“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (learn) self restraint” Qur’an 02:183
Ramadan Kareem! Ramadan starts tomorrow pretty much all over the world. There is always a bit of confusion to the start date because if you follow the example and tradition of the Prophet, we have to view the sliver of the new moon to declare the new month. Others, are content to follow the scientific date of the new moon. Most of the time, ok not really, but sometimes, we all agree and start on the same date. I love the lunar calendar!! There is always that bit of uncertainty and mystery to the start of Ramadan which has now become tradition in itself.
Before I get on with todays post, there were a couple of questions I wanted to answer from the comments last week, which I should’ve mentioned in the post I guess. John from the wonderful blog Kitchen Riffs mentioned about living in Morocco and how the natives there broke their fast. I wanted to say that, in last week’s post I mentioned only South Asian traditions and food. In most of the Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean countries, the fast is usually broken with soup and in Morocco, specifically, the harira. This far healthier than what the South Asians eat but like John mentioned, they too go on to eat huge meals later.
Another great question was from Jasmine from the very funny and vibrant blog Absolutely Jas, who asked what my children think about fasting. For my children, it’s something thats part of our life, faith and family.
Fasting is prescribed for children once they reach puberty. The people who are exempt for fasting are the sick or elderly with medical issues, pregnant and nursing women if its a hardship on them and travellers. I should also add that if anyone misses any of the fast, they do have to be made up at a later time. Yes, there is no excusing the fasting.
I fasted through my pregnancy and while I was nursing. The fasting during my pregnancy was wonderful because it took care of my morning sickness but the nursing one was harder because I was so dehydrated after feeding my son. But it still beat the though of having to make up 30 fasts later on and probably by myself! One thing about Ramadan is that you are not alone. Almost every Muslim is fasting with you and that support and community means a lot.
I have always made sure that my children were used to fasting. I started them at a young age and let them fast on the weekends or half days. I always try to make it fun and allow them to experience a holiday. My son Laith, who is 8, fasted half days last year and he will again this year. My daughters are all of age, so they will all be fasting. For us, this is our holiday, it’s our Christmas, our Easter, our Hanukkah, and I want my children to enjoy their holiday. At the end of Ramadan, we have huge celebrations, parties and gift giving. However, until we get to that, we have a month of prayer, family and community.
So, onto the recipe today; I mentioned that I would be sharing my family’s favourite Ramadan treats this month and yet, here is a recipe for Sriracha Sauce. Guess what? We love this stuff and go through bottles of it. Our Ramadan table is not complete without a bottle of this and ketchup. We drizzle it in our soup, dip our bhajis in it and slather it over our samosas.
One problem with store bought sriracha sauce, have you seen what’s in it? Names of stuff I can’t even pronounce and a lot of it is on the GMO list. I have successfully, made my house 90% GMO free. It hasn’t been easy because I have to go to a million stores to buy what I need and most of the time, its very expensive. The solution to that is making it yourself. Sriracha sauce is one thing you can easily make yourself and it tastes just like the bottled stuff but SO MUCH BETTER.
I had never though about making sauces and salsas myself because thats one thing I just buy without thinking. Lately, I’ve had to think and read labels. A wonderful friend of mine had talked about making some but hadn’t been able to because she couldn’t find the right peppers. I remembered that and searched up a recipe. Food 52 popped up with one that was so easy, it was silly.
I went on the look out for the peppers and by golly, I found some. I grabbed 2 pounds and went on my sauce making way. A note, if you are going to go all out and make your own sriracha sauce, please spend the extra money and get organic vinegar and cane or palm sugar. All the white distilled vinegar in the US is made from cheap, GMO corn. The Fresno peppers used to make the sauce are not cheap ( I got mine for $3.99/lb) so let’s use great ingredients.
The sauce will last about 6 months in the fridge but chances are it will be long eaten way before that and you will be making another batch within a couple of weeks.
To change up the recipe a bit and because I was able to find the last of the garlic scapes at my farmers market on Saturday, I decided to exchange the garlic for the garlic scapes.
Serves: 3 cups
- 1 pound/500g red Fresno chillies (can use red jalapeños), roughly chopped
- 8-10 garlic scapes, roughly chopped (or use 8 garlic cloves)
- 2 cups/470mL organic, distilled white vinegar
- 1¾ teaspoons sea salt
- ¼ cup raw turbinado/demerera sugar.
- Soak the chopped chillies and garlic scapes in the vinegar and salt, in a jar or glass bowl.
- Let sit over night to mellow out the heat of the peppers.
- The next day, pour the chiilies and the vinegar into a small saucepan, add the sugar and place on medium high heat.
- Bring the mixture up to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, pull off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once the mixture has cooled, using a blender, puree the solids.
- Pour the blended sauce through a strainer, pressing against the solids to get out all the liquid.
- Pour into a clean jar and bottle and store in the fridge.
On Sunday, just to get the mountains out of our system before fasting started, we took a drive up to Mount Evans. As is the usual weather for our picnics, it was hailing, raining and cold and it was wonderful.
We stopped by Summit Lake which is a few miles before the summit of Mount Evans and walked around. It is so beautiful. The landscape around the lake was carved out by glaciers many years ago and it is just fascinating to see. One of the things that amazes beyond anything else, is the sustainability of life at 12,000 feet. The tiny flowers that bloom at this altitude can overshadow fields of tulips and rain forests filled with orchids.
I have also added a tab on my top menu for the Rocky Mountains. I decided to dedicate a whole page for my love for the mountains. Please check it out every now and then as I add more photos to it. If you check now, you will see more of the amazing flowers I saw on Saturday.
Hope you enjoy some of the photos of Mount Evans and I will be back soon with another Ramadan favourite. Have a great week!