September 09, 2009

Fasting or Feasting?




It's always nice when your mind can get off a rut and think afresh. Last few weeks whenever I opened my blog and looked at the keyboard, all my mind was filled with, was the status quo. Now, with the advent of Ramadan, there is a relief in the line of thought. With fasting and fast breaking, the conversation has shifted to food, religion, and consciousness.

Everybody knows the goodness of fasting..every body fasts in different ways..on Tuesdays, Fridays, without grains, without meat, without dairy products..or follow lent.. Every religion has some kind of fasting embedded in it. Definitely healthy to get rid of toxins and change your food habits once in a while. Besides the religious aspect, fasting is a great way to discipline the mind and control cravings.



I am a constant snacker and if anybody talks about any interesting food, I immediately crave it. Fasting actually works for me to get a control on my thoughts of food, and I don't feel hungry all the time......but somehow towards the end of the day, the stomach takes over the mind and even a bunch of broccoli looks so good that you'd think it was chocolate! A food magazine starts looking like forbidden stuff.. and don't ever send me to the supermarket while fasting.

Ramadan more than anything else transports me back home to a table laden with Iftar fried goodies....cutlets, pazham nirachathu, pazham porichathu, unnakaye, kilikude, chattipathiri just for starters. It's interesting to see how we want our comfort food more when we are really hungry and not anything new or healthy to our taste buds. Only the familiar food will do and the tastier, the better.
The early morning meal called "Atthayam" eaten before sunrise is another item all together. Some people cook an entire meal for that and some eat the yummy leftovers that you couldn't eat in the short time after fast breaking and before falling asleep. So much to taste and so little time and only one stomach.:) Some eat bread or even oatmeal or cereal..just making it a real early breakfast.

One of my earliest memories of the early morning meal is at my grandmother's house when it was still a joint family and the whole household used to get up in the wee hours of the morning and a full meal was laid out, rice, cheera, curry, godambu pathiri, complete with shrimp fry, fried at that time. Since every body was up, it didn't feel weird to be sitting down and eating a meal when it was still dark outside. The conversation flowed smoothly and food was eaten leisurely, topped off with a khali chaya/ sweetened black tea.

With the plethora of blogs now, we can see how other Muslims break their fast. I wonder what others eat for the early morning meal. I know a lot of my readers are fasting and it piques the curiosity.. What do you eat in the morning and evening? Can you eat rice and meat in the morning?

I still don't have time to elaborate on my posts so this time I will just start out by listing all Iftar worthy dishes on the blog for ease of use. I know there are a lot more items to be posted and maybe time permitting, I will post some this weekend.

Malabar Chicken Biryani
Malabar Fish Biryani
Calicut Mutton Biryani
Ghee Rice
Triangular Paratha
Malabar Madikki Pathiri/Roti
Fish Molee
Malabar Chicken Fry

Thari Kanchi/Rava Payasam
ShrimpAda/Shrimp Pancakes
Meat Samosa
Paliayakka/ Tapioca Payasam
Arikadukka/Kadukka Nirachathu
Spring Rolls
Idli Vadas In Yogurt
Chicken Kebabs
Pazham Pori/Plantain Fritters
Meat Cutlet
Malabar Vegetable Samosa
Fish Cutlets
Godumbu Payasam
Jeera Kanji
Sweet Kichdi

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow,lovely post.Loved your description of the Athayam of your childhood.Sounds like a great feast.
Sigh,wonder if such athayams exist today.
Safia.

Zerin said...

hi shaheen,

what you said is right on the spot. Only comfort food feels good at the time of iftar. Every ramdan, I make a resolution that I will cook healthy for iftar, but once ramdan starts, iftar is incomplete without the samosas, ccutlets, all the chatti pathiris and all that. hmmm...it was even better when there was people to cook iftar for us.

Pavithra said...

Wow thats awesome..

My Experiments with Cooking said...

Since I don't follow this fast, I don't know what it feels like to eat in early mornings. It sure must be whole lot of fun right? Do send your entry to my event!

Parita said...

Well described!

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow...that's an whole bunch of delectable recipes....nice writeup on fasting...Iam hosting event on fasting to feasting a global Ramadan event...if possible have a look...

Mallugirl said...

Safia, athaayams today..! peanut butter sandwiches.:)

zerin, yup, i do dislike cooking for iftar if i am fasting. much rather enjoy food made by someone else.

pavitra..:))

myexp.. try fasting and u will enjoy food more. so u don't do any kind of fast?

parita, thanks.

kitchen flavors.. yup i will participate this time.

mathew said...

i have always been curious of iftar cusine...the only way i have seen it is when our ministers host iftar parties and the media shows it...often kore kothichu ninnittu ondu hearing the spread of food on that day!!:(

btw...very well written..liked the way how you described it!!

Anonymous said...

Exactly Shaeen!-)Thats why I mourn the non existence of the Athayms of the kind you mentioned.

Safia.

Aparna said...

I have always had friends around who keep the fast during Ramzan, and also been privileged to have mmany of the sweet dishes prepared during this period.

Best wishes for Ramzan and Id.

Jyothsna said...

Ramadan kareem! Well written post and have to catch up on your earlier ones!

Happy cook said...

I did last year fasting in March with my hubby and his family, after 15 days i really got nuts ;-) still i did the days they all did.

Mallugirl said...

Mathew, nombu cuisine is only appreciated by people who have actually come in contact with it.. that's why its still not mainstream food. A lot of my friends don't care for the traditional nombu food.. i just blog them here.

Aparna, u have had these stuff..!!I guess that calicut is a melting pot in that respect.. everybody is more familiar with these foods with all the diversity there.

Mallugirl said...

happy cook.. now i am curious.. what do u mean when "they" fasted? u married into a muslim family? write to my email id and we can catch up.

jubi said...

Hi Shaheen,
You are doing a great job. Though i dont try all your recipes, I enjoy reading them. Your posts remind me of the iftars and feasts back home. Waiting to go home for Eid.... Eid Mubarak

Jubeena, Bangalore

Geeta said...

My mouth is watering and I love the pictures your words create...thanks for giving us a glimpse of your interesting culture and customs.
It helps people all over the world understand each other better...I can never get enough of these descriptions! Thanks for sharing.
Now if only I can get around to make some/all those dishes...if wishes were horses, beggars would ride and I would eat everything you've mentioned!