Posted in Food

Juice It Up

Muslims all over the world are celebrating Ramadan; a 30 day festival wherein they fast from dawn to dusk. During this fast they can’t munch on any food nor can they gulp any drinks. Not even water. To make Iftar (the time when they break their fast) more satiating and to beat the heat we have listed down four ice cool recipes.

P.S: Read ahead only after breaking your fast. 😉

Recipe one : Bottle Gourd Punch

Ingredients:
1 peeled and shredded bottle gourd
1 lemon
A bunch of mint leaves
Pepper powder
Salt to taste
Sprite

Method:

  1. After peeling and shredding the bottle gourd, boil it till it becomes soft. Drain excess water.
  2. In a mixer add mint leaves, sugar, salt and a bit of pepper powder and mix it until it all blends well.
  3. In a glass, pour the boiled bottle gourd, mint and sugar paste and fill it with Sprite. Garnish it with a slice of lemon!
    Refreshing and tasty to plunge into at iftar.

Recipe 2 : Watermelon Punch

Ingredients:
Watermelon cut into pieces
Mint leaves
Lemon
Sprite

Method:

  1. Take the cut watermelon pieces and put them into a mixer grinder and mix it until it becomes a pulp.
  2. Now using a muslin cloth or a small-holed sieve, separate the slurry from the juice.
  3. Take mint leaves and cut them and add them in this watermelon juice.
  4. Put a juice of one whole lemon into this juice and refrigerate it.
  5. While serving pour in half of the watermelon juice and half Sprite and serve!
    A refreshing drink for the summers.

Recipe 3 : Kacchi Keri Sharbet
Ingredients:
Karachi Keri
Sugar
Cumin powder
Rock Salt
Mint leaves for garnishing

Method:

  1. Peel and boil the kacchi keris till soft. Drain excessive water.
  2. Add cumin powder, rock salt and make a paste of the fruit pulp.
  3. Make sugar syrup and once it cools down add it to the paste and mix well.
  4. Pour this juice in a glass and add some fresh mint leaves to it.

Recipe 4 : Jaggery Juice aka Gol Pani

Ingredients:
Jaggery
Basil seeds
Lime juice

Method:

  1. Boil water in a vessel and add jaggery, stir till the jaggery melts completely.
  2. Now immerse the basil seeds in water and wait till they all pop. Drain excessive water.
  3. In a glass pour the jaggery syrup, add the popped basil seeds and top it with lime juice
    At iftar gulp it chilled for immediate thirst relief.

Do try these recipes at home and leave your comments which one you liked the most. Happy Fasting and Feasting!

Posted in Food

Food; what culture tastes like

Have you ever wondered what the food you eat everyday can tell you about where you come from? Have you ever wondered why people from different parts of the world eat different types of food? Do you ever ask yourself why certain foods or culinary traditions are so important to your culture? There is more of a connection between food and culture than you may think.

On an individual level, we grow up eating the food of our cultures. It becomes a part of who each of us are.

Traditional cuisine is passed down from one generation to the next. It also operates as an expression of cultural identity. Each country or community’s unique cuisine can reflect its unique history, lifestyle, values, and beliefs. After all food is one of the world’s only ways of universal communication

The three cuisines we will talk about today are Balinese, Egyptian and Iraqi. 

The reason we chose these cuisines is because we have relished their authentic taste.

Balinese

Being Indonesian with influences of Chinese and Indian cuisines, the food in Bali has a unique identity, as with much of Southeast Asia, rice is a staple here. With Bali’s sophisticated irrigation systems, this is quite understandable. This is accompanied by vegetables, meat and seafood. The dishes are cooked in rich spices such as ginger, lime, nutmeg, clove, coriander, and shallots.

Your gastronomical experience in Bali is as enchanting and full of discovery as your cultural experience. Well, typically, a meal consists of a plate of steamed rice, and a number of main courses. Instead of eating one course at a time a la Western meals, the main courses, and sometimes including the soup, are all eaten at once. Soup is poured over the rice much like a steak sauce is poured over the steak. Desserts are mostly tropical fruits, which by themselves are enough of a feast and a reason to visit Bali!

The most popular Balinese dishes which we tasted are; Sate (or “satay”) are marinated, skewered and grilled meats, served with spicy sauce, and may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, fish, tofu, eggs or minced blends. Nasi Goreng is Indonesia’s fried rice, one of the nation’s most notable dishes. It is pre-steamed rice stir-fried with a combination of meats and vegetables, ranging from scrambled eggs, diced beef, strips of chicken, shrimp, anchovies, lamb, crab, green peas, onions, shallots and a blend of sweet soy sauce and hot chili sauce. Mie Goreng is another staple where the rice is replaced with noodles in Nasi Goreng.

The image features the typical toppings: sliced tomatoes and/or cucumber, fried shallots, fish or shrimp krupuk crackers and mixed pickles or acar

Egypt

The Egypt cuisine combines elements from across the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Greece and France, reflecting the diverse influences that have shaped her history. Egyptian chefs often put their own spin on these beloved foods. The cuisine makes heavy use of legumes, vegetables and fruit from Egypt’s rich Nile Valley and Delta.

Egyptian cuisine wouldn’t be the same without its bread! It’s delicious and an important part of almost every meal. During your visit, you’ll find plenty of Eish baladi (bread) to wrap up all your falafel and kebabs and dip into flavorful sauces. Ta’meya is Egyptian fava bean falafel that is fried and served with tahina and Egyptian bread. They can be eaten with breakfast, lunch, and dinner but are most often served as an accompaniment to another Egyptian fava bean dish called ful medames. Ful medames is cooked fava beans with vegetables and spices. It’s a staple in Egyptian culture and is thought to date back to ancient Egypt. If you are a meat lover then you are going to enjoy Egypt’s kebabs and kofta. Egyptian kebab is usually prepared with grilled lamb or veal while kofta is also grilled but made from minced meat. Both kebab and kofta are traditionally served with Egyptian bread, salad, and tahina.

The image shows kofta, shish tawook, hummus salad ,babaganush and tahini

Cheese is another important staple and is actually thought to have originally come from the middle east. Tea is the national drink in Egypt and holds a special spot in Egyptian culture. Tea is enjoyed throughout the day both during meals and in-between

Iraqi

Iraqi food is so strongly influenced by its neighbouring countries, Turkey and Iran, it is one of the few nations of the Middle East to lack a unique cuisine. Like the Turks, Iraqis like to stuff vegetables and eat a lot of lamb, rice, and yogurt. Like Iranians, they enjoy cooking fruits with beef and poultry. Hospitality is considered a highly admired asset to the Iraqis. Iraqis are known for being very generous and polite.

A typical Iraqi meal starts with a mezze (appetizer), such as kebabs , which are cubes of marinated meat cooked on skewers. Soup is usually served next, which is drunk from the bowl, not eaten with a spoon. For gadaa and ashaa, Arabic for lunch and dinner, the meals are much alike. A simple main course, such as lamb with rice is served, followed by a salad and khubaz , a flat wheat bread served buttered with fruit jelly on top. Other popular dishes include quzi (stuffed roasted lamb), kibbe (minced meat, nuts, raisins, and spices), and kibbe batata (potato-beef casserole). Falafel is a popular Iraqi street food available in two variants veg and non-veg. Dates make their way into many dishes, especially ever popular date and nut balls, commonly made with walnuts or pistachios, and fly off the shelves like a Middle Eastern candy bar.

This just shows that each country has their own set of traditions and different standards of food. Even though the details are different, ever country has one thing in common—they all love food.

As the world becomes more globalized, it is easier to access cuisines from different cultures.