COMMENCING and breaking a fast during the holy month of Ramadan is a great time of togetherness for families at mealtimes all over the world. Many have memories connected to the early morning and evening meal or a favourite food.
Eastern Eye spoke to some celebrities to share their memories of Ramadan.
Shahin Badar (singer, songwriter):
After I break my fast I usually go for the small fried lamb or vegetarian samosas with chutney. It’s a must-have on my iftari table. I find them very appetizing and especially love the crispy pastry and filling. I feel blessed that I am able to spend Ramadan with my parents and their presence completes my fast. Every iftari my parents stand next to me reciting prayers before we break our fast. It is a simple reminder that we need to be thankful for all we have, mainly our parents and say ‘alhumdulillah’.
Soraya Sikander (artist):
Ramadan is that special time of the year when one is more mindful of one’s choices and working towards being a better person. It is my favourite time of the year. Since it’s going to be in summer, I shall be sipping fresh juices, eating yoghurt and egg whites with bread slices for sehri. Fresh juices and a bowl of fruits with bananas, strawberry slices and berries are great to keep you hydrated during the summer heat. For iftaari I prefer an eclectic menu, including a bowl of nuts, dry fruit, fresh juices, samosas, pakoras, yoghurt and dates. This is followed by prayers. For dinner I like grilled chicken with vegetables, and a slice of carrot or banana cake.
Zaf Shabir (model and founder of The Cactus Agency):
Fruit is really good for you during the fasting month. My ultimate favourite food during Ramadan has got to be watermelon. Whether it is freshly cut fruit or just simply watermelon juice, I just can’t get enough of it.
Watermelons are great for keeping you hydrated, especially during the hot summer months.
Zainab Qayoom (model, actress):
Ramadan to me is a purge of the soul, mind, body and heart. It’s not just about fasting, but strengthening your will, power and control in all areas of your life. It is also about showing generosity of spirit, so it’s important to feed your soul through good deeds and detox your body through fast.
Dates, yoghurt and water are my best friends during Ramadan. The yoghurt prevents me from feeling thirsty and the dates give me energy. As a rule I enjoy one hearty meal at dinner and skip any oily food.
Rabia Butt (model, actress):
The morning and evening meals during Ramadan create such a wonderful spirit of togetherness.
You appreciate the food in front of you more and savour each mouthful.
For me nothing can beat south Asian cuisine.
Reham Khan (TV personality, film producer and philanthropist):
Ramadan was the best time of the year in our household, more than even Eid. Sehris were a bigger affair than iftaris. Everyone contributed with different dishes and it was a time for conversation. My favourite food is sheer maal (sweet bread) because my brother used to bring it. We would all cook for iftaris with the home help and enjoy the time spent together.
Najam Bajwa (singer, songwriter):
Ramadan is the perfect time to savour delicious food. Watching the clock for an hour as we get ready to break our fast; the irresistible aroma of seekh kebabs cooked over the grill, samosas in the frying pan, mouthwatering delicious delights being prepared – these are all part of my memories. My favourite food has to be the favourite of favourites – the samosas and pakoras with the chilli, coriander yoghurt dip – they are simply irresistible. I’m sure it’s the same for many of you too at the time of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a great month to practise self-control and really appreciate what you have in life. I have so many wonderful memories connected to the holy month, which really makes you think about yourself, what you have and about the world around you. In terms of food, I especially love samosas and fruit chaat.
Sanyya Gardez (TV host):
During Ramadan our staples were always cholay (chickpeas), pakoras, and dhai phulkeean (yoghurt dumplings). I remember the smells as the food was made and my father, who being a communist never fasted, tasting it to ensure it was perfect for those of us that were. My family were such foodies that, in fact, we would have a huge dinner about an hour later. The best memory was just having my huge extended family sitting around a big table and stuffing our faces. I didn’t realise it at the time, but those were some of the best times of my life.