Watermelon Rooh Afza Popsicles & Fun Ramzan/Ramadan Links for Kids

watermelon rooh afza popsicle

It is almost that time of the year folks. Ramzan/Ramadan is a month observed by Muslims world over by fasting from sunrise to sunset and focusing more on spiritual needs. It is a time to both be grateful for ones blessings and to assist those less fortunate. With Ramzan falling in the summer this year I thought it fitting to share with you these delightful Watermelon Rooh Afza popsicles. It is my spin on a deeply delicious and incredibly satisfying drink that my mother makes. Now I turn it into a refreshing and simple popsicle for my girls who share my love for watermelon and Rooh Afza. In these popsicles the Watermelon is the star and the Rooh Afza a back note. Should you want to up the Rooh Afza flavor feel free to just add more. 

watermelon rooh afza popsicle

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Crunchy Corn and Green Chilli Aaloo Cutlets / Potato Cakes

Aaloo Cutlets

One of my brothers likes to tell the story of how when he was back in Karachi during one of his college breaks he walked into the kitchen to find a girl he had not seen before with her head submerged in our deep freezer, furtively foraging for something to eat. When he asked her who she was she responded by asking him who he was to which he said “I live here” to which she exasperatingly replied “I’ve never seen you before”. My poor brother then retorted with “well I haven’t seen you either” Once they has resolved their impasse and she had told him she was one of my friends he asked where I was and she said “not home” and continued to rummage through the deep freezer until she found these Corn and Green Chilli Aaloo Cutlets. Moral of the story:  food first, all else later.

corn-chillies-potato-cutlets

 

With their crunchy exterior and creamy spicy interior nubbed with corn these are one of my mothers trademark cutlets/kababs. The friend above was not the only one who would drop in after school to snack on these babies. They were pretty much a hands down favorite of most of my friends. Some of my happiest memories from those days are the ones that were made in my sweltering kitchen, friends sitting around the table, plates with cutlets and ketchup smears and lots of the unrestrained laughter that is the hallmark of teenage years. 

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As an adult, one who is forever ‘behind’ in the things that need to be done I can really appreciate how much work it would have taken for my mother to keep that freezer stocked for the hungry teens that were always welcome in our house – whether we were home or not. My hope is that by the time my girls are older they too can have that same experience. I don’t think it’s ‘cool’ for kids to hang out at each others houses when Starbucks is an option, but I would like to think that if you cook it they will come 🙂

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My Mother’s Coconut Barfi & Eid Eats 2015

Some foods make me think of being a small child, of little hands and not so little hands, sneaking pieces when no one is looking, only half sure that the consequences of this petty theft won’t be so bad.  This barfi is one of them, my mother usually made it on special occasions and colored it so that one layer was pink and the other was green. The coconut she used was sweeter, heftier, and my little self couldn’t get enough of it. Yes, my dental problems started early.

Coconut Barfi

My older daughter has a surprising love for all ‘desi’ desserts. Kheer, kulfi, shahi tukray, gulab jamun – she loves them all. And I love passing down a love for culinary heritage. When I said I would make something for Eid that her Nano (grandmother) made when I was young it made her beautiful little eyes sparkle with excitement. Sometimes I wish I could bottle that stuff up and keep it forever. But to me that is what Eid is about, sheer happiness. While I am far from the land of glittering ‘chaand raats’ (the night before Eid) we are building our own Eid traditions and homemade Pakistani desserts will always be part of them.

My Mother’s Coconut Barfi

This barfi is not the usual white kind; the ingredients combined with the cooking down of the dairy make it taste like a caramelly coconut fudge. I used unsweetened coconut, but my mother put sweetened coconut. Use whatever you prefer, but just remember to stir stir stir otherwise this will burn burn burn!

Another new tradition that I am very excited about is Eid Eats, we had our first annual eid potluck last year and thanks to it I discovered many delicious recipes and some wonderful bloggers who I now think of as friends. This is year two and I am even more excited to see what my fellow hosts – Henna at My Ninja Naan and Asiya at Chocolate & Chillies – and other remarkable food bloggers have to share. Please click on the Eid Eats graphic below to see the full gallery of yumminess and add yours to the mix; remember we would all love to hear from you! Hope this inspires you to have a deliciously happy Eid!

Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones!!!

Psst for those of you wondering how to join in, hop on over here.

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Jalapeno Popper Wontons or a Spicy Cheesy ‘Samosa’

If I don’t already have a meal plan in place then I try to figure to out early in the day what it is that I will be making for iftar (the meal Muslims have when they open/break their fast). However, the hungrier I get the more I add to my list of things to cook. These babies are the product of one such hungry afternoon. The fact that they’re a cinch to put together is a bonus/ requirement in my world.

