Ramadan 2011

This month I have been a little lazy with my posts!  Muslims all over the world (including myself) are nearing the half way mark of our Holy month of Fasting (Ramadan), and my blog has suffered =(.  Since I have not been updating like a good blogger should this past two weeks of fasting, I decided to share with you  some of our customs and rituals for this month.  I have also gotten a little lazy with my cooking =P but am getting back on my game starting now!  Although I have not been eating during daylight hours, breakfast and dinner are still apart of the routine, and I want to share a few recipes and pics from my friends.

We recently had a dinner (also known as Iftar) at my mother’s place of work where we have quite eclectic and diverse mix of cultures and backgrounds from all over the world.  This always makes for interesting dinners, potlucks, and gatherings, as our families always bring wonderfully colorful and interesting dishes to share.  Most of my own cooking is inspired by the diverse group of friends and family I spend my time and work with. Unfortunately, I prepared none of these dishes.  I just ate =P (Please excuse the quality of the pictures–I was trying to snap and shoot before I got attacked by a bunch of ravenous fasting people–I wanted decent pictures before we devoured the food =)  )

This dish is called Fruit Chaat–an Indian fruit salad that contains a mix of different fruits (bananas and oranges are commonly used to give the dish color) sometimes sprinkled with lemon or ginger juice, sugar and spices (this mix I believe had cinnamon and nutmeg).  It makes for a refreshing compliment to the spicier dishes.  I would love to try it with yogurt..yum =)

Biryani–my all time favorite.  This was made by a special friend of ours who is famous here at the school for her talent in making this dish.  It is a South Asian dish prepared with Basmati rice, spices including, cumin, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, etc.  There are many different versions of this dish–the Biryani pictured is a spicy Chicken Biryani, but there are milder versions, vegetable Biryanis, and versions that contain beef, lamb, goat, or even seafood and eggs.  (I try everything once, but I’ll personally stick to vegetable and chicken)  It is sometimes served with condiments like a cool yogurt sauce w/ cilantro or mint.  I prefer the spicier version.

Tandoori chicken is another favorite of mine.  Also a South Asian dish, it is prepared by marinating the chicken in a special masala mixed with yogurt (this give the dish its red color).  It is then roasted and can be served over rice or anything you chose.  Anything can be “Tandooried” =) including seafood, beef, lamb, and goat.  Tandoori is a fond memory of mine–I first had it at 9 years old at a favorite Indian restaurant of mine where it is served still sizzling on a hot plate.  Indian food at its finest!

This dish’s name I was unsure of but was guessing that is was chicken Tikka or Indian grilled chicken.  It was served with roasted peppers.  Although I am not 100% sure of its name (or who prepared it) It was delicious!

A simple salad with cucumbers & tomatoes, topped with some shredded cheddar cheese–nothing fancy, but we needed some raw stuff and/or vegetables to balance out all of the spicy.  I wouldn’t be true to my blog’s title without something green!

Baklava is everyone’s favorite–it is claimed by so many different ethnic groups but is supposedly of Greek and Turkish origin.  It is very popular in most South Asian and Arab cultures  and is also a favorite of mine. I will attempt to prepare it myself one day and post a recipe. I almost embarrassed myself at this dinner walking around with remnants of sticky Baklava crumbs stuck to my dress–everyone knows what she ate!

Our dinner was a success!  I anticipated making my Tres Leches cake for this event, but there were other sweets/desserts. Some of the other dishes among this spread that I didn’t get a chance to photograph include, Iraqi style kabob with mint, chickpea curry, cheesy pasta dishes, cheese pizza (check the pizza boxes in the background of this picture =P ), Persian chicken salad, naan bread, and much more.  I will be trying them all!

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