What is Ramadan? Embrace Ramadan - By Chef Kunal Kapur

Content ImageA very pious man once asked Ghalib “Kyun Miyan Roza Rakha….very smartly Ghalib said “Kya Kahu Mein, Bas ‘Ek’ Na Rakha”….. Now keep guessing if Ghalib meant he dint keep even a single roza or he just missed only one roza. This googly came few years back from Arif, a very dear friend of mine while he explained me more about the Ramadan or we call as Ramzaan or simply Roze.I am a strong believer in God BUT I just don’t get it as to how a religion can be a means to connecting with God. I believe god is everywhere and little acts of selflessness leads to godliness. As the conversation went deeper into the nuances of Ramadan it became clearer to me what is the actual meaning of Ramadan. It is said that the Holy Quran was revealed to “Prophet Mohammed—the messenger of Allah” in this month. Falling on the 9th month of every calendar year (Islamic calendar) and observed for 29 to 30 days, as per the sighting of the moon of Eid, this ritual has stunned me to the core. Simply put for a layman it is a month of fasting right from the sunrise till the sun sets. That is no food, no water morning till evening for an entire month.But the way I see it for me it was self discipline, challenging, selfless, being humble and patience. These virtues no matter how hard we strive for in our daily lives today seldom can be achieved but just by embracing Ramadan it just comes to you. I have immense respect for all religions and beliefs but like I said I just believe in god and just not in any particular religion. All I am saying is that Ramadan is a way to discipline your life and one should try it at least once. Every day of the Ramadan begins with “Sehri” which is eating early morning before the dawn. After sehri there is an entire day of no eating and drinking till “Iftar”. Iftar is the breaking of the fast by eating a date after the dusk, and then followed by a dinner spread. Ramadan is a time of sharing and it teaches you to be selfless and donate food, clothes, alms to the poor or the much needy. It is a time to sit back from the daily mad rush and realize who we really are and why are we always running. Fasting and sharing your wealth with others calms the most aggressive minds. It is the time which creates togetherness in the families and cohesiveness in the society is at its peak. At least this has been my experience so far.

 

Content ImageHaving worked in Kuwait for 2 years in the restaurant business, I have seen two seasons of Ramadan. Not that I was under any pressure of any sort to observe Ramadan but being surrounded by food, I always wanted to experience how it is to refrain from it, even if it is for some time. Trust me all sorts of evils come to you once you start fasting especially if you are in a habit of cooking every day. The inner voice just screams out aloud to just forget all morals and just binge on food. Evil thoughts on to secretly eat a bit and nobody will know; to self doubt about one’s integrity become ripe. It is the worst to deal with the monster that you become inside on first few days. But if you sail through the initial teething problems you overcome the evil in you and discover a whole new side to you. It is hard to explain and even hard to understand once you go through, but becomes clearer once you stand to what you committed. It can only be experienced through actually dealing with it.

And what I gained out of it was that I was more active than usual, I got my focus back, I started having a sound sleep, lost a few pounds fitted into by old jeans, had opportunity to feed the poor, very satisfied and calm……God!!! Just read that again...Isn’t that we all want in our lives!!!

Here is my all time favourite Ramadan Recipes

Sheer Khorma

  • Semiyan (broken)—1 cup
  • Milk – 1 lt
  • Desi ghee – 2 tbl spn
  • Elichi powder – 1 tsp
  • Dates sliced – ½ cup
  • Pistachio chopped – 2 tbl spn
  • Munakka – 2 tbl spn
  • Sugar – ½ cup
  • Khoya – ½ cup

Method –

  • Melt the ghee in a thick bottom pan and sauté the semiyan for 2-3 mintues.
  • Now add the milk and let it cook on medium flame. Drop in grated khoya and sugar.
  • Sprinkle elichi powder, dates, pistachio and munakka. Cook till milk is halved.
  • Serve hot every iftar. Ramadan Mubarak!!