I can remember when I was little my parents would feed us early and send us to bed to get some peace during iftar (the daily breaking of the fast during Ramadan). We then spent all evening sitting on the stairs trying to find ways to come downstairs and eat all the nice things everyone else was having. I am now having to deal with the same from my children.
As a teenager, I remember coming downstairs at iftar time and seeing everyone come down one by one with the most miserable looks on their faces. Kooky Little Sister was the worst as she had a problem getting out of bed before 1 p.m. since she was in nursery school. I remember thinking I wanted to give them all a slap.
As a young adult before I married, my mum’s samosas and lamb kebabs were absolutely amazing. No matter how many you ate, you still felt you didn’t get enough. One year, mum got fed up and decided she wouldn’t spend lots of time making samosas for Ramadan. She used the excuse that there was never enough space in the freezer. We were not having this, so Long-Suffering Sister and I went out and bought her a chest freezer to keep in the cellar. She made us the samosas.
Since then, Ramadan in my home has been about keeping it simple and preparing food in bulk and freezing before Ramadan so that we can focus on prayer during the month. Most years, I make Ramadan baskets for family and friends, although I haven’t got around to it this year (will see). My other favourite thing to do is to invite people for iftar. Little Man is harassing me at the moment to invite guests round, although these affairs are usually a mad rush before the fast is broken no matter how much prep I have done. I also love being invited to iftars and trying out the lovely food that other people make. Here is one of my favorite dishes
I hope to create lots of positive associations and good memories of Ramadan for my children and also some good traditions for them to take into adult life for them insh’Allah. I think the best way to do this is to go back to what the Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions (RA) used to do during this amazing month and find ways to incorporate this into our lives Insh’Allah.
500g (just over 1 pound) mince chicken breast
1 large onion – minced
4-8 green chilies (increase or decrease to suit your taste)
2 heaped tablespoons gram flour
1 level tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1 tablespoon of ready-made chana masala
1. Mince green chilies and meat together.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the meat and mix with hands.
3. Take portions of the mixture and roll into small balls (approx the sixe of a golf ball)–this is easier if hands are wet with water.
4. Flatten the ball into a round disc.
5. Place the discs on the grill at medium heat and cook until golden brown, turn and cook the other side until golden brown.
6. Wrap in foil until served to prevent them from going hard.
These are great between a bap as a spicy burger, with curry and chappati or nan bread, or on their own with tomato ketchup or chutney. I cooked half of the batch and froze the other half for another day.
Notes and Modifications:
You can easily substitute lamb in this recipe. I usually make lamb mince kebabs but this variation is lighter and leaner and I was surprised to find had far less smell (the smell of mince kebabs really lingers). The main variation is less onion because the meat doesn’t hold together as well as minced lamb and too much onion will make the kebabs fall apart. They are also a bit quicker to cook.