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Ramadan Kareem (Generous Ramadan), my Muslim brothers and sisters. Alhamdulillah, we are all blessed to witness this glorious month. Thank you, Ya Allah, for the opportunity.
The month of Ramadan is not just abstaining from eating from sunup to sundown. It’s more than just food – Ramadan is a holistic sacrifice that enables the self to go beyond the usual, accept change and live out the change that you want to be. It’s not easy, yes, nothing is. But, if you don’t test the waters, you’d never know your limit. You’d never realise on your worth. You’d fail to appreciate yourself.
As I age and mature (yes, I think so too), I realise on the many little things I used to take for granted.
The minutest of details that used to irk me are now that things that make me smile from ear to ear. Maybe it’s the changing of times or the change of scenery; but whatever it may be, I am thankful, that in this lifetime, I am able to test my boundaries and extend the depths of my zone.
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar year and is the Muslim fasting month. A time of togetherness, it is also a great period of devotion, worship and of course, reflection. The month/period is also an opportunity for us to receive and share the bountiful blessings showered upon us.
Like you, I pile up on food and all that there is in time for the month long fasting. Not because I just want to but because through this, I can prepare the meals and dishes to cook for our Suhor (or Shari – the meal consumed at dawn) and of course, for our Iftar. I say ‘our’ as I live with my yayey who is also the same faith as I am. Hooray for that!
And just like you, I too have my favorites during Suhoor and Iftar. But, let’s talk about Iftar. Personally, I love anything hot and sweet. I love freshly cooked ginataan or sindol (what it’s called in Maguindanaon) or arrozcaldo with lots and lots of fried garlic bits. I also love minatamis na saging with butter (oh yeah try it) and a bowl of champorado made with Malagos cacao nibbles. My favorite drink? Coffee.
To say that I got it from my parents is truly an understatement. My Dad and Mom also loves ginataan or sindol and arrozcaldo. Most often, when I’m at home, it’s anything you’d want to eat. But most often, this is what we have. PS I miss my mom’s sindol. Bigtime.
(Samel G Ambolodto, Cotabato City & Bai Rowena FS Ambolodto, Cotabato City)
For my cousin who works uneven hours in the hospital, she loves a bowl of Pangat (cooked like minatamis na saging but with gata – sugar, banana and gata) for Iftar. She also loves slices of fresh fruits.
(Bai Scherinazadh Soraya S. Abdul, Cotabato City)
My cousin in Singapore loves her dates for breaking her fast. She normally have them in small ziplock bags inside her bag so she can munch on them wherever she may be. After popping some dates, she’ll eat whatever she fancies that day. (Johanna Carissa Sinsuat Krishna, Singapore)
Mother of 2 super bibo boys and 1 malikot girl, another cousin of mine loves her sindol too. She loves it packed with fruits and with glutinous rice to make it thicker and thus flavorful than ever.
(Bai Omayrah Shariffa S. Zainal, Cotabato City)
Our family friend loves batangan (palitaw version of Maguindanons) and Maranao’s version of fresh fruit salad where the fruits are literally swimming in cream. Oh and yes, she loves her sweets.
(Zainab, General Santos City)
My Tita and her daughter loves bread paired with the ginataan or sindol. Of course, staple drink being coffee or tea.
(Bai Minda S Blo & Bai Faiqha S Blo, Cotabato City)
Here’s one sweet dish I miss. Last I had this, I was in Singapore, breaking my fast. When I got back, I just had to search for the recipe and attempt to copy the same. Let’s just say I still need to practice.
Bubur Kacang Merah (Red Bean Porridge)
(traditional Malaysian dessert. Served either chilled or warm – I love it chilled)
Rinse and soak dried red beans for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Pour 1 ½ cup of fresh coconut milk (you can also use canned) and 300ml tepid water in a deep pot over low-medium heat. Add drained beans. Heat pot until boiling. Let boil for 5 minutes. Lower heat. Add sliced knob of fresh ginger. Simmer.
Cook until beans expand and soften. Add brown sugar to taste and a pinch of salt.
Personally, I add 2 tablespoon of melted butter, cinnamon powder and vanilla essence. I add cinnamon in everything I eat.
So, what’s your Iftar (or Iftari is the sunset meal to end the day’s fasting) staple?
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