It has been a hectic week! I don’t know how I’m still standing but I know it’s with much difficulty! I haven’t been able to visit my favourite blogs but I will catch up today! I’m also posting on a totally different day because my whole posting schedule has gone awry.
I worked 3 events back to back and one was a big grilling event for 75 people. I did that one while fasting on the most humid day Denver has seen so far! I am quite beat and I still had to cook and work yesterday (still fasting) I am questioning my choice of a job at the moment.
First and foremost, it is that time of the year again where the days seem endless and the nights fly by, also known as the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. The ninth month of the Isalmic calendar, the month of fasting, charity, good deeds, prayer and intense worship.
This is the month when the Holy Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and it’s the month where we try to finish reading the Quran as many times as we can. The Islamic Centres have evening prayers where a portion of the Quran is recited every night for all the 30 nights, that way finishing the Quran in congregation.
The Quran is written in Arabic and that can be difficult for many and sometimes it is easy to go and join the congregation every evening. I try and read as much as I can in Arabic but since it’s not my first language, I struggle a little too. But the struggle is the reward.
The month of Ramadan is a reminder of the hardships that many face. We don’t eat from dawn to sunset. No water, no food, no cursing, no smoking, no sex and no fighting. It’s an exercise in self control. It’s a way to put ourselves in others lives who may not be as fortunate as us. We feel the thirst of the thirsty, we feel the hunger of the hungry, we feel the despair of the desperate, and the hopelessness of the oppressed. We volunteer as much as we can, we donate as much as we can, we pray for ourselves and for others, we also spend time reflecting on ourselves.
It is surprising, when we stop eating and stop thinking about food, how much time we have to focus on other things. It really does make you stop and think of others when the hunger pangs radiate throughout your body or your parched throat feels like sandpaper. It is humbling and heart breaking.
It is always an emotional time for me. I really try to focus on my hunger and thirst and try to feel what so many experince on a daily basis. It is enough to bring tears to my eyes. I cannot imagine how they survive, how little children feel this pain everyday, some for the entire length of their short lives.
We don’t have to go overseas to think about the less fortunate, here in America we have our own hungry and homeless. It’s unbelievable.
The pain of hunger and thirst also forces you to focus on your relationship with God. We increase our worship, our knowlege and strengthen our faith. This month is a time for renewal of our bodies, minds and souls.
Of course, 29-30 days of hunger and thirst then makes for a great celebration when it ends! Ramadan is not only about struggle and worship, it’s also about family and community.
It’s one of the best times for children and adults alike. The community dinners every night at the local Islamic Centres are a great unifying and fun nights for the whole family. We eat together, pray together and socialise together. I haven’t made it to any this year yet but I enjoy them when I go.
Since Ramadan is a celebration, a 30 day celebration, I wanted to post a sweet recipe today. We always celebrate with sweets.
These Jalebi are some of my favourites. They are a little bit like funnel cakes but crispy and syrup soaked and filled. Divine.
I’ve wanted to post this recipe for a long time now but getting around to making them and photographing them is where the struggle lies! The original way of making them is fermenting a flour and water mixture overnight and then frying the batter the next day.
I can’t plan that far ahead. It’s been crazy busy for me with events, work and Ramadan so planning anything more than a few hours ahead is impossible! Many people make a quick batter fermented with yeast and I decided to go this route. I had a few hours of free time so I mixed up a batter, went out to do some shopping and then came back to fry these babies up.
When sundown rolled around, I could finally try one! They were perfect. Crunchy, syrupy, heady with a saffron scent. These yeasted ones tasted just like the traditional ones and I was happy I could get them done in half the time.
Serves: 3 dozen
- 2 cups/300g all purpose/plain flour
- ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons yoghurt
- 1½ cups/355 ml warm water
- Pinch of saffron
- Oil to fry
- Sugar syrup
- 3 cups/600g sugar
- 2⅔ cups/ 395 ml water
- 3 cardamom pods
- Pinch saffron
- Squeeze of lemon
- Start by making the jalebi batter so it can proof and rise.
- Mix the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and yoghurt together.
- Add the warm water until a pourable batter is formed.
- Set aside to get bubbly and doubled in size.
- I left mine for a couple of hours while I ran errands.
- One hour should be plenty.
- While the batter is resting, make the syrup.
- In a large 3qt sauté pan, bring the sugar and water to boil.
- Add the lemon juice, saffron and the cardamom.
- Let it simmer for about 9-15 minutes (took me 15)
- You need to get it to the thread stage.
- Once the syrup has reduced and is sticky, place to the side and fry the fritters.
- At the end of the hour, the batter should be bubbly and doubled in size.
- Thin with a little water if too thick .
- Should be a nice pourable, sticky (gelatinous ) batter.
- Pour into a squeeze bottle (half filled or else it will rise further and ooze out)
- Heat an electric skillet to 350F/180C or a medium sized fry pan on medium high.
- Fill with 1.5 inches of oil.
- Place a sheet tray with a rack close by.
- When the oil comes to temperature, using the squeezy bottle, squeeze out the batter in circles overlapping or 8 patterns.
- As soon as the batter hits the oil, it will be ready quickly to be flipped.
- Don't let the jalebi get too brown.
- Once the other side is lightly coloured, pullout the jalebi from the oil and drop into the syrup carefully.
- Coat on both sides and then carefully take out and put on the rack to dry.
- Repeat with the rest of the batter.
- If the syrup gets too thick and crystallised, add a little water and put over the heat to dissolve the sugar and remove from the heat when the sugar is melted and it's a syrup again.
- Continue frying and dipping.
- When the jalebi are dry, you can store them in an airtight container.
- They won't be as crisp as when they're fresh but they will still be good.
In the spirit of Ramadan, I would like to wish all my readers and my blogger friends, peace, prosperity and much happiness. The true mesage of Islam has always been one of tolerance, equality, justice, love and respect for all lives and I strive to be the best example and representative of Islam. Thank you for reading and for all your love and support. I wish you all much love and peace.
Oh, and it is Father’s Day so Happy Father’s Day to all the hardworking dads out there! We appreciate you all!