Good day everyone!
Just a few days ago, The holy month of Ramadaan has begun! During this month Muslims around the world abstain from food, drink and other physical needs during the daylight hours.
What most people don’t know is that the intention of this month goes far beyond abstaining from food & drink. It is a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice.
As Muslims, we use this month to re-evaluate our lives in light of Islamic guidance. We focus our attention on making peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits – essentially to clean up our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings.
”Fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadaan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one’s self on the worship of God.”- Huda
Many people question one’s ability to go through the day without eating & drinking. And yes, it can be difficult, but with the proper mindset and good faith, it is quite possible. I have been practicing fasting for over 10 years, since the age of 7 to be more exact. As a child I did struggle, possibly due to the fact that I started during the heart of Summer, when the days are longer so you fast for a longer period of time. But as I have grown up and begun to understand the great benefits of this concept, it has become so much easier for me over the years. After all, I do believe the mind can overpower anything – and if you believe you can, You will!…
With Ramadaan, there also comes many traditions i.e. the food eaten/made at meal times. Many people, including myself don’t fuss much about what we eat in the morning. I usually eat the leftovers from the previous night, as well as a yoghurt or Banana (if available, otherwise). Here comes the good part, the most exciting for most Muslims, ‘Iftaar’ (breaking the fast). This is the time when people go out of their way to create many deliciously appetizing savouries and sweet treats. However, before we begin To indulge it is essential to break the fast with a short prayer, a date and some water. 🙂 … thereafter the fun begins. We also take the time to share with our friends & neighbours what we have made. A big part of Iftaar is also to break your fast together with your friends and family, the more people the greater reward it is as you are sharing with others.
I don’t have a set favourite Iftaar snack, but one which I enjoy often is ‘Dhal’tjies’ ( as one of the main components is dhal/ pea flour) or chili bites. And I would love to share the recipe with you.
- oil for deep-frying
- 3 medium onions chopped or sliced
- 250ml flour
- 250ml pea or chickpea flour
- 2ml salt
- 2ml cumin powder
- 2ml turmeric powder
- 2ml-5ml chili powder (this part is up to you, depending on your taste buds)
- 5ml coriander powder
- 1-2 fresh chilies, chopped
- a handful of fresh coriander/dhanya, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed.
- 3-4 leaves of Swiss chard spinach , roughly chopped (the big leaves, small leaves are regular spinach which are perfectly fine to use as well)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- Crush the onions with some coarse salt to extract some of the onion juice, but do not discard. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the baking powder.
- Mix together well, until the mixture has an ‘easy drop’ consistency.
- Add some oil to a saucepan and heat until medium hot.
- Meanwhile, add the baking powder and mix together once more.
- Once the oil is heated, use a dessert spoon dipped in oil to scoop up enough dough to make one dhal’tjie (a golf-ball size).
- Drop the dhal’tjie into the oil and fry until cooked in the centre (use a skewer stick to poke the centre of the dhaltjie to check if it’s cooked).
- Drain the dhal’tjie on paper towel.
- You can cook around four or five dhal’tjies at once, depending on the size of your pot.
* some recipes use water, but this recipes uses the juice from the onion instead, if the mixture is too thick, add some water until the correct consistency is reached
This is my mother’s recipe and is quite rustic (she measures by hand & self judgement), But it still works every time! Dhal’tjies are very versatile so you can add different variations to suite your palate. when we’re out of spinach, my mom uses lettuce instead. for a change of flavour and texture you could add things like, mix veg, potato and even biltong (Yum)!
To accompany the dhal’tjies serve with a dip of your choice – dhanya or sweet chill is great, you could even mix the 2 together; I also love yogurt mixed with a sauce as it makes everything so much lighter and balances the strong flavour.
This recipe is super easy so I hope you give it a try!
I hope the remainder of this month goes well for all Muslims, the month will end off with the celebration of Eid which I will be sharing with you soon!
Until next time, many pleasures to all!