onion and drain them. Let the oil in the pan cook, and then pour all but ½ teaspoon into another container.
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Add the potatoes, onions, and rest of the ingredients and mix well.
4. Heat the skillet, making sure the oil is evenly distributed. Pour the egg mixture and spread it evenly in the skillet. Shake the pan gently and cook until the eggs begin to set around the edges.
5. Lay over the skillet a plate that is slightly larger in diameter than the skillet. Invert the omelet on it.
6. Return the empty skillet to the stove, add another 1 ½ teaspoons off the reserved oil and heat it. Slide the omelet off the plate and into the pan (the uncooked side should be facing down). Shake the pan gently to prevent sticking, and cook until the omelet is set.
7. Slide the omelet onto a serving plate, and let the omelet cool.
Tomato and Eggplant Towers
· 6 large ripe tomatoes, cut in half
· 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
· 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
· 8 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
· 1 ½ tbsp. sea salt and ground black pepper
· 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced
· Pinch of smoked paprika
· 8 tbsp. of plain yogurt
· 2 tbsp. of honey
· 4 tbsp. blanched almonds, chopped
1. Preheat over 300F
2. Lay the tomatoes cut-side up on a cookie sheet. Mix the garlic and Italian seasoning with the salt, pepper, and half the olive oil. Spoon this over the tomatoes.
3. Bake in the oven for 2-3 hours. Allow to cool.
4. Layer the slices of eggplant in a colander, sprinkling a little salt between each layer. Leave for 30 minutes then rinse well with water and dry.
5. Place the eggplant slices in a large bowl, pour over the rest of the olive oil, and sprinkle with a little paprika. Toss together with your hands.
6. Heat a ridged griddle pan and then add a single layer of the eggplant slices. Cook each side until tender. Place the slices on a plate. Repeat for the other slices.
7. To serve, create towers by piling up the eggplant slices and tomato halves in alternative layers. Drizzle two tbsps. Of yogurt over each tower.
8. Pour on some honey and sprinkle with chopped almonds.
So here goes: Iftari
· ½ cup chopped walnuts
· 1 bunch spinach, rinsed and torn
· ½ cup dried cranberries
· ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
· 2 tomatoes, chopped
· 1 avocado, diced
· ½ red onion, thinly sliced
· 2 tbsp. red raspberry jam (with seeds)
· 2 tbsps. red wine vinegar
· 1/3 cup walnut or olive oil
· Pinch of salt
· Pinch of pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet, Toast in over for 5 minutes, or until nuts begin to brown.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach, walnuts, cranberries, blue cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and red onion.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together jam, vinegar, walnut or olive oil, pepper, and salt. Pour over the salad just before serving, and toss to coat.
Palak Paneer (Spinach and Indian Cheese)
· 1 chopped onion
· ½ tsp red chili powder
· 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
· 2 pieces green chilies diced
· 1 ½ chopped tomato
· 1 tsp coriander powder
· 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
· Pinch of turmeric
· 1 packet of paneer-Indian cheese
· Whole garam masala (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon)
· 1 tsp Fenugreek leaves powder
· 2-3 whole cloves, chopped
1. Add spinach to boiling water (don’t cover). Let it boil for 5 minutes
2. Put spinach in a blender and puree
3. Add oil to pan
4. Add whole garam masala
5. Add ½ tsp of cumin seeds
6. Add chopped garlic. Simmer.
7. Add onions.
8. Add salt.
9. Add 1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
10. ¼ tsp of turmeric
11. Add chopped tomatoes
12. Add 1 tsp cumin powder
13. Add 1 tsp coriander powder
14. Add ½ tsp chili powder
15. Add 1 tsp Fenugreek leaves powder
16. Add chopped Green Chilies
17. Add blended spinach. Let it simmer. When you see droplets of oil on the top, then it’s done.
18. Add cut cheese. Let it simmer.
19. Serve with hot naans.
· 6 slices of day old cinnamon bread
· 2 tbsps. butter, melted
· 4 eggs, beaten
· 2 cups whipping cream
· ¾ cup white sugar
· 1 tsp ground nutmeg
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter over bread.
3. In a medium, mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed
4. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.
6. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Well, there you have it. A non-traditional menu for the upcoming Ramadan. Don’t forget your dates. Do let me know how your friends enjoyed the food. Sending prayers to you guys. Why? Just because I have a soft place for all those youngins….