Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 58, Tuesday September 26, 2006




Tangy and healthy

At Iftars during Ramadan, the natural tendency for us is to go for the traditional dishes which are mostly hot, spicy and deep fried, but no doubt very, very tasty. Frankly speaking, this is not a very healthy way of eating. After long hours of abstinence from food and drink, it would be advisable to break the fast with some cool and soothing dishes which are easily digestible and help in rapid restoration of the required fluid level in our bodies. At the same time the occasions demand that the dishes should be palatable. With these twin objectives, I am suggesting a few recipes which the readers may try out. I am in no way suggesting that we totally forgo our traditional dishes which may be taken in moderation if you really believe in a healthy diet. Fruits should also be an integral part of an Iftar menu.

Orange and lemon fizz
1. Orange juice (freshly squeezed): 200ml
2. Lemon juice (freshly squeezed): 4 tbsp
3. Apple juice: 2 tbsp
4. Carbonated mineral water
5. Fresh orange slices

Combine the juices and stir well.
Divide between 4 glasses.
Dilute with fizzy mineral water, but make sure the taste is still sweet enough.
Garnish with thinly-cut slices of orange.

N.B. each glass contains 25 calories
Fresh pineapple: 400g
Non-fat homemade yogurt: 350g
Rose water
Shredded coconut
Blend the pineapple and yogurt in a liquidizer.
Add a few drops of rose water according to taste.
Pour into 4 glasses.
Garnish with a little coconut, add ice and serve.
N.B. each glass contains 105 calories

Homemade yogurt with non-fat milk
1. Non-fat powder milk (Prolene): 1 cup
2. Fresh plain yogurt: 2 tbsp
3.Water 3 cups
Gradually add the powder milk to 3 cups of lukewarm water.
Mix it with a whisk and make sure there are no lumps.
Place the pot over medium heat and stir constantly to avoid sticking.
Bring it to a boil and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Cool the milk to about 110F (the pot should be warm enough to touch comfortably).
Pour the fresh plain yogurt into a container (preferably a glass bowl or clay pot) and beat very lightly with a fork making a smooth paste.
Add the milk and mix very thoroughly, but lightly, with the yogurt paste.
Place the lid on the container and cover it with a bigger bowl or a warm cloth.
Set this aside for about 5 to 6 hours.
When the yogurt sets, open the lid and transfer it to the refrigerator, where it will thicken further on cooling.
N.B. each cup contains about 450 calories; suitable for diabetics.

Coffee almond sorbet
1. Instant black coffee: 4 tbsp
2. Fruit sugar: 3 tbsp
3. Unflavoured gelatine: 2 tsp
4. Pure vanilla extract: few drops
5. Almond extract: 2 drops
6. Plain fat-free yogurt: 1 cup
7. Sliced almonds: 2 tbsp
Dissolve the black coffee, fruit sugar and unflavoured gelatine in a little hot water.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts.
Whisk in the yogurt to make a smooth paste.
Stir in half of the sliced almonds.
Transfer the yogurt mixture to a plastic container and place it in the freezer.
Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator to soften slightly 1 hour before serving.
For a smoother texture, remove the mixture from the freezer after 2 hours and beat it vigorously to break down the ice crystals.
Return it to the freezer for at least another 2 hours or until set.
Serve in scoops and sprinkle the remaining sliced almonds (lightly toasted) on top.

Quick fried rice
1. Vegetable oil: 2 tsp
2. Lightly-beaten eggs: 2
3. Diced chicken: 250g
4. Spring onion: 200g
5. Cooked rice: 2 cups
6. Soy sauce: 2 tbsp
7. Sweet chilli sauce: 2 tbsp
Heat oil in frying pan.
Add eggs, fry and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a wok or frying pan and cook chicken for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add chopped spring onions and toss.
Add the cooked rice and toss.
Stir in the soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce.
Top with egg and serve.
N.B. Serves 4; 274 calories, 9.0g total fat, 5.0g sugar, 1.4g fibre.

Serves 4
Suitable for diabetics
About 75 calories a serving, with an extra 10 with the garnish
Very low fat (omitting the olive oil)
Very low salt (using unsalted bread crumbs)
Soft whole wheat breadcrumbs: 2 tbsp
Garlic: 1 clove
Toasted hazelnuts (optional): 1 tbsp
Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Red tomatoes: 4
Onion (cut in medium sized chunks) 1
Vinegar (optional) 1 tbsp
Red pepper (seeds removed): 1
Cucumber (for garnish): 1
Mint (for garnish)
Blend all ingredients except the garnishes until smooth.
If you want to dilute, add very cold water.
To garnish: ¼ cucumber, 1 sweet green or red pepper, mint (all chopped very finely).
Chill the gazpacho well before serving, serve with small bowls of the garnishes.

Whole wheat pizza
Serves 4
Suitable for diabetics
About 350 calories a serving
High in fiber
Served with green salad, this biscuit dough-base pizza tastes very delicious
Ingredients (Base)
Whole wheat flour: 1 cup
Baking soda: ½ tsp
Cream of tartar: 1 tsp
Salt: ¼ tsp
Olive oil (or any cooking oil): 2 tbsp
Skim milk

Ingredients (Topping)
Finely chopped onions: 1 cup
Sliced mushrooms: 1 cup
Fresh tomatoes: 6
Dried oregano: 1 tsp
Tomato paste: 1 tbsp
Sweet pepper (preferably red): 1
Mozzarella or sharp Cheddar 1 cup
('Kisan' cheese mixed with Ponir can be a substitute)
Capsicum: 1 (medium size)
Walnut pieces (optional): ¼ cup
Heat the oven to its maximum temperature.
Grease a rectangular baking pan, roughly 7”x10", with side rims at least ¾" high.
Sift the flour with the baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
Fork in oil and enough milk to form a soft dough.
On a flour board, roll out the dough to fit the baking pan, line the pan with the dough and bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put very little oil in a heavy skillet or pan and set it on low heat, add the onions, put the lid on and soften the onions gently.
After 5 minutes, add the mushrooms to the onion.
After another 5 minutes, add the tomatoes and ½ tsp of oregano.
Simmer the mixture with the pan uncovered, gently breaking up the tomatoes with a fork, and season.
Remove the pizza base from the oven. Stir the tomato paste into the vegetable mixture.
Spread the mixture over the base, then top it with the rings of pepper, grated cheese, olives, nuts and the remaining oregano, in that order.
Return the pizza to the hot oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

By Asma Aziz
Photo: Amirul Rajiv



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