Jalapeno  Popper Wontons or a Spicy Cheesy 'Samosa'

I love the flavor of Jalapeno Poppers (when they aren’t too spicy to eat!), but making them has always seemed tedious and store bought ones have some odd mystery ingredients in them. These crispy wontons are the perfect way of getting that flavor with minimal effort. Now mind you I found the one jalapeno to be pretty spicy in here, but I put it in seeds and all so just adjust to taste. Also I had monterey jack handy, but I imagine cheddar wold work just as well.

Jalapeno  Popper Wontons or a Spicy Cheesy 'Samosa'

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Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Pecans and a Nutella Swirl Plus Announcing a Virtual Eid Party – Eid Eats 2015!!!

Ramzan/Ramadan Mubarak to all those who will be commemorating this holy month. For those of you who are wondering what it is, Ramadan is a month on the Islamic (lunar) calendar where Muslims world over fast from sunrise to sunset. During a fast we can not eat or drink anything. The purpose of this fast is to help us subsume our physical needs in favor of spiritual ones and also to develop a deep sense of empathy with those who are less fortunate, for whom ‘fasting’ is not an option.

At the end of the 30 days of Ramadan comes a wonderful celebration of Eid ul Fitr, which as you can imagine, revolves heavily around food! Last year Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies and I hosted Eid Eats! a virtual potluck party for to celebrate Eid ul Fitr and this year we are back with another co-host, the amazing Henna of My Ninja Naan.

EID EATS 2015

So how do you join in? Easy!

1.) Make any dish of your choosing that you would make for Eid – something traditional, something unconventional, whatever you fancy – write a post and have it ready for the 15th of July 2015.

2.) Our posts will also be live July 15th 2015. You can link back to our blogs i.e. My Ninja Naan, Flour & Spice and Chocolate & Chillies  through a link party  we will set up and use the button above in all of your posts (pretty cute isn’t it!)

3.) Remember to check out and leave comments on participating blogs!

Okay just thinking about Eid Eats is making me hungry. Good thing I have something yummy and filling for you today that would be wonderful for Sehri/Suhoor as well as breakfast any day. Baked in a square tin and sliced it will probably be pretty picnic friendly too!

The yummmy recipe I am sharing with you today originally comes from Asiya of Chocolate & Chillies. With it’s triple whammy of banana, oatmeal, and pecans it is quite substantial and healthy! Or rather it was until I couldn’t help myself and added a teaspoon of nutella on top  of each ramekin *guiltily looking away…*

Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Pecans and a Nutella Swirl

I baked mine in individual ramekins to make them easier to eat and freeze since I wanted a large-ish portion that would be perfect with a glass of milk for Sehri/Suhoor. The baked oatmeal is fairly dense since I effectively make ‘thicker’ portions than Asiya does. I also halved the recipe, increased the whole wheat flour, and decreased the brown sugar (to make room for the Nutella lol). For my purposes this is wonderful as is. For summer snacks I would omit the Nutella and go back to baking it in bar form like Asiya does.

Enough blathering.. on to the recipe…

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Dahi Baray – Lentil Dumplings in a Spicy Tangy Yogurt

You know how you just take some things for granted and don’t think about them very much?

Well, for me Dahi Baray are one of those things. They have been there at every ‘tea’ that I have been to for just about my entire life and my mother makes a variation (Dahi Phulki/Dahi Boondi) but I never thought about how to make them or what goes in and not because I don’t like them. I can certainly polish off an immense amount of dahi baray, especially the savoury and spicy kind. So much so that I am now grateful that I am pregnant and don’t have to justify how much I eat. I just never thought about how to make them because someone else always did.

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This summer I decided to be brave and make Dahi Baray for a potluck lunch and playdate a friend was hosting. Is it brave or foolish to try something a little tricky for the first time for a crowd? Let’s just pretend it is brave since that is the kind of thing I do with some regularity.

The good news is that all is well that ends well and to ensure that it was not some kind of fluke I made them again today for a friend who was visiting from out of town. The very empty dish speaks for itself 🙂

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Note Added June 3, 2016: I was recently trying to remember where it was that I learnt to make these and then I remembered that it was on a phone call to my feisty nani who is no longer in the best health. I write this here so that I never forget again that this is one of the many things I learnt from Nanna, the lady that once wore ghararas, carried a paan daan, always used talcum powder in the summer and made some of the best food I have ever eaten. 

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