Iftar is a grand affair throughout the holy month of Ramzan which culminates in Eid ul-Fitr. Traditionally, one is supposed to break their day-long fast with dates, followed by a delicious fare. Often people do indulge in a lot of fried stuff. However, city-based shutterbug and owner of Kreativ Angles, Mariya Zoheb is eating healthy while breaking her fast.
Zoheb, who has always been excited about Iftars ever since she was a child, has planned a 30-day Iftar menu this year and it includes mostly low fat, low-calorie foods. She is simultaneously posting the healthy options on social media so that others too can enjoy.
Says Zoheb, “Contrary to usual Iftar items which include a lot of fried items, I am making 30 different Iftar dishes that are healthy, tasty and are also quick to make. I have taken up this 30-day challenge to substitute fried items that we usually consume for Iftar with healthier versions.”
Talking about the idea behind taking up this challenge Zoheb, who likes experimenting in the kitchen, says that the idea stemmed from the philosophy people follow during Ramzan — give up bad habits and toxic thoughts.
“Just the way we cut off bad thoughts, bad habits, and everything negative during our fasts, I guess we should do that with food habits too because everything else we do, we do it for our soul. We must do something for our physical health too,” she says.
She realised that since she wouldn’t be able to continue her workout due to long fasting hours, she had to give up on unhealthy food to stay fit. “I wanted to make sure that I continue eating healthy even during Ramzan,” says Zoheb adding that even her parents have become a part of the challenge now and have restricted the intake of fried items.
Zoheb, who recently won three cook-offs, has prepared Yellow Mellow Smoothie, Sweet Beet Smoothie, Zucchini Cheese Rolls, Spinroot Pancakes, Herbed Chicken and Potatoes, Purple Garden Smoothie, Stove Top Pizza and so on for Iftar. She has also ditched pasta and noodles and has instead made noodles out of zucchini which actually tastes good and satisfies her cravings.
“My mother is a big pizza lover but she never thought I could make one which is healthy. No resting time, no baking, no yeast, no water — I made a pizza in 30 minutes. And my mother enjoyed her Iftar feast too. Healthy food need not be boring,” adds Zoheb.
There are others too who believe in healthy Iftar food. Resonating with Zoheb’s philosophy, city-based graphic designer Heena Ahmed says that she and her family often tend to overeat when they break their fast, hence this year she is determined to eat what is not loaded with calories and unhealthy fats.
“During this 30-day challenge, my family and I are cooking food that is healthy without compromising on the taste. Fruit salads are a must have and I am including all the seasonal fruits in my salad which is topped with roasted flax seeds. I am also making sure that the food has the right balance of fibre and protein. We have given up on oil and only indulging in roasted and baked food,” says Ahmed who has been feasting on brown rice pulav, low-fat dairy products, quinoa biryani and so on.
Mariya Zoheb shares a few healthy recipes:
Stove Top Pizza
For pizza dough
All-purpose flour…. .1 cup
Large egg…... 1
Curd/ yoghurt….. 3 tbsp
Baking powder… ..1 tsp
Salt… 1/2 tsp
For dough…. .2 tbsp
Greasing the pan… .1 tbsp
All vegetables you like (chopped)
Chicken (chopped) if you wish
Pizza sauce…. ..4 tbsp
Mozzarella cheese ...3/4 cup
In a mixing bowl, add egg, curd, oil and salt. Mix with spoon/ spatula until well combined.
Sift flour and baking powder, mix and knead without any lumps. (Add extra oil and knead, if it’s sticky.) Then add the egg, curd, oil and salt mixture.
Take a heavy bottomed pan and grease it with some oil and spread the dough evenly on the pan.
Spoon some pizza sauce on the dough and spread it with spoon.
Add all the toppings.Finally sprinkle mozzarella cheese on it.
Place the pan on stove, set the flame to high. Close the pan with its lid.
Cook for 2 minutes in high flame. Then reduce the flame to medium and cook for 8 more minutes.
After 8 minutes, open the lid and check the top and base of the pizza.
The base should be golden brown. If not done, cook for two more minutes with the lid closed.
Once cooked, the pizza will slide to the plate easily. Sprinkle some chili flakes or oregano, slice the pizza and serve hot.
ZUCCHINI cheese ROLLS
Boiled chicken (shredded)… …..200 gm
Small onion (finely chopped)... .1
Small capsicum (finely chopped)… .1
Small tomato (finely chopped)…. .1
Oil ….1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Chilli powder… .1 tsp
Dhania powder…. .1 tsp
Jeera powder... ½ tsp
Turmeric powder… ..½ tsp
Coriander leaves as required
Big zucchini… .1
Cheese as required
Ginger-garlic paste as required
In a pan, add onion and cook till transparent. Add ginger-garlic paste, capsicum, and chicken.
Add all the masalas and let it cook. Add the tomatoes in the end followed by coriander leaves.
For vegetarian version, replace chicken with spinach.
Peel zucchini lengthwise and spread a thin layer of the above stuffing, put a little bit of cheese, roll it up. Repeat with remaining slices.
Arrange the rolls in a cake tin. Pour some white sauce, top it up with some more cheese and bake it in the oven.
(To make white sauce, in a pan, melt 1 tbsp butter, add 1 tsp garlic paste, 2 tsp maida and mix well. Slowly add milk, keep stirring. Let it boil, add salt and pepper and add 1 tbsp cheese.)
THE PURPLE GARDEN SMOOTHIE
Soaked oats…. 1 cup
Skinned and deseeded jamun pulp…...1 cup
Frozen mango ….1/2
Curd.. 2 tbsp
A pinch of salt
Honey (if you wish)
Mix all of the above in a blender.
Top it up with fruits, dry fruits and seeds. This bowl is filled with flavours, nutrition and joy!