|Ehsas in the mountains outside Peshawar, North Pakistan|
Ehsas is joining us for today's blog-hop to talk about his Ramadan memories as a child in Peshawar.
Ehsas, Thank you for joining us today. Are you looking forward to your first Ramadan in Scotland?
Yes, kind of! I am used to observing Ramadan in Pakistan in 40 degrees heat whereas obviously Scotland is much colder. However the days are much longer in Scotland and this makes fasting seem like a really difficult task. Being away from family and friends during Ramadan is really hard because we are used to having iftar with our large, extended family. In Peshawar we have special food bazaars and other stalls during Ramadan which sell food specialialities such as pakoras and kebabs during the Holy month.
Scotland obviously is not a muslim majority country so it does not have these tradtions and there is not such a special feeling during our Holy month.
Ehsas, can you tell us about some of your childhood memories of Ramadan in Peshawar?
I remember before Iftar (evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset) my family would sit outside on the mat on the floor in the family yard; my Granny would make Pakora's and other females in the family would make different dishes. We used to have at least 8-12 different dishes for each Iftar.
I always found Sahar (pre-dawn meal before fasting) really difficult and boring for me as it was so difficult for me to wake up.
During Ramadan we would have a half-day at school and we would come home earlier than normal to have fun and play cricket or hide and seek!
At Eid we would receive new traditional clothes and shoes such as shalwar-kameez and shoes such as Peshwari chapal, which are special in my area.
I have happy memories of this time in my childhood; we (my brothers and sister) loved receiving Eid-y, money for Ramadan which was given to us by the elders in my family.
When I was a child I also loved listening to Na'at which is poetry in praise of the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him. Na'at is particular to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We listened to Na'at from loudspeakers in our village. Junaid Jamshed was a former pop-star who became a Na'at khwa (a person who recites Na'at), and my family were massive fans of his.
Thannks for joining us on the Multi-cultural Kids Blog-Hop today Ehsas and we hope that you enjoy your first Ramadan in Scotland!
The holy month of Ramadan, which begins at the end of May this year, is an important month for Muslims across the world. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and is an important month for Muslims as it is the month when the Qur’an was first reveled to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and is considered to be the fourth of the five pillars of Islam.
I remember explaining Ramadan for the first time to my kids, Leah and Jaf. They were fascinated by the fact that people fast from sunrise to sunset. The older they get, the easier it becomes for them to understand why we as Muslims celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. It’s more than just fasting during the daylight hours - the holy month of Ramadan serves as a time of reflection, spending more time with the family, being grateful for everything we have, and providing to those in need.
Each fast is broken at the end of the day by a meal known as Iftar which in Arabic means, breakfast. Iftar is served at sunset during the month of Ramadan, and breaking the fast usually starts off by eating dates and drinking some water.
After prayers are said, then friends and family sit down to enjoy a filling meal that consists of salad, soup, various appetizers, rice, plenty of meats, and a whole dessert spread. Iftar is a social meal, and you’ll often find yourself with plenty of invites to come break your fast from friends, family, and even neighbors!
One of the kids favorite easy Iftar recipes is a simple Middle Eastern chicken and rice dish that I’ve been making ever since they were young. The recipe requires very little prep, and is ready in about an hour’s time - it’s also a great way for the kids to be involved in Iftar preparations - Jaffer likes to measure out all the spices that go into the recipe, and also helps me toast the slivered almonds while the rice is cooking.
Easy Iftar Recipes: Middle Eastern Chicken & Rice
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 3/4 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 lb boneless chicken breast
- 1 cup basmati rice, uncooked
- 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
- salt to taste
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and add in garlic and the ground beef along with the cinnamon, and pepper. Cook until the beef is evenly browned.
- Then add in the chicken stock, season with salt and add in the chicken breasts. Cover the skillet and cook for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
- Remove the chicken and shred. Return to the pan and mix in the rice. Cover the skillet again and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. Add more salt if required.
- While the rice is cooking, lightly toast the almonds in a pan. Stir often, making sure they do not burn.
- Once the rice is ready, garnish with pine nuts and serve.
What are your favorite Ramadan recipes? Let us know in the comments below